Jiani, Carol (Uchenna Carol Vivian Ikejiani)
Origin: Nigeria - Montréal, Québec, 🇨🇦
Carol Jiani (born Uchenna Carol Vivian Ikejiani) is a Nigerian-born Canadian singer based in the United Kingdom, best known for her 1981 hit "Hit 'N Run Lover".
Uchenna Carol Ikejiani was born in Nigeria to an Igbo family. She moved to Canada as a college student in the mid-1970s.
In autumn 1978, she auditioned to appear on Joe La Greca's album Montreal. In early 1978, Jiani recorded two tracks for the project, "If You Believe in Me" and "Higher and Higher". These were released on an EP, with her credited under her birth name. Glenn LaRusso of Salsoul Records convinced her to shorten her name from Uchenna Ikejiani to Carol Jiani Carol her middle name to make it easier for North Americans to pronounce.
In 1980, Carol Jiani recorded two Sandy Wilbur-written pieces with La Greca, "Hit 'N Run Lover" and "All The People of the World". "Hit 'N Run Lover" was remixed by San Francisco-based Moby Dick Records for their Gold Standard imprint and would become Jiani's signature song, peaking at number 4 on the US Billboard Club Play Singles chart in 1981. On the heels of "Hit N Run Lover"'s success, Matra Records commissioned a complete album, also titled Hit 'N Run Lover. "The Woman in Me" was the album's second single but its B-side, the uptempo "Mercy", written by Pete Bellotte and Sylvester Levay which exceeded the A-side in popularity among DJs becoming another hit for Jiani. "Mercy", the only track on the album not composed by Sandy Wilbur, was recorded earlier by Judy Cheeks. A follow-up album, Ask Me was released the next year generating the singles "Ask Me", "X-Rated" and "You're Gonna Lose My Love". In 1982, Jiani recorded vocals for "Get Up and Do It Again". The song was a hit, as was the second version recorded by Mizz lead singer, Michelle Mills.
At the end of 1983, she released her last Joe LaGreca production, "Touch And Go Lover" for the Canadian label Telescope. The song was also remixed by Step Pettibone and for the US by John Robie. A total of 7 songs was recorded but the album was not released. Two more singles were released, "Dancing In The Rain" and a cover of "Don't Leave Me This Way". Eventually all songs were released in 1984 on a 12" in the UK by the label Streetwave.
In 1984, Jiani moved to England and soon signed with Record Shack to record "Vanity" with producer Ian Levine. Barbara Pennington had previously recorded the track but declined to release it to focus exclusively on soul music. Jiani's "Vanity", released in 1985, was a hit reaching number 1 on the UK Hi-NRG Club chart. Levine secured her a deal with MCA Records, and she released "Such A Joy Honey". According to Levine, "Turning My Back And Walking Away" was to have been her second single for MCA until she was dropped from the label. MCA gave the recording to Levine and the single was quickly released by his Nightmare Records label in 1987. Levine and Jiani went on to produce a full album for Hot Records, The Best of Carol Jiani, featuring a re-recording of "Hit 'N Run Lover", as well as brand new material.
Jiani returned to Canada to again work with Joe La Greca on her 1996 album, Superstar. It produced two singles, "Come and Get Your Love" and "Superstar".
After Superstar, Jiani maintained a low-profile and released few recordings until the late 2000s, when she made another comeback by working with contemporary dance music producers like Laurent Pautrat and Mondo. Jiani also reunited with Ian Levine to provide vocals on the track "Work My Fingers to the Bone" for his album Northern Soul 2007. Levine and Jiani also recorded a cover of France Joli's "Come To Me".
Early 2008 saw Carol Jiani recording new material with producers Chris Richards & Peter Wilson. One of the first songs to emerge, "I Don't Wanna Talk About Love", featured on the Klone Records compilation, Mad About The Boy 16. In May 2010, "Broken", Jiani's collaboration with Jimmy D Robinson, peaked at No. 9 on Music Week's UK Upfront Club chart.
12 June 2015, Carol Jiani on vocals in Jason Parker Meets Naxwell feat. Carol Jiani "Hold That Sucker Down" 2018: "Deeper Love" Phoenix Lord Feat Carol Jiani.2018 "No More" Carol Jiani Feat Edge.
Carol Jiani the grand diva of disco, well known for the biggest ever gay anthem from 1981, "Hit And Run Lover", which was so popular with D.J.s. For anyone who doesn't know, Carol is a deliciously outrageous, larger than life, African singer, who moved to Montreal and had a huge hit with "Hit And Run Lover". Her real name is Uchena Ikejiani. She then moved to England and worked with record producer Ian Levine. She signed to Record Shack to record "Vanity". After that she got a record deal with MCA records, and released " Such A Joy Honey ". Then came the song, " Turning My Back And Walking Away ", which was to have been her second single for MCA, and was indeed recorded for them. After that, we ended up doing a whole album, "The Best Of Carol Jiani" for Hot Records in Miami, and we re-recorded "Hit And Run Lover" as well as a great version of the Dells' old soul classic, " Make Sure You Have Someone Who Loves You ".
