If you’re not familiar with the Mtume songwriting team James Mtume and Reggie Lucas, then it’s time you brush up on your Black music history.
Stephanie Mills, for example, had her biggest chart success under the stewardship of Mtume and Lucas, including the 1980 hit “Never Knew Love Like This Before,” which won the 1981 Grammy Award for Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Performance.
But, after decades of singing along to the hit, there’s a history behind the song that many did not know — including Lucas’ daughter herself.
Lucas’ daughter, Lisa Lucas—who’s the executive director of the National Book Foundation—took to Twitter on Father’s Day to reminisce on the hit, “My dad’s songs were very hard to listen to over the past two years, but I get so much comfort from them now. This is the one I turn to most. (Co-written/produced w Mtume).”
It turns out, there was a much bigger story to be told. Her mother, Kay Lucas, added a surprising comment that made the 1980 R&B song even more poetic.
Several decades later, the book lover said that she had no idea she was the inspiration behind the song.
“I’m not crying, you’re crying,” Lisa Lucas replied. “Mom, I NEVER KNEW THIS. Heart just exploded.”
Lucas’ dad was recruited to join Miles Davis’ band in 1972, when he was just an 18-year-old guitarist living in New York City. Mtume formed the group with Lucas after their tenure in Davis’ band.
The dynamic duo would go on to write Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway’s “The Closer I Get to You” and others, before Lucas was recruited by Madonna to write and produce on a project, which would later turn about to be one of her biggest hits, “Borderline.”
Over the course of his career, Lucas also worked with artists like the Four Tops, The Spinners and Lou Rawls, before passing away at the age of 65 in 2018.
Relive “Never Knew Love Like This Before” here.