She sang Drinking in LA's iconic hook — but the record label erased her from the band for being Black
If you are old enough to remember the year 1997, then you almost certainly remember the song "Drinking in L.A.," the breakout hit by Montreal group Bran Van 3000. The woman behind that chorus was Stéphane Moraille. Moraille is now a successful...
Unfortunately, this is not surprising at all.
Bran Van 3000, Moraille says, was "a little capsule of what Montreal was: it was a Jamaican, a Haitian, an Anglo, a Francophone, a guy from B.C., an Italian guy." And they were making music that didn't fit neatly into a genre box. But the record industry couldn't handle that. Moraille was pushed out of the efforts to promote the song. She wasn't in any of the pictures or promotional materials. At one point, she says, Di Salvio even received a push from their label to re-record the song with a singer that sounded "more white." Moraille was heartbroken.
"It cuts you like a knife," she says. "Because here you are doing everything right, and you have the song and you have the voice. You're singing every show perfectly — as perfectly as you can — and the door still doesn't open."
Eventually, someone from the band's Canadian label asked to meet with her confidentially and told her that her exclusion had been a "business decision."