Phyllis Linda Hyman (July 6, 1949 — June 30, 1995) was an American soul singer and Tony-nominated actress. Phyllis Hyman began her career as a silky voiced, jazz-influenced singer and gradually moved into slick, heavily produced urban contemporary ballads and light dance numbers. Hyman won a scholarship to music school and then began her professional career with the group New Direction in 1971. When they disbanded after a national tour, Hyman joined the Miami ensemble All the People. She also worked there with another local group, the Hondo Beat, and appeared in the film Lenny. That was followed by a two-year stint heading Phyllis Hyman & the P/H Factor, before relocating to New York. Hyman did background vocals on Jon Lucien's Premonition LP and built her reputation performing in New York clubs. Norman Connors made her his featured vocalist in the mid-'70s, and she was highlighted on a cover of the Stylistics' "Betcha By Golly Wow," which appeared on Connors' You Are My Starship LP. Hyman also sang with Pharaoh Sanders & the Fatback Band while cutting two singles as a lead artist. Buddah released Phyllis Hyman in 1977, but she really began making an impression when she was signed by Arista the next year. The songs "Somewhere in My Lifetime" and "You Know How to Love Me" both made the R&B Top 20. Hyman got her lone Top Ten hit in 1981 with "Can't We Fall in Love Again," but her albums did consistently well through the '80s. The production teams of Mtume/Reggie Lucas and Narada Michael Walden/Thom Bell gave her material that showcased her skill with sophisticated ballads. Hyman had more success when she left Arista for Philadelphia International in 1986, with the single "Living All Alone" putting her back in the R&B Top 20. She also sang on fusion and light jazz dates by Joe Sample, Ronnie Foster, and Grover Washington, Jr., a more conventional jazz session for McCoy Tyner, and a pop date with the Four Tops. Tragically, Hyman took her own life on June 30, 1995; Her final studio album I Refuse To Be Lonely was released three months after her death. Forever With You was issued posthumously in 1998.
Phyllis Hyman is one of the greatest singers of all time, but she was troubled by drugs and alcohol.
The short, pre-vocal interlude in the song "Loving You, Losing You" was sampled into a short musical theme for fights between two characters of Adult Swim's animated series The Boondocks in the episode "...Or Die Trying".
Socially conscious rap group, A Tribe Called Quest, spoke of Phyllis Hyman in their song, "Baby Phife's Return", by saying, 'Let me take this time to say R.I.P. to Phyllis Hyman/Who never got the props that she damn well deserved...'
The 1996 film Set It Off features "The Answer Is You" during a dinner scene with Blair Underwood and Jada Pinkett Smith.
The TV show Swingtown used part of the song "Kiss You All Over" in an episode.
The R&B group "ATL"'s song "Calling All Girls" has a rap section that contains the lyrics "...But still a diamond/Voice like Phyllis Hyman...".
Rapper Juelz Santana rhymes "I'm still grindin' still pitchin' that 'Phyllis Hyman' on the song "You Oughta Know"