Rozalla was a name that carried immense gravitas in the early nineties. Many a club floor was filled when her dance anthem ‘Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)’ came out in 1991. It peaked at six in the UK charts, reflecting its enormous popularity in the clubbing scene. You only have to look at the comments on the Discogs entry for this track to see what it meant to people – here are some quotes:
“I danced my ass off to this song in the clubs!” (sbjnchicago)
“Huge piano tunes back in 91; you couldn’t go to a club without hearing this & getting the place rocking with its hands in the air breakdowns. The fantastic happy vocal vibe, piano loops, and uplifting strings.” (Johnmarcus)
The song went on to achieve top ten success across Europe, and Rozalla went on to record three more top 20 singles off the back of it, including the phenomenal ‘Faith – In The Power Of Love,’ ‘Everybody’s Free…’ remains her biggest hit. Between 1994 and 1995, the Zimbabwean produced several more top 40 hits, most notably ‘I Love Music,’ the theme song to Carlito’s Way, with Al Pacino and Sean Penn.
A reunion and a surprise release
In 1996 a remix of ‘Everybody’s Free’ gained Rozalla another top 40 hit in the UK, while in 1998, she reunited with the Band of Gypsies (a production team she worked with in the late ’80s before her breakthrough) and came up with the album Coming Home, from which lead single ‘Don’t Go Lose It Baby’ became a club hit in the US. While another single in 2003 bothered the lower end of the chart, it wasn’t until 2009 that Rozalla made another full album, surprising everyone with a jazz/soul record – even adding her surname (Miller). A remix of one of the tracks from the record hit the Australian top 10.
It wasn’t until 2015, however, that Rozalla would rise like a phoenix from the flames and produce songs that would be bouncing off nightclub walls yet again, reaching the top ten of the Billboard Dance Charts with ‘If You Say It Again’ and ‘Shadows of the Moon.’ With interest in Rozalla and her singular talents rekindled, the singer bided her time before relocating to London’s Select Recording Studio in 2019, where she laid down a series of vocal tracks that would lead to three excellent singles, most notably ‘Turn On The Light,’ released on Energise Records. Her studio’s great facilities, equipment, and expertise helped her re-invigorate her material and recapture the sound that made her name some 28 years ago. The plan is still for an album to come out of the sessions, but Covid-19 held things back. Nevertheless, the omens are good as the three new tracks have been played in the right clubs in Ibiza to a rousing reception. A video was recorded for one of the songs ‘I Want You Back’, which is available to enjoy at the time of writing on YouTube.
Back in the spotlight
With a renaissance in an artist’s music comes a desire to hear about their life, and this itch can be scratched by seeking out her fascinating talk with DJ John Gilmore, which can be enjoyed on the BBC Sounds app. During their conversation, she goes back to her very young days in Zambia – where she was on a children’s television program. She discusses how social media has given her more control over her image and what gets out. There is an overwhelming optimism for the future, and we can be sure we’ve not heard the last from Rozalla.