Combining the early soul-pop of Mariah Carey, the power balladry of Whitney Houston, and the sophisticated dance-pop of M People, Dina Carroll was one of the most successful U.K.
female vocalists of the '90s. Born in Newmarket, Suffolk in 1968 to a Scottish mother and Afro-American G.I. father, Carroll began singing with her sister at a young age, and after winning a talent competition at school, she decided to pursue a career in the music industry. In her teens, she moved to West London after signing to independent dance label, Streetwave, where she provided uncredited vocals for a production outfit named Masquerade. In 1989, she signed to Jive/Zomba Records where she released several club hits, including a cover of Dionne Warwick's "Walk On By," and contributed to Brothers in Rhythm's single "Peace and Harmony." Her breakthrough came in 1991, when she appeared on Quartz's Top Ten dance reworking of Carole King's "It's Too Late," and was offered an album deal by A&M Records. Two years later, her first LP, So Close, had spawned two Top Five singles, "Don't Be a Stranger" and a rendition of Sunset Boulevard number "The Perfect Year" helped her to scoop Best British Female Vocalist at the 1994 Brit Awards, and up until Dido's No Angel, was the biggest-selling debut album by a female artist in U.K. chart history. After moving to Mercury Records, she developed otosclerosis, a hereditary bone disease which affects the ears, whilst working on her sophomore, Only Human, which despite reaching number two, failed to achieve the same multi-platinum sales of its predecessor. Carroll changed directions for her self-titled third effort, hooking up with Rhett Lawrence in Los Angeles for a dance-pop sound reminiscent of her club roots, but although lead single "Without Love" reached the Top 20, various record company wranglings meant that plans for its release were shelved. Other than a performance of Van Morrison's "Someone Like You" on the Bridget Jones soundtrack, and a 2001 hits compilation, Carroll hasn't released any new material since. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi