Biography of Amy Stewart
Amy 'Amii' Paulette Stewart (born January 29, 1956) is an American R&B/disco/dance-pop singer, dancer and actress most famous for her hit disco record "Knock on Wood". Stewart is the stepsister of actress-singer Miquel Brown and aunt to Brown's actress-singer daughter Sinitta.
Amy Stewart was the fifth of six children. Amii Stewart's father Joseph Stewart II, signed her up for singing and dancing lessons in 1960, at the age of four. There already was an Amy Stewart registered with Actor's Equity, so she changed the spelling of her name to Amii. She began attending Howard University in Washington but soon left to work with the D.C. Repertory Dance Company, studying ballet and modern dance. Before being signed to Ariola Records, Stewart was in the touring company of the stage production Bubbling Brown Sugar in 1975, firstly in Miami, then Broadway, and eventually London's West End, where she met Barry Leng, a record producer for Hansa records. The heavy drum sounds heard on "Knock On Wood", and many other of Amii's tracks, were provided by session drummer supremo Peter Boita ( also credited as the "Drum Doctor" on many tracks ). Using a combination of Linn Drum Computers and Simmons SDS7 electronic drums, Peter developed drum sounds and synching techniques that were way ahead of anything else at that time.
At the end of 1977, "You Really Touched My Heart" a Leng/Simon May composition, produced by Leng, was Stewart's first recording. An album followed, which contained five Leng/May songs, one Leng/Morris song and three cover versions.
Her first single, a disco cover version of the 1966 Eddie Floyd hit "Knock on Wood" (Floyd/Cropper), reached number one in the U.S. in April 1979, and earned her a platinum record and a Grammy Award nomination. It also reached number 6 in the UK, and number 2 in Australia. In the same year, Amii Stewart followed up with another cover of The Doors' classic, "Light My Fire", which reached #5 in the UK, although only managed a lowly #69 in the US. She recorded it as a medley, incorporating "Light My Fire/137 Disco Heaven".
Among her other successes in music recordings is the song entitled "Friends" from 1985. This song was a collaboration with the Italian composer/musician Mike Francis and was a big hit in the UK and the Philippines.