Doris Troy

Doris Troy
Doris Troy
Background information
Birth name Doris Higginson
Born January 6, 1937(1937-01-06)
Origin The Bronx, New York, United States
Died 16 February 2004(2004-02-16) (aged 67)
Genres R&B
Occupations Singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Labels Apple, Atlantic People
Associated acts Cissy Houston

Doris Troy (January 6, 1937 – February 16, 2004)[1][2] was an American R&B singer, known to her many fans as "Mama Soul".

She was born as Doris Higginson[1] in The Bronx, the daughter of a Barbadian Pentecostal minister. Her parents disapproved of "subversive" forms of music like rhythm & blues, so she cut her teeth singing in her father's choir. She was working as an usherette at the Apollo where she was discovered by James Brown.

Troy worked with Solomon Burke, The Drifters, Cissy Houston, and Dionne Warwick, before she co-wrote and recorded "Just One Look", which hit #10 in the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1963.[3] The song has been covered by The Hollies, Linda Ronstadt, Bryan Ferry, Anne Murray, Klaus Nomi, and Harry Nilsson. Her only foray into the UK Singles Chart, "Whatcha Gonna Do About It", peaked at #37 in December 1964.[1]

As her solo career peaked, she did back-up for the Rolling Stones, Humble Pie, Kevin Ayers, Pink Floyd (on their album The Dark Side of the Moon),[2] George Harrison, Johnny Hallyday, Dusty Springfield,[2] Nick Drake, Junior Campbell and Carly Simon.

She was signed by The Beatles to their Apple Records label in 1969, and released an album co-produced by Troy and George Harrison.

Troy worked in the UK throughout the 1970s, appearing at Ronnie Scott's Club and recording a live album, The Rainbow Testament. Her People Records album, Stretching Out, was not a big seller.

Mama, I Want To Sing is a stage musical based on her life,[2] and was co-written with her sister, Vy, a popular New York radio personality. It ran for 1,500 performances at the Heckscher Theatre in Harlem. Troy played her own mother, Geraldine. Chaka Khan played her aunt in the London production, as did Deniece Williams. The musical has been reinterpreted as a motion picture, released in 2009. The film's cast included Ciara, Patti Labelle and Hill Harper.

Troy died from emphysema at her home in Las Vegas, Nevada, aged 67.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 567. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ a b c d e - accessed February 2011
  3. ^ - Billboard Singles

External links

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