It’s one thing to get a nod of approval from a musical mastermind, but to have them clear an entire song for free is truly next level.
Legendary girl group Sisters with Voices, or SWV, first hit the music scene in 1988 as a gospel group. When the 1990s hit, they soon became one of the most successful R&B groups of the decade, thanks to hits like “Weak,” “I’m So Into You,” and “You’re the One.”
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The Nod Of Approval That Changed It All
From the very beginning, the trio has been a force to be reckoned with, which is why it comes as no surprise that the legendary Michael Jackson was blown away by their talent.
The Sample of A Lifetime
In fact, the “King of Pop” was so infatuated with what the ladies brought to the table that he cleared one of his hit tracks for them to sample — for free.
That’s right, his 1982 hit, “Human Nature,” became SWV’s “Right Here.” It was the group’s debut single on their first album, “It’s About Time,” but the track didn’t really receive recognition until the following year.
You Know How Cold You Gotta Be For Michael Jackson To Clear His Sample For You, FOR FREE? pic.twitter.com/thkxgcWdAb
— First Class 🏁 (@1DJFirstClass) September 22, 2022
By 1993, the remixed version of the song, “Right Here (Human Nature Remix)” became a No. 1 R&B single, earning the group a gold certification with more than 500,000 copies sold. It spent 22 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and ultimately became one of the most successful songs of the year.
“That’s one of our top 5 hits, and we were one of the first artists who he allowed to use his sample,” group member Tamara “Taj” Johnson told the Atlanta Black Star in 2021. “That song has done great things for us.”
Michael Jackson's Success
While the “Human Nature” sample may have done amazing things for SWV, it also worked wonders for Jackson.
According to reports from Forbes, the song is featured on his 1982 “Thriller” album, which brought him $134 million in revenue just two years after its release.
Despite his untimely passing in 2009, the King of Pop’s estate, which is partly owned by his heirs, still draws in about nine-figure sums annually.
How Many Times Has Human Nature Been Sampled
Thanks to a shared connection with producer Teddy Riley, SWV became one of the first groups to sample the track. It’s a great feat given the fact that it’s been used at least 10 times across various genres.
Group member Lelee Lyons is still shocked to this day that they managed to grasp the legendary musician’s attention.
“It was very thoughtful of him,” said Lyons. “I was so shocked that he was a fan of my group. I am forever grateful.”