Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Written by Myra Panache....

"Remembering Phyllis Hyman"

I had the opportunity to meet the late great Phyllis Hyman in San Francisco; years ago. I was working at an stock brokerage firm off Union Square and Phyllis was in town doing an in-store promotion at Macy's for an upcoming album.
A relative asked me if I could go on my lunch hour and get her autograph.
Phyllis resembled a fashion model in expensive attire and she was very gracious and kind to all of her fans. After she autographed an 8x10 glossy for my relative, I had a chance to have a brief conversation with her. She revealed that she had to have gloves custom made because her hands were too large to fit store bought gloves.
Phyllis also proved to be a caring person. She gave a rep one hundred dollar bills and instructed her to get smaller bills because she wanted to give the money to homeless people enroute to the airport.
Hopefully, a film will be done on her life.
My relative continues to cherish her autographed photo till this day.

More facts on the fallen star by Michael Grimaldi...

In 1992 Phyllis was voted Number One Best Female Vocalist in the United Kingdom by Blues & Soul magazine readers, beating out the likes of Anita Baker, Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin. During this time Phyllis became involved in combating the AIDS crisis by lending her voice to countless benefit shows and visiting wards and hospices in and around New York. Many patients requested Phyllis' presence, which left the singer feeling inadequate and perplexed as to their reasons for wanting to see her as opposed to a family member or friends. The visits took a heavier toll on Phyllis that she realized. By now, her own personal problems were becoming evident. An ongoing battle with alcohol and weight gain, combined with career and financial woes were making life difficult for Hyman and those around her. In 1993 she was dealt another blow when both her mother and grandmother died within a month of one another.
Although Phyllis continued to record new material and perform live, her bouts of depression were clearly overwhelming her. Her irrational, self-destructive behavior was becoming common knowledge to those inside the music industry, her friends and also her fans and on June 30th, 1995, only hours before a scheduled performance at the Apollo Theatre in New York, Phyllis' lifeless body was found in her apartment where all efforts to revive her failed. Her suicide, while shocking, was not a surprise to many insiders. We, like so many others who know her, believed she would pull her life together. Sadly, we were mistaken.

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