dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Friday, August 17, 2007

All The Promises We Just Can't Keep: The Sad Reality Of Life After Boy Krazy

Today there was a sobering revelation in one of my online hangouts, The Hit Factory Forum, regarding early '90s girl group, Boy Krazy.

Turns out a short, four-and-a-half minute documentary on the group's former lead singer, Johnna Lee Cummings, was put on YouTube last month, and it's not a pretty portrait of what can happen to a pop star after the major label deal ends, and it's suddenly a decade later.

Boy Krazy's "That's What Love Can Do" video



I can clearly remember being 18 and driving to my best friend Matt's house on Christmas Eve 1992, and hearing "That's What Love Can Do" on the Pittsburgh Top 40 station, B-94, for the very first time. It was a strange case of a British-made single becoming an American hit, despite flopping abroad (though Johnna herself was also from Pennsylvania).

Later that following summer, on the heels of "That's What Love Can Do," the follow-up single, "Good Times With Bad Boys," got some radio play as well. It even peaked just outside the Top 40 of Billboard's Hot 100. Again, I have a vivid recollection of hearing that one on the same radio station, in the car on the way home from seeing Jurassic Park.

Johnna put out a solo album on PWL in 1996, which garnered a handful of club hits throughout Europe, Australia and Japan. Unfortunately, the documentary pretty much conveys what's happened in the decade since.

Here's Expect Less, by Portland-based filmmaker Kimberly Craig. Watch through the end credits. I think it's the kitten meowing that gets me...

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16 Comments:

  • At 3:47 AM, Blogger Jump! said…

    I remember a different version of this video. Its sad whats happened to her. I always imagined after her solo record she was working for a public relations firm or something.

     
  • At 5:36 AM, Blogger Moogaboo said…

    Wow. I thought I had read a few years ago that she was living off a rich husband's money in NYC. Guess that was false!

    Poor Johnna. I always loved her voice, especially on her solo work. But are any of us surprised at the "they weren't paying me" part? Welcome to PWL, luv!

    Here's hoping she gets it together and manages to find some happiness in her life someday. I'll play DO What You Feel in her honor this morning...

     
  • At 6:13 AM, Blogger Robpop said…

    Meh...

    A lot of members in girlgroups would work their butt off to make use of that great start off. She needs to dust herself down and work it at. She's got the vocals ("the range" as Shirley Bassey would say) and there are people out there still interested in pop. I saw that video last night and it really saddened me. Why be a in POP girl group when you hold such a negative attitude to pop music? It makes little sense when so many acts are doing their best to be signed. I think the trick is to respect the music and the fans of that particular genre. It might not be her thing but its loved by others.

    Its about having an healthy attitude to the material. It seems she hated it from the get go and began to see it as a necessary evil. This appears to be a running theme with PWL acts most notoriously with Kylie who basically promoted her first Deconstruction album by pissing over her earlier work.

    Such negativity doesn't work in pop. Even if theres truth in such comments, as Robyn said herself "a good song is still a good song!".

    Such is the state of the pop world at the moment perhaps its time she realised her brilliance and returned to music. With the advent of blogs, myspace and so forth she can what she wants.

     
  • At 10:59 AM, Blogger Moogaboo said…

    So true, Robpop. If the likes of Linda Perry can rise up from her dubious background, reinvent herself and have a hit, surely so can Johnna from Boy Krazy. She's got a great voice and more charisma than many hit makers are blessed with -- why not give it another go?

    We should all make a jaunt to the coffee shop and give her a much-needed pep talk.

     
  • At 1:52 PM, Anonymous pop! goes the music said…

    Why don't we ALL do that? Except she's not in today because she hanged herself with an early 90s day-Glo leotard.

    And that, my pop children, is what love can do.

     
  • At 2:08 PM, Blogger El MarvelOso said…

    That's what booze can do.

    The kitten got to me to, especially when s/he meowed right before the vocal samples in the song came on. Sounded the same to me. Smart kitty.

    I did some work with one of the managers from Boy Krazy. Very soap opera-ish, not a pretty ending.

    Hey, but that's what love can do!

     
  • At 4:32 PM, Blogger Moogaboo said…

    2 more cents from me:

    1. That's What Love Can Do still sounds so good. Was the 1992 remix also by PWL? (I know I should know this already, but I don't.) It's probably the last great thing those three ever did together, which is extra shocking when one considers the fallow period surrounding it. (Romi & Jazz, Kakko, most of Delage's output. Kakko.)

    2. Ruthann DeBona went on to host some WWF tv show. Classy.

     
  • At 5:00 PM, Blogger El MarvelOso said…

    The song obviously had an impact here in America. Does anyone else remember the radio version of Uncanny Alliance's "I'm Beautiful Dammitt!". Eric Kupper borrowed the arrangement from "That's What Love Can Do".

     
  • At 3:30 AM, Blogger mobius said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 3:31 AM, Blogger mobius said…

    The 1993 version was re-edited by a US DJ for DJ service Hot Tracks.

     
  • At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Is robpop on a transplant list? someone give him a heart ASAP!

     
  • At 9:12 PM, Blogger kim said…

    wow. thanks for posting my video.

    I just wanted to say that now looking back at the video, I think I made her life look more vulnerable than it really is. She's a very strong willed woman, and has since moved on. Out of the coffee shop. Out of Savannah. And although she is not in the music industry any longer, she is still happy.

    Thank you for watching.

    -kim craig

     
  • At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mind cluing me in on what your all "talking" about?: Just what happned to this Johanna, form boy krazy?....

     
  • At 7:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Time for Johnna to move on and find a real job. She had her l5 minutes of fame but life goes on and you can't live in the past forever.
    Be grateful for the experience and start living in the real world.

     
  • At 10:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have been in touch with her via facebook. She is a recovering alcoolic. She has a child now and putting back the pieces together. Wishing her all the best.

     
  • At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi I was a friend of johnnas in 2009 - 2010. I worked with her at a greenhouse. Unfortunatly we lost touch and I have been tring to find her. If u can help I would love it. My name is karin. Thanks so much

     

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