Kim English, the legendary House singer from Chicago, has died at the age of 48. English’s cause of death has not been made public. The singer’s tragic passing was announced in a Facebook post from her label, Nervous Record NYC. The statements described English as having a “unique ability both through her singing and songwriting talents to inspire people to dance and also celebrate the joys of God and religion.” The tribute went on to say that English was a devoted member of the Family Christian Center in Munster, Indiana. The piece added that despite offers to tour the world with her singing career, English “remained a devoted family member and member of her church, and never allowed herself to be distracted from the path she felt was right for her.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. English Has Been Described as Being ‘A Popular Figure on the Gay Circuit’
LGBT blog Towle Road published a tribute to English that called the singer “a popular figure on the gay circuit.” In 2018, English performed as part of Chicago’s Pride Fest. English first appeared on the burgeoning House music scene in her hometown in 1994 with her song “Nite Life.” She had begun her career as a Gospel singer until she did a remix-collaboration on “Nite Life” with former Ten City members Byron Burke and Byron Stingily. That song was famously remixed by House legends Armand Van Helden, Bump and Masters At Work. Between 1999 and 2002, English had hits on the Billboard Dance charts with “It Makes a Difference,” “Missing You” and “Unspeakable Joy,” which appeared on her 1998 album “Higher Things.” Also on that album, English covered the Anita Baker song “Been So Long.” With fellow House mainstays, Mood II Swing, English also released the classic “Learn 2 Luv.”
English had success in the United Kingdom with the songs “I Know a Place” and “Time for Love.” It was in the 2000s when English signed with Nervous Records NYC where she worked with Junior Vasquez, Razor N Guido, Wamdue Project and Boris & Beck, according to English’s All Music biography. Her last record was released by Nervous in 2009. It was titled, “Nothing’s Impossible.”
2. In Her Later Years, English Had Been Working as a Teacher in Indiana
According to English’s LinkedIn page, prior to making it in the music industry, she worked in a government job between 1993 and 1995. That page says that since August 2007, English has been working as a substitute teacher in Gary, Indiana. That page does add that English still referred to herself as a “singer/songwriter.” English graduated from Ivy Tech Community College – Northwest in 2007 with a liberal arts qualification. From there, English went to Purdue University Calumet where she graduated with a degree in Child and Family Services with a grade point average of 3.89.
English said that she was qualified to teach English as a second language, music, vocal coaching, French as well being experienced in child and family services as well as human development.
3. English Said ‘Music Is My Way of Life’
An artist booking page for English begins with the words, “DIVA. No other word so eloquently defines Kim English.” That bio says that English was born on “Chicago’s gritty south side.” Her influences growing up were various Gospel artists as well as Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin. It was not until meeting Ten City’s Byron Stingily and Byron Burke that English decided to become a recording artist.
The profile says that English feels, quoting Patti LaBelle, that “music is my way of life.” English’s style is described as being “sometimes contemplative and spiritual” with “evocative dulcet tones.” It goes on to says that English was “one of contemporary dance music’s most enduring and amenable talents.”
4. English’s Last Facebook Post Came on February 1
English publicly visible Facebook post came on February 1 where she asked her followers, “Brrrrrr, It’s been super frosty in my neck of the woods . . . . How’s the weather where you are?” On September 6, 2018, English wrote, “Thanking God for allowing me to see another birthday!!”
5. English’s Death Is Being Mourned on Social Media by Some of House Music’s Most Well-Known Figures
As news of English’s death spread, some of House music’s biggest names have taken to social media to pay tribute to the 48-year-old singer. Here are some of the most poignant messages: