1988 Brenda K. Starr – I Still Believe
Brenda Joy Kaplan was born in New York City. Her father, Harvey Kaye, had played keyboards for The Spiral Staircase, which had a hit with More Today Than Yesterday in 1969.
In 1984, Brenda gained a role in the hip-hop film Beat Street because of a random meeting with Harry Belafonte. Her role had her playing a singer at an open-microphone audition. Her performance in the film led to a recording contract with Mirage Records. Her first album included the hit single Pickin’ Up Pieces, which reached #9 on the US Club/Dance chart.
Brenda moved to MCA Records for her second album in 1987. The album contained the single I Still Believe, which proved a breakout song for her. It peaked at #13 on the Hot 100 in 1988.
What You See Is What You Get was her second single from the album. It only reached #24 on the Hot 100, but it took her back to #6 on the US Club/Dance chart.
Mariah Carey’s early career got started when she sang backup vocals for Brenda in the late eighties. To help Mariah, Brenda took a demo tape of Mariah’s singing to a party and presented it to Tommy Mottola. Tommy was an executive at Columbia Records, and that gift eventually resulted in a recording contract for Mariah. In 1998, Mariah covered I Still Believe as a tribute to the help she got from Brenda; her tribute single peaked at #4 on the Hot 100. Mariah has praised Brenda for all the help she provided.
Brenda’s career quickly faded after her two hit records. A Spanish version of I Still Believe charted in 1988, and she began recording Spanish albums in 1997. Singles from her albums began appearing on the US Latin Airplay and US Tropical Airplay charts. Her most recent appearance on those charts came in 2020 when Tu Vida en la Mia peaked at #23.
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