Blu Cantrell burst onto the music scene in 2001 with the release of her debut album, So Blu, and hit song “Hit ‘Em Style (Oops!).” It was a good start to a career and it earned her Grammy recognition. Despite the instant fame, it only made her a one-hit wonder. In the coming years, this 40-year-old R&B star would release a second album, Bittersweet, but it failed to garner much attention.
After falling out of the spotlight, virtually nothing was ever heard from this Rhode Island native again. From a failed reality show attempt on NBC, to nude photos from her past being uncovered and even a minor mental breakdown, here are the reasons why this R&B songstress, who had great vocal skills, has long fallen off the charts and out of sight.
She Hates The Music Of Today
Cantrell has proven she can’t compete with today’s crop of R&B stars. Radios, music streaming services and the like all cater to bubblegum-R&B stars who use the help of electronic systems to sing on key. It’s a technique and style of music Cantrell refuses to use. As she implies, she’s simply too good for the junk on airwaves these days. “Everything is a little more filtered today,” Cantrell told Australia’s The Music. “I try to be nice when I say it’s more filtered.”
She didn’t mince words when she wanted to describe the state of R&B in 2016 saying bluntly everything is “played out.” “I think it’s ridiculous!” she ranted. “Everyone’s lip-synching and they’re using Auto-Tune and it’s something that I will never do — it’s just not my style. I refuse to do that.” Cantrell, however, still enjoys the “old stuff” and has resigned herself to working with her contemporaries from yesteryear.
The singer told the site she was working on a Christmas album with the help of great ’90s R&B voices like Angie Stone and Chante Moore. The project was never released.
It seems that if Cantrell wants to really make a comeback, she may need to either embrace the current trend in music, find a hit-making producer or invent a new sound. Until then, she’ll be kept out of the spotlight and accused of having a dated sound by today’s standards.
Small Mental Breakdown
Things in recent years haven’t gone smoothly for Cantrell. As per a September 2014 TMZ report, she may have gone off the rails for a bit. The site reports the challenged singer was picked up by police in Santa Monica, California after she screamed through the streets someone was trying to kill her.
As the story goes, Cantrell was taken into custody around 2 a.m. after witnesses claim the star was shouting someone was giving her “poisonous gas.” When authorities arrived, she seemed to pull herself together enough to ask officers a loaded question: “Do you know who I am?” Although it’s unlikely the men and women in blue had a clue who Cantrell was or her claim to fame, she quickly noted she’s a “one-hit wonder.” After the fiasco, Cantrell was taken to a local hospital where she underwent an evaluation.
Unfortunately, no further details about the incident were released, nor did she make any statements. With episodes like this, it’s clear why she’s stayed out of the spotlight for so long. Perhaps she’s working on herself or fighting her own demons.
Views On Current Affairs In The World
While Cantrell may not be in the studio making new hits, she’s surely tuned into the constant tragedies around the world. Unlike some celebrities, she’s not afraid to speak her mind or share the love on social media. Her Twitter account is sprinkled with tweets of encouragement and condemnation of violence.
“The violence has to stop; in the U.S., in Europe, worldwide — hate solves nothing,” she wrote in July 2016 shortly after the deadly attacks in Nice, France. She also added of the tragic event, “So sad for #Nice — my heart goes out to the families of the victims #PrayforNice #PrayersforFrance #PrayfortheWorld.”
She also took to Twitter when numerous members of the LGBT community were slain at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Cantrell tweeted out a short message with a rainbow handprint saying, “I am shocked and horrified about what happened in #Orlando. Peace and love to my #LGBT friends.”
It sounds like Cantrell has even more to say but is holding back. Perhaps a seat on a political show is in her future?
Her Past With Porn
As fans began to learn more about Cantrell, they discovered she’s no angel. At age 18 she posed nude for a magazine called Black Tail. Those set of racy images may have put a damper on her career going forward in the early 2000s. “I’m not a porn star,” Cantrell told The Telegraph. “I’m not ashamed of what I’ve done, ‘cos it was a tough time and it paid some bills, but it’s not like I made a career out of it. I think my talent definitely overrides one nude shoot.”
Even though she took her clothes off a full 10 years before she landed record deal, Cantrell believes music is too sexually charged these days. “To me, music is not about sex. It’s about emotion and melodicism. But I’m not kidding myself. I wouldn’t have got a record deal if I didn’t look cute,” she quipped to the site before comparing the sex industry to the music industry. “That’s the way R&B is now,” she explained. “You shouldn’t have to take off all your clothes to get attention, but that seems to be what the public wants. But where else can you go after that?”
It’s unclear if she fell off the radar for refusing to sex up her image. Either way, Cantrell isn’t shy about expressing her thoughts. “I don’t think the sex business and the music business have much in common… The sex business is straight up front: it’s sex, sell it. The music business is a lot more brutal. It’s conniving and deceitful… At least with the sex business they’re gonna give you your money in your hand after you’re done. The music business, you get screwed and you don’t even get your money!”
The future for this former R&B chart topper looks murky at best. Although she’s still performing, Cantrell isn’t commanding the same audiences or media attention she once did. Only time will tell if she’ll break the curse of being a one-hit wonder and prove she’s can compete with her music contemporaries.
No matter the outcome, she’ll always remain number one for her small, but dedicated, fanbase. And barring no more breakdowns and mental evaluations, Cantrell could very well climb the charts again with a new album.