Stephanie Mills is an American R&B, soul and gospel singer, songwriter and Broadway performer who has been active in the music industry since the 1970s. She rose to fame for starring as Dorothy in the original Broadway run of The Wiz from 1975 to 1977. Mills has released numerous hit albums over her career and is known for songs like “Home”, “I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love”, and “(You’re Puttin’) A Rush on Me”.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
Stephanie Mills was born on March 22, 1957 in Brooklyn, New York. She became interested in performing as a child and began her career on Broadway, landing her first role at age 9 in the musical Maggie Flynn in 1968. This was followed by appearing in shows like Dames at Sea and The Wiz, where she originated the lead role of Dorothy in 1975.
Her powerful vocals and stage presence caught the attention of Motown records, who signed Mills and released her first album Movin’ in the Right Direction in 1976 when she was just 19 years old. The album featured her first major R&B hit “I Wanna Get Next to You”.
Mainstream Success in the 1980s
After leaving Motown, Mills signed with Casablanca Records and released two albums, Stephanie (1979) and What Cha’ Gonna Do with My Lovin’ (1979). The latter album featured her first major crossover pop and R&B hit with the song “Never Knew Love Like This Before”, which reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
As Mills entered the 1980s, she began working with producer James Mtume and signed with MCA Records. Her album Sweet Sensation (1980) yielded the hits “Never Knew Love Like This Before” and “Two Hearts” featuring Teddy Pendergrass. The album won Mills a Grammy Award.
Her greatest success came with the album Stephanie Mills (1981), often called the iconic album of her career. It included her signature tunes “Home” and “I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love”, both of which ranked on the R&B charts. Mills became recognized as one of the leading vocalists of her era.
Later Career and Gospel Music
While Mills’ hitmaking slowed down in the late ’80s, she continued recording albums into the ’90s and 2000s while expanding into gospel music. She signed with MCA Gospel and released albums like Personal Inspirations (1994) and I Shall Leap Faith (2002).
In the 2010s, Mills made appearances on televised music contests like Unsung and RuPaul’s Drag Race. She also performed in touring theater productions like Soul Train Live and Makes Me Wanna Holler.
Mills has influenced generations of R&B singers with her powerful voice and continued live performances. She earned the nickname “Queen of R&B” and received the Soul Train Heritage Award for Career Achievement in 1998.
Net Worth and Earnings Highlights
Stephanie Mills has built significant wealth over her decades-long career in music and entertainment. According to sources, Stephanie Mills’ net worth is estimated to be around $8 million as of 2022.
Her net worth has been built up through successful album sales and charting singles over the course of her career. She has released a total of 16 studio albums, with many reaching Gold and Platinum certification from the RIAA. Her biggest successes included the hit albums Sweet Sensation, Stephanie Mills, and I’ve Got the Cure.
In addition to album sales, Mills has earned from extensive touring and live performances over the decades. She continues to perform concerts today and also receives royalties from her music catalog. Her acting and Broadway roles early in her career also provided a steady income and exposure.
Outside of music, Mills brings in wealth from appearances, endorsements, and other business ventures. She has done commercials for companies like American Express and Crest.
Age and Height
Born on March 22, 1957, Stephanie Mills is currently 65 years old as of 2022.
Mills stands at a relatively short height of 4’11” (1.5 m). Her petite stature earned her the nickname “Mighty Mite” early in her Broadway career.
Personal Life and Relationships
Stephanie Mills has one child, a son named Farad Mills born in 1984. The identity of the father has not been publicly disclosed.
Mills was briefly engaged to singer Jeffrey Daniels in the early ’80s, but the wedding was called off. She also dated singer Freddie Jackson for several years in the late 1980s.
In 2013, Mills lost her Brooklyn home due to a bad real estate deal and mortgage fraud. She temporarily moved to Charlotte, NC where one of her sons resides.
Over a remarkably long career, Stephanie Mills has made her mark on R&B music through her powerful vocals, hit songs, and live performances. She found great success in the 1970s and 80s, earning the nickname the “Queen of R&B”. Her estimated net worth of $8 million demonstrates her staying power as an entertainer. Mills continues to record and perform her classic hits for devoted fans today.