Melissa Bell, best known for her work with the Grammy Award-winning R&B group, Soul II Soul, has died at 53. Over the span of her 26-year-long career, she has worked with such big names as Liza Minnelli, Whitney Houston, and Stevie Wonder.
Bell first got her break in the music industry as a featured singer, performing on Bobby E and the Midi City Crew‘s 1987 single, “Walk on the Wild Side,” and The Bingoboys 1991 single, “The Dancer,” before releasing her own debut single “Reconsider” in 1992.
Soul II Soul founder Jazzie B, after hearing her single, asked her a year later if she would join the group. During her time with the group, from 1993 – 1995, she recorded the single, “Wish,” which went on to peak at no. 24 on the UK Singles Charts and landed them a performance on Top of the Pops.
In 1995, she sang lead vocals on Soul II Soul’s “Be A Man” before leaving the group to pursue her own solo career, eventually forming her own band, Soul Explosion in 1999. She also released four singles, “Rumbled Sex,” “Surrender,” “Mixed Up,” and “Nothing Gonna Stop Me Now,” featuring electronic DJ/producer, Potential Bad Boy.
Bell suffered from diabetes. According to the Islington Tribune, she also suffered from kidney failure and needed regular dialysis. In 2010 she released her autobiography, Heart and Soul: The Emotional Autobiography of Melissa Bell.
She is survived by four children, including 2008 The X Factor winner Alexandra Burke, who previously told The Guardian, that her “feistiness, a lot of my confidence, my desire to never give up and my faith come from her.”
Burke was the first to make the announcement in a tweet:
— Alexandra Burke (@alexandramusic) August 29, 2017
“Mummy has always been my biggest supporter and was over the moon when I told her I was doing ‘Strictly [Come Dancing],’ Burke said in another tweet, regarding whether or not this would impact her participation on the popular UK dance program. “It was always a dream of hers that one day I would be part of the show and I know that she would have wanted me to carry on xx.”
We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Melissa Bell, she was an important part of the collective and will be sadly missed. pic.twitter.com/kg8GU8Paa0
— Soul II Soul (@Soul2SoulUK) August 29, 2017
So sad to hear Melissa Bell has passed, she will always be part of the Soul II Soul family. Nothing but love for Melissa's family & friends
— Jazzie B OBE (@JazzieB) August 29, 2017
“So sad to hear Melissa Bell has passed, she will always be part of the Soul II Soul family. Nothing but love for Melissa’s family & friends,” Jazzie B tweeted.
Other musicians also tweeted their condolences:
Another Time Traveler has flew on into that fascinating frequency in the sky. Ms. Melissa Bell of Soul to Soul…. https://t.co/qQPwbZOz0Y
— Bootsy Collins (@Bootsy_Collins) August 30, 2017