Yazz (born Yasmin Evans, 19 May 1960) is a British pop singer, who remains best known for her successful 1988 dance track, "The Only Way Is Up". Some of her records were credited to Yazz & The Plastic Population. Her father is Jamaican, her mother English.
Yazz was born in Shepherd's Bush, London, and attended Holland Park School, where she excelled at sports, including the 400 metres. She was also a member of the England under-19 volleyball team. After a spell as a catwalk model, she scored a number of club hits after recording with the group The Biz in 1983. Her first commercial success came in early 1988, when she supplied the vocals on Coldcut's "Doctorin' the House". She soon launched a solo career on Big Life records, a label set up by her future husband Jazz Summers, releasing her debut single, "The Only Way Is Up", in the summer of 1988. It went on to spend five weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart, eventually becoming the second biggest selling UK single of the year. Suddenly one of Britain's biggest pop acts, her follow-up was another big hit ("Stand Up for Your Love Rights", UK number 2), whilst her debut album, Wanted, went Top Ten.
She continued to have hits into 1989 (and had her last Top Ten hit with the number 9 hit "Fine Time") but has since recorded only sporadically, releasing one single during 1990 and another in 1992. Her last Top 20 single was 1990's "Treat Me Good", which made number 20 in the UK. She returned to the Top 40 in 1993, performing with Aswad on the hit "How Long". She continued to release singles throughout the 1990s, including a cover version of The Jackson 5's "Never Can Say Goodbye". In 1997 she recorded the album Natural Life, which was only released in some parts of Europe and Asia.
It was during this period that she began to reevaluate her career choices and during an interview admitted that she wanted to give up not only her secular lifestyle which included her failed marriage to Summers (their union had resulted in a daughter, Rio, born 1990), but also her dependency on drinking. After she had researched various religions, a friend who used to be her hairstylist suggested to her that she try visiting her church. Soon after that, she decided to "turn her life over to Christ".
Her 2008 album Running Back to You, distributed in the UK by ICC Records, charted her spiritual journey and her new-found Christian faith. Yazz is now based in Spain, and is an active member of the Calahonda Baptist Church. Yazz returns to Britain occasionally to promote this album, performing songs from it live interspersed with several anecdotes pertaining to her faith.
In August 2009, she performed with a full band on stage for the first time in several years at a church in Southampton. In October 2010, Yazz performed again with a full band at Cathedral House in Huddersfield, home of the Huddersfield Christian Fellowship.
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