Carol Jiani's "Hit N Run Lover" became a long-running anthem within the '80s Hi-NRG scene, a song that never seemed to lose its appeal, particularly among the gay community. The song soared to the top of the disco chart in May 1981, and continued to be spun by DJs for years afterward and compiled on the occasional compilation CD. In the '90s, a few Jiani best-ofs surfaced, and many of her songs were re-released on vinyl.
Another of the 1980s Record Shack classics that people most remember. This song, "Vanity" was originally recorded by Barbara Pennington, who didn't want to release it, because she was determined to get away from High Energy and back to real soul, so we recorded it on Carol, and released it as a single on the Record Shack label.
Carol sang one of the key songs from the album, "Northern Soul 2007", which we released on Centre City Records and is still available to buy. Carol was reunited with producer extraordinaire Ian Levine, who first produced her music for Record Shack Records. Carol is a true Diva, she is still performing to this day, and in 2006 we made a brand new recording together, a version of France Joli's "Come To Me". But to this day, she is best known for this song.
London Guru: For those who may be a little unfamiliar with you, would you be so kind as to give our readers a quick snapshot of Carol Jiani the diva?
Uchenna Carol Ikejiani was born in Nigeria to an Igbo family. i moved from Nigeria to Montreal, Canada in the mid-1970s to study at Concordia University. In autumn 1977 i auditioned to appear on Joe La Greca's album Montreal. In early 1978 I recorded two tracks for the project, "If You Believe in Me" and "Higher and Higher". These were released on an EP, with credited under Uchenna Nigerian name Carol is my middle name. Glenn LaRusso of Salsoul Records convinced me to shorten my name from Uchenna Ikejiani to Carol Jiani to make it easier for North Americans to pronounce.
In 1980 i recorded two Sandy Wilbur-written pieces with La Greca, "Hit N Run Lover" and "All The People Of The World". "Hit N Run Lover" was remixed by San Francisco-based Moby Dick Records for their Gold Standard imprint and would become my signature song, peaking at number 4 on the US Billboard Club Play Singles chart in 1981. On the heels "Hit N' Run Lover's" success Matra Records commissioned a complete album, also titled Hit N' Run Lover. "The Woman in Me" was the album's second single but its B-side, the uptempo "Mercy" written by Pete Bellotte and Sylvester Levay which featured off-key horns, exceeded the A-side in popularity among DJs becoming another hit for me. "Mercy," the only track on the album not composed by Sandy Wilbur, was recorded earlier by Judy Cheeks.
A follow-up album, Ask Me was released the next year generating the singles "Ask Me," "X-Rated," and "You're Gonna Lose My Love". In 1982 i recorded vocals for "Get Up and Do It Again.
Carol Jiani – Turning My Back and Walking Away
London Guru: What’s something that people would never guess about you upon a first encounter?
Well for some strange reason people never believe that i am Nigerian not sure why hahahah they always say " You don't look it "hahahaha hey i am constantly trying to prove to people that i am a true full blooded Nigerian born in Nigeria hey i can sing we are worthy and yes indeed i am hahahahahaha
London Guru: How did you get into the music business, have you always known you wanted to be a singer?
Wow long story when i was young my dad had so many parties with lots of influencial people and Legends in the business King Sunny Ade, Fela kuti i grew up surrounded by music Nigerians love to party. Now i met my producer at Concordia University although i majored in drama i had so much music in me.......... from there it all began but really music saved my life music is a powerful tool i respect it and till the day i die the music will live on ...
London Guru: You grew up in Nigeria and Canada, what was life like for you growing up?
I grew up in Nigeria as a child we had great times really then Africa was great in the begining my parents moved to Canada and it was there really that things changed , my mum was stubborn she moved here to the U k and my dad ended moving his second wife i call it mistress.......... to Canada . She was most evil a typical cinderella story really as you can see my escape was music when my dad sent me away because i just did not get on with this evil woman i had to start performing in clubs to keep a roof over my head. My dad stopped supporting me because i fought hard defending my mothers rights after all my mum suffered from Manic Depression.. he let the family down now to make a long story short you can understand now why to me music is a most powerful tool it saw me through
London Guru: What’s life like behind the scenes, is there bits of the music industry you don’t like?
Lord behind the scene i am always in Diva mode for my sanity hahaha well when i started my career we worked hard for our classic's today music has changed and i do not like the politics behind the scene. Especially some of the booking agents that really do not understand the business ... the greed and not respecting the artist.. we need to get back to the way it was real talent and respecting the artist's. One last thing even when I am shopping at tesco i shop DIVA STYLE hahahahaha makeup and all for my DIVA NERVES hahahaha.
London Guru: You’ve just re-released dance classic “Hit and Run Lover” for its 30th anniversary and it’s already garnering lots of attention! I personally love it; I even caught myself humming the tune in the shower after listening to it. Can you tell us all a little about the process, and what it was like to create such a hit?
