Electrifying and charismatic American R&B band Starpoint was a sensation in the 1980’s with numerous hits to their credit. The band comprised musical talents basically from two men who were doctors in Crownsville State Hospital near Annapolis, Maryland; Dr Philips, an American and Dr Adeyemo, a Nigerian. Five of the group’s members – Ernesto, Orlando, Lloyd, Greg, and George, Jr – were children of Dr Phillips while Kayode, whose parents were immigrants from Nigeria and Barbados, made up the sixtet.
The closeness of the two doctors opened a friendship circle among their children who began writing and playing music, together forming a band calledLicyndania in 1969. The band later changed its name to Starpoint.
Many of the band’s earlier albums were funk oriented but ultimately leaned towards R&B with the remarkable pitch of vocalist Reene Diggs whose tone and sophistication served to introduce the R&B genre effortlessly. From that point, the band released a string of chart bursting songs with producers including Lionel Job, Keith Diamond, Bernard Edwards, Teddy Riley, as well as Ernesto Phillips, George Phillips, and Starpoint; on Chocolate City and Elektra Record labels away from the initial Casablanca Sub-label.
Adeyemo’s specialty was bass guitar while four of the Phillips’ brothers were multi-instrumentalists.Renée Diggs was later to join the band as lead singer, Terre Holland as the new bassist, and Marvin Ennis as the keyboardist to make up the line-up.
Many of the songs on Starpoint’s albums were written by Kayode and Ernesto including hit single “Object Of My Desire” on the “Restless” album which went Gold, selling over 600,000 copies.
With great choreography and dancing skills, Kayode was legendary with live performances on stage with his bass guitar or keyboards making the band a hotcake anywhere they went.
Throughout the early 80’s the band consistently released albums but the first top hit of the band which was among the top songs on the R& B chart was “I Just Wanna Dance with You,” released in 1980.
It however was in 1985 that the band recorded amajor success with their album “Restless” which not only made them superstars in the R&B world, but also brought them significant crossover success onto the charts.
Unfortunately, in what was a sad time in music world, the band broke up in 1990. Band members thereafter did songwiting and sessionwork forother artistes. Adeyemo co-wrote MilliVanilli’s hit “Girl you know its true” ,which went platinum, with accompaying albums featuring songs composed by Ernesto Phillips. Kayode continued with his songwriting career thereafter, making him relevant in the music industry.
The band however left a legacy behind with initiatives that will continue to impact humanity long after their sojourn on planet earth.
Ernesto Phillips kicked the bucket on March 25, 2004 from stroke. was
Established in his memory is The Ernesto Phillips Scholarship for Talented Youth; a tribute to his impact making efforts encouraging and also helping aspiring young musical talents to realise their dream of becoming musicians.
Vocalist Renée Diggs who was a long time lover of Erneto Phillips remained involved in music until she passed on a week short of the one year anniversary of Ernesto’s death, on March 18, 2005 at the age of 50, from a heart condition. She established the Renée Diggs Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis; an initiative founded to help bring attention to the disease.
It sure would amount to belaboring the obvious that Kayode and his likes have in no small measure in what they have created left a worthy legacy which will continue to motivate the younger generation. Today, Nigerians are making tremendous impact in the music industry across the globe. With its contribution to GDP also magnificiently progressing higher, generations of talents will always find the needed motivation to fulfil their divinely bestowed destiny in music.