in Newark, New Jersey (where she currently resides), Taana is
the granddaughter of a professional opera singer. After six months
of searching, Mrs. Gardner named her daughter after a river in
Nairobi -- the Taana River. Her musical career began at the age
of eleven when she became active in theatre and joined the Harlem
Children's Theater Group. Her theatre debut was at Lincoln Centre
as the high priestess in the "Land of the Egyptian,"
a musical which she also co-wrote. Taana went on to perform with
the Dance Theater of Harlem, and the National Black Theater.
1979, after meeting producer Kenton Nix in an airport, Taana Gardner
recorded her first monster single for rising-star record label,
West End Records. The single was "Work That Body." Originally
a favourite instrumental of Paradise Garage DJ Larry Levan, it
was when he dropped the needle on the newly recorded vocal version
that the dancefloor, used to the vocal-less version, exploded.
Levan urged Nix to immediately sign Taana to Mel Cheren's West
End Records. He did and the song became an international club
smash, and one of West End's best known hits. Cute F.Y.I.: The
were inspired by a Garage queen who used to exclaim just that
on the dancefloor: "Work that body, girl!" He said it,
Taana did it, West End worked it.
booked Taana for a session with Dr. Buzzard and his original Savannah
band to do some background vocals. This was her first experience
in the studio. After that (1979), she ended up doing a whole album
called "Spooks In Space" under the alias The Aural Exciters
with August Darnell of Kid Creole and the Coconuts and Pat Place
(Bush Tetras) on guitar, and James Chance (Contortions) on Horns.
The album went double platinum in Europe.
on to record "When You Touch Me," "No Frills"
and "Heartbeat" which sold over 800,000 singles. "Heartbeat"
is one of the most sampled records in pop history -- supplying
the backbone of over 30 records including the #1 worldwide hit
Ini Kamoze's "Here Comes the Hotstepper," as well as
singles by Native Tongues ("Buddy"), Black Moon ("2
Turntables and a Mic") and DMX ("Flesh of My Flesh Blood
of My Blood").
had her performing at some of the country's hottest discos including,
The Paradise Garage, Studio 54, and Red Parrot. More recently
she's performed in Paris for an apres-show party for fashion designer
Yves St. Laurent and back in Manhattan at Life, Shelter, Salon
at Flamingo East. In the past she's appeared on such beloved disco
television shows as the flawless Dance Fever and Soap Factory
as well as early talk shows like The Merv Griffin Show and The
Joe Franklin Show.
some time off to raise her children, Taana marked her return to
West End with the her 1998 club single "I'm Comin'."
The single was produced by Kenton Nix -- the same man who has
produced her since almost twenty years ago.Taana has had a string
of recent releases with Kevin Aviance, Underground Collective
to West End Records, Speedgarage.com, and Marlon D of Underground