╕ miki howard

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Alicia Michelle Howard was born September 30, 1960 in Chicago. Her parents sang in the local gospel groups; her mother Josephine Howard was a member of gospel group The Caravans and her father Clay Graham is one of the key members of The Pilgrim Jubilee Singers. Miki remembers that also secular music was played at her home, especially records by Aretha Franklin, Dinah Washington, Shirley Bassey, Morgana King and Little Jimmy Scott, who was Miki's personal favourite. Miki started singing with James Cleveland Choir at the age of eight.

While in elementary school, Miki moved to Los Angeles with her mother. At the age of 15, she was performing in a teen pageant, and was introduced to Augie Johnson (the leader of Side Effect) after the show. Augie invited Miki to perform with Side Effect and later Miki replaced Sylvia St. James when she left the group. Miki and Augie were also romantically involved, and they had two children, though they never married or even lived together. Miki stayed with the group until they were dropped by Elektra in the mid-80s.

Even during her tenure with Side Effect, Miki also built a reputation as a background singer both in the studio and on the road. Thus she worked with several big names including Gap Band, Roy Ayers, Esther Phillips, Billy Cobham, Stanley Turrentine and Philip Bailey. As a consequence, Miki managed to get a solo recording deal with Atlantic in 1986 and late same year her debut album was ready to be released.

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