Terence Trent D’Arby was born in Manhattan in 1962, the son of a Pentecostal evangelist, the Rev. James Darby – Terry adopted the apostrophe himself.
When he was young the family moved first to cold and windy Chicago, then to hot and steamy Florida, where young Terence became, amazingly, a boxer, and more amazing still, the Golden Gloves champ.
As a Corporal in the US Army’s Third Armoured Division – funnily enough, Elvis Presley’s old regiment – he was stationed in Frankfurt until he was formally discharged in April 1983 after going AWOL (Absent Without Leave). After a spell in German funk band, Touch, he moved to London and signed to CBS.
His arrival was much hyped by the music press and a succession of funky Top 20 hits got him off to a great start on both sides of the Atlantic, starting with Wishing Well in 1987 which hit #2 in the UK and #1 in the US.
His (Grammy award-winning) debut album, Introducing The Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby (1987) spawned a number of singles, including the smooth and old-fashioned ballad, Sign Your Name.
D’Arby set out his stall during an early NME interview, declaring; “I think I’m a genius. Point Fucking Blank.” In 1988 he posed naked and crucified for publicity photos, alarming his record company and alienating many fans with his self-aggrandizing excesses.
His second album, the experimental and psychedelic Neither Fish Nor Flesh (1989), was a commercial failure but he weathered the storm and came back with acclaimed eclectic Symphony Or Damn in 1993, which included Let Her Down Easy and provided four Top 20 hits.
D’Arby then left London (his home since 1986) and went into self-imposed exile in the Hollywood Hills to write some songs and try to discover the meaning of life.
In 2001 he changed his name to Sananda Maitreya and moved back to Germany, resettling in Munich and starting his own independent record label, Treehouse Pub.