is an American R&B/soul singer-songwriter who
rose to fame first in the 1980s R&B duo René & Angela,
also scoring hits as a solo artist.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Angela began singing in church. She grew
up in a loving and family-oriented household in a nice middle-class
area of St. Louis. She did not initially aspire to a career
in music, instead studying architecture at Howard University, singing
only to earn extra money.
She continued to sing in church
while at Howard as well as with gospel
legend Richard Smallwood. She also performed as a singer with
a group called "Hot Tea" while she attended Howard
University. They opened for various well-known performers
during shows and also did background singing for recording artists.
One of the other members of "Hot Tea" was Tawatha Agee, who
later did a lot of background singing on the albums of several
well-noted recording artists, eventually joining the funk/soul band
By 1977, Angela had changed her major to music education and recorded a
demo. She shopped it to various record labels with no success
but, through a personal introduction furnished by respected industry
veteran, Wayne K. Garfield, the demo was heard by New York disc jockey
Gary Byrd, who made the call that landed Angela a spot in Stevie
Wonder's backing vocal group, Wonderlove.
Becoming Wonder's protégé, she learned a great deal about writing and
arranging songs. While in Los Angeles with Wonder, Angela met singer
Rene Moore. The two formed the duo René & Angela later that
year. They soon came to the realization that they could be
successful as duo music writers and producers for others as well, and
began pursuing that goal. René & Angela released
their self-titled debut album in 1980, followed by Wall to Wall in 1982
and Rise in 1983. During this period they had two moderate
R&B hit singles, "I Love You More" and "My First Love".
Since starting out with Rene & Angela, Winbush and Moore have
played an influence on various R&B and hip-hop acts.
In the latter genre, their music has been sampled by acts such as The
Notorious B.I.G. (who featured her and Jay-Z on his Rene &
Angela-sampled "I Love You More" for the song "I Love the Dough"), Foxy
Brown (who sampled her "I'll Be Good" for her 1997 top ten hit, "I'll
Be", Rapper Sylk-E. Fyne's 1998 hit "Romeo and Juliet" that samples
Rene and Angela's "You Don't Have to Cry", and last but not least
singer Avant re-recorded the Rene & Angela ballad, "My First
Love", with singer Keke Wyatt in 2000. In appreciation during
Avant's performance of the song on BET's 106 & Park, in 2001,
Winbush surprised the audience by singing alongside Avant on the song.
As a singer, Winbush is well noted by her
humming during her songs. She has influenced the likes of
Syleena Johnson and Chante Moore. Winbush and former partner
Rene Moore also shared the distinction for being one of the first
R&B acts to prominently feature a rap act in a R&B song
sharing that distinction with Jody Watley, Chaka Khan and funk band
Cameo. Winbush also carries the distinction of being one of
the few female artists to find success as a songwriter, arranger,
producer and session musician (Winbush also is an avid musician playing
piano and keyboards).