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Angela Bofill was born to a white Cuban father and a black Afro-Latino Puerto Rican mother. She performed with Ricardo Marrero & the Group and Dance Theater of Harlem chorus prior to being introduced to Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen (of the jazz label GRP Records) by her friend, the jazz flautist Dave Valentin. Grusin and Rosen signed Bofill and produced her first album, Angie, in 1978. Angie was well received both critically and commercially and included the chart single "This Time I'll Be Sweeter" (co-written by Gwen Guthrie), as well as Bofill's sprawling jazz composition, "Under the Moon and Over the Sky". Less than a year later, a second album, Angel of the Night was released and outperformed its predecessor. The album included the chart singles "What I Wouldn't Do (For the Love of You)" and the up tempo title track, as well as the self-written song "I Try" (covered by Will Downing in 1991). The reception of these albums positioned Bofill as one of the first Latina singers to find success in the R&B and jazz markets.
Following the release of Angel of the Night, the head of Arista, Clive Davis, (whose label had a distribution deal with GRP at the time) showed interest in Bofill, and she switched labels for the release of her next album, Something About You in 1981. The album, produced by Narada Michael Walden, was an attempt to move Bofill into more mainstream R&B and pop material, but performed less well than her earlier releases, despite the relative success of the singles "Holdin' Out for Love" and the title track, which both reached the R&B Top 40. The following year Bofill and Walden reunited for Too Tough, this time achieving a major hit with the title track, which reached #5 on the R&B chart and spent four weeks at #2 on the Dance chart, as well as a Top 20 follow-up single "
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