Yes indeed time flies hahaha the Hit and run lover Album was produced by Joe La Greca and the group Lime .. every instrument was played live just like the good old days cannot beat it.. It was amazing in the studio there was electric we had such passion in those days we loved every step. The trick live instrumentation happy days the song is a classic today because of an amazing melody and instrumentation. Real musicians that was the magic i was so young when i recorded the single and album but the music was great happy times we need to bring back the good old days...........
London Guru: How would you describe your music style?
In my early ears my music was disco that was how i started my career now i would say dance music ,House Music really but i love ballads and working on a special single for Nigeria this summer.
London Guru: Do you write your own songs? Or does your love for music exist more in the singing/performance realm of this business?
I write some of my songs indeed but my favorite time is recording and creating in the studio.
Carol Jiani - Work My Fingers To The Bone
London Guru: Are there any notable differences between working in the Europe especially the U.K and working in Canada?
I have to admit one is treated better in Canada the standard of living is better there really... saying that I love France they also have standards love working there too
London Guru: Who or what is your greatest muse?
My greatest inspiration comes from people that do great things TINA TURNER. My stumbling block became my stepping stone really...
London Guru: What was your experience like when you got your first opportunity in the music industry in Canada?
It was amazing remember i come from the old school the good old days of studio 54 ,i was lucky to have performed there in those days .. music was great then we had great melodies then how i wish we could bring back the good old days really.
Carol at Gay Pride Event
The Diva Perfoming
London Guru: What was in like working with Ian Levine when you moved to the UK?
It was amazing Ian Levine is a legend knows his music he comes from the good old days on MOTOWN and has worked with most of the legends at Motown records too. Brilliant to record with he is a character he is amazing period.
London Guru: What do you consider to have been the turning point in your artistic/creative path? Have you met anyone along the way that you’ve found to be particularly influential, encouraging, etc?
My experiences in life made me stronger i threw myself into my music, my vocals they became stronger more powerful as i got older. I watched the best at work and learn't from the best right now i am changing directions again i need to get back to my heritage so many Africans are suffering and we can use the music to win back the younger generation.... i have so many messages on facebook so many young people are hungry living on the streets back home so recording African friendly styles now so that i can go back home and establish myself back there and give back and help my people.
London Guru: What has been the highlight of your music career so far?
My classic "HIT AND RUN LOVER" and also when Freddy Mercury from Queen came to see me perform in Germany and performing at Studio 54
London Guru: You are mentioned on www.discomusic.com as one of the people who shaped disco music. How do you feel when you are recognised for having influenced music in such an important way?
It feels great i worked so hard and i was lucky to have walked with giants legends in this business , i am honored and i am most humble now do not laugh i often joke with my friends and say to them "I AM A LEGEND IN MY OWN TIME" hahaha i am touched really.
London Guru: Where would be your dream gig?
To perform at the White house.Aso Rock and also perform for my people in Nigeria for one night when we all come together as one.
London Guru: Can you tell people a little bit about your upcoming performances or concert dates, or where they might be able to find you in the coming months?
Darlings in the coming months i am concentrating on my t v show and also travelling to Nigeria to host a new t v show similar to NIGERIAN POP IDOL .Will be posting dates on my facebook page as they come in March 10th i will be in Cumbria for a charity show more details will be posted on my profile.
London Guru: You have been offered a TV Chat show in the UK. How exciting tell us about that!
Yes so excited indeed the show is called "NOLLYWOOD TALKS" setting the standard with Nollywood and bringing you all the Red Carpet Events from Nollywood and also reviewing latest Nollywood films excited indeed COMING REAL SOON...................
London Guru: Why did you start the “Campaign for safer roads in Nigeria” and how has it been received so far by the authorities and the people?
I started the campaign because so many people were dying because of the bad roads in Nigeria but really it was when a Nigerian Recording Artist that i was to collaborate with died in a car accident his name was MC LOPH that really made me so angry and that was why i started the campaign things must change back home for the better we must deal with this mess and save lives.
London Guru: You have also been vocal about housing the homeless in Nigeria. How serious is the situation and how do you hope your campaign will change things?
It is serious back home people are leaving under bridges there is no welfare system back home it is a right that all human beings are housed.. this makes me sad this is a priority man is greedy and things must change. Well i own most of my master recordings and sales from my music will help towards building shelters .. that is why i have no time for politics in this business some of us are luck with our gifts we must give back to the society. Speaking to govt officials something must be done , we are all Gods children i am really stressed about this.
London Guru: How do you fit friends and relationships around your busy career?
Hahahahaha hey Carol Jiani is all about music most of my friends are in the business so we are all mad dear hahahahahahahah music , music music ,.....
London Guru: What do you do to de-stress and relax?
Red Wine and watching period drama's hahahaha
London Guru: Is there a item you carry with you that you can’t live without?
Don't laugh my mirror i need my mirror to remind me who i am when the world drives me insane hahahahah
London Guru: What music is on your ipod? (or other if not I-pod any other gadget....)
Always my all time favourite male recording Artist TEDDY PENDERGRASS listening now to "CLOSE THE DOOR"