Singer/songwriter Sheila Hutchinson was a member of the Emotions, who had hits ("Show Me How," "So I Can Love You," "Put A Little Love Away," "You Make Me Want to Love You") on Stax/Volt Records and on Columbia Records through Earth, Wind and Fire founder Maurice White's Kalimba Productions (the #1 R&B, #1 Pop Grammy winner, "Best Of My Love," "I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love," "Flowers," "Don't Ask My Neighbors" and the million-selling group duet with EWF, "Boogie Wonderland"). She wrote the group's first nationally charting single, "So I Can Love You" as well as co-writing many of their '70s hits. There is a strong Emotions influence on Mariah Carey's hits, "Emotions" and "Dreamlover." Sheila Hutchinson and the rest of the Emotions sang background vocals on Smokey Robinson's Motown CD, Intimate, issued September 28,1999.
Born in 1953, Hutchinson and her sisters, Wanda Hutchinson and Jeanette Hutchinson (all Chicago natives), started performing gospel music with their father, Joe Hutchinson, as the Hutchinson Sunbeams in 1956. Their father was a member of the gospel group, the Wings of Heaven. From their Terre Haute, IA, home, they would travel across the country doing shows. Around 1962, the family formed Three Ribbons and a Bow, recording sides for Chicago labels, VeeJay Records, Twin Stacks and George Lerner's One-der-ful Records. A Twin Stacks single, "Bush Fire," was leased to Bell Records in 1967. Winning a talent contest at Chicago's legendary Regal Theater, the group walked away with the first prize, a recording contract with Memphis,TN-based Stax/Volt Records. Afterwards they were approached by family friend Pervis Staples, whose family members, the Staple Singers, later had several hits for Stax such as "I'll Take You There" and "Respect Yourself." Staples suggested that the group switch to secular music and asked to be their manager. The trio entered the world of Soul-Pop music as the Emotions.
Stax teamed the singers with the hit songwriting/production team of Issac Hayes and David Porter. Their Stax debut single, the smooth "So I Can Love You," made it to number three R&B on Billboard's charts in spring 1969. The So I Can Love You album charted #43 R&B in spring 1969 and was reissued on CD in the '80s. Davis and Porter created a steady stream of smashes for the Emotions: "The Best Part Of A Love Affair" (#27 R&B, #101 Pop, fall 1969), "Stealing Love" b/w "When Tomorrow Comes" (#40 R&B, early 1970), "Heart Association (#29 R&B, fall 1970). Bettye Crutcher produced the brassy "You Make Me Want To Love You," which hit #47 R&B, spring 1971. Its flipside, the hyper "What You See Is What You Get" even got some radio airplay. Hayes and Porter's dreamy slow jam, "Show Me How" took the group back up the charts peaking at #13 R&B, #52 Pop in fall 1971. Then came the multi-platinum success of Issac Hayes' soundtrack of the 1971 Gordon Parks/Richard Roundtree classic trend-setting movie, Shaft. The Emotions were then produced by various Stax staff producers, scoring more hits: "My Honey And Me" (#18 R&B, #113 Pop, spring 1972) and "I Could Never Make You Happy" (#23 R&B, #93 Pop, spring 1972). Their other Stax charting singles were The Jackson 5-ish "From Toys To Boys, the tender Dennis Lambert/Brian Potter ballad, "Put A Little Love Away" and "Baby I'm Through." Stax Records closed its doors in 1975, leaving the Emotions without a record deal. Berkeley,CA-based Fantasy Records bought the Stax catalog and released a greatest hits set of the Emotions, titled Chronicle and an LP, Sunshine, in 1977. Later in their midst of their "Best Of My Love" success, Stax/Fantasy issued the double-sided single, "Shouting Out Love," (#31 R&B) b/w the reissued "Baby I'm Through" (#59 R&B, early 1978).
In 1976, the Emotions became reacquainted with fellow Chicago musician Maurice White, who they had met in the '60s. White was enjoying phenomenal success as the leader of Earth, Wind and Fire. Family friend Ron Ellison suggested Earth, Wind and Fire-collaborator Charles Stepney, who after an audition recommended the sisters to White. He signed the trio to his Kalimba Productions, who had a production/distribution deal with Columbia Records.
Flowers included the double-sided slammin' hit single, "I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love" (#13 R&B, #51 Pop) b/w the sweet, airy ballad "Flowers" (#16 R&B, #87 Pop, fall 1976). The Flowers LP went gold, going to #5 R&B, #45 Pop in spring 1976. Their 1977 album Rejoice went platinum, parking at #1 R&B for seven weeks, #7 Pop, spring 1977. White started his own Columbia-distributed label, ARC Records. One of the first releases was the Emotions' album, Come Into Our World with its the gold single, "Boogie Wonderland," issued as Earth Wind And Fire with The Emotions. Another ARC LP was 1981's A New Affair.
the Emotions recorded an album, Sincerely, for Chicago-based Red Label Records owned by keyboardist/arranger Rich Tufo. It yielded the sensuous ballad "You're The One," written and produced by Attala Zane Giles and Billy Osborne. Jeffrey Osborne and Giles produced the excellent ballads, "Good Times" and "Eternally" for the Emotions' spring 1985 Motown LP, If I Only Knew. Other standout Sincerely tracks are Hutchinson's own sweet "Sincerely" co-written with Keith Henderson, "You're the Best and the sensuous "You Know I'm the One." Sheila Hutchinson was reunited with Skip Scarborough when she covered his "I'll Be There for You" on the flipside of her mid '80s Straight Life single, "Keep A Little Lovelite Burnin'," which was produced by Ron Kersey.