Miquel Brown (born circa 1945) is an actress and Disco/Soul singer from the ’70s and ’80s most popular for the songs ‘Close to Perfection’ and the Hi-NRG songs ‘So Many Men, So Little Time’ and “He’s A Saint, He’s A Sinner” (both now considered vintage gay anthems) produced in London by Ian Levine. Also known for her boyish cornrows hairstyle, which she altered into a more womanly cut after some confusion regarding her gender (public, not personal). Originally named Michael, her parents changed the spelling (but retained the pronunciation) so as not to confuse her with a male producer and children’s author of the time (Michael Brown). She is the mother of actress/singer Sinitta.Early life
She was born in Montreal and reared in Vancouver, Canada, although some sources list her birthplace as Detroit, Michigan. As a teenager, Miquel frequented nightclubs, influencing her dream of becoming a performer. As a young woman, Miquel read Medicine at George Washington University in Washington D.C., during which time she married and had daughter Sinitta Renet Malone (popularly known as Sinitta, of ‘So Macho’ and ‘Toy Boy’ fame) in Seattle, Washington.
She was prompted to leave the university after she auditioned for the U.S. touring company of the musical Hair and landed the part of Sheila.
Miquel arrived in the UK in May of 1973, having divorced her husband. She was cast as the lead in Decameron ‘73 at the famous Roadhouse in London and through this earned critical acclaim – ‘a star is born.’ She was then given an interview on the Michael Parkinson Show, and later appeared in the pilot of The Sweeney with John Thaw.
In 1974 she was granted a part in the film Rollerball with James Caan, as well as the role of Miriam in the tele-play Regan. She also held a two year association with the singing and dancing group ‘Second Generation’, during which time she appeared in the BBC production of Armchair Theatre.
Through the next two years she performed various parts in Bubbling Brown Sugar and television appearances in Seaside Special, Supersonic, The Ronnie Corbett Show, Jack Parnell’s Show, Vince Hill’s Musical Time Machine and Bruce Forsyth’s Bring on the Girls.
In 1976 she played Sister Anna in the musical Mardi Gras (which opened Thursday, March 18 at the Prince of Wales Theatre, London). It was through this that she was discovered and signedfor her first record release, ‘The First Time Around’. This led her to musician Alan Hawkshaw (of Emile Ford and the Checkmates, and The Shadows), who signed her for an album deal. The album ‘Symphony of Love’ (1978) was her first real international hit, which included the title track, ‘Dancin’ with the Lights Down Low’, ‘This is Something New to Me’, ‘The Day They Got Disco in Brazil’, ‘Do It’ and ‘Something Made of Love’. This album shot up the American charts to No. 26 (her music was very popular within the gay community), only to come down again in the early 1980s as disco ‘died’ (at least in America).
Also in 1978 she appeared in the American film Superman, as the non-speaking 8th reporter in a scene following the first Superman spotting.
In need of a producer in the early ’80s, Miquel crossed the paths of Ian Levine and Fiachra Trench in 1983. Together with Record Shack Records, they created the album ‘Manpower’, a Hi-NRG classic. The first single released from the album’ So Many Men, So Little Time’ became a huge hit and peak at number #2 on the club charts and put Miquel on the international music map.
In the two years following Manpower, she appeared in stage productions of Only in America, the Lieber and Stoller Musical; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and One Mo’ Time, as well as in numerous international clubs but did not release any more albums until 1985. ‘Close to Perfection’ (also produced by Levine) was indeed a great album, but could not compete with her first success. The album featured two massive U.S. dance radio & dance chart hits, with “Black Leather” and “Close to Perfection.”
Later songs include ‘On the Radio’ (not the Donna Summer song), ‘Footprints in the Sand’ and ‘This Time It’s Real’, all with Nightmare Records (Ian Levine’s own attempt at a record label).
In 1989 she was seen as Jill in the second episode of the fourth series (‘Accidents Happen’) of the British show Casualty.
Then in 1995, she starred as the Housekeeper in Solomon and Sheba, with Halle Berry. Also in 1995 she played Sgt. Patton in French Kiss, with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline (a mini-part in the United States Embassy scene). She can be heard on the London cast recordings of Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens (1993) and Fame (1995) (as Miss Sherman, the English teacher).
The Year 2000 To Present
Brown kick off the new millennium playing the Negro Woman in the 2001 play A Streetcar Named Desire at the Royal National Theatre (Lyttelton), in London, directed by Trevor Nunn and starring Glenn Close as Blanche DuBois.
She also appeared in the brilliant 2001 film Wit, where she has a brief exchange with Emma Thompson (who plays Vivian Bearing), as the 2nd Technician.
In 2004, Brown appeared as Idella in the London production of Purlie at the Bridewell Theatre in London (a role originally played by Helen Martin, from the American sitcom 227). Her performance was critiqued as ‘forcefully played’.
Miquel Brown: The Lady, Her Loves and Her Lord was presented at the Bullion Room Theatre in London in 2005. This one-person revue was said to be ‘a musical journey through her life from birth to the present’.
In 2005, Miquel appeared as Chloe the old maid in An American Haunting with Sissy Spacek. As it like the novel of the same name, it is based on the account of the Bell Family, allegedly tormented by The Bell Witch of Red River, Tennessee. The following year, 2006, she co-starred along side Robert Ashe in the drama film 9/11: The Twin Towers.
In 2007 Brown is starring in the original London production of Menopause: The Musical.
* Symphony of Love 1978
* Manpower 1983
* Close to Perfection 1985
* The Best of Miquel Brown Hot Productions 1991
* “First Time Round”
* “Dancin’ With the Lights Down Low”
* “This Is Something New to Me”
* “The Day They Got Disco In Brazil”
* “Do It”
* “Something Made to Love”
* “So Many Men, So Little Time”
* “He’s A Saint, He’s A Sinner”
* “Close to Perfection”
* “Black Leather”
* “On The Radio”
* “Footprints In The Sand”
* “This Time It’s Real”