Diane Charlemagne, Vocalist for Moby, Urban Cookie Collective and Goldie, Dies at 51

Diane Charlemagne
Diane Charlemagne

Diane Charlemagne, a singer for Urban Cookie Collective and Moby and whose unforgettable vocals on Goldie’s “Inner City Life” established the song as one of the most iconic drum 'n' bass works of its era, died Wednesday (Oct. 28) after a battle with cancer. She was 51.  

Charlemagne was born in Manchester, England and had an early break when, in 1981, her jazz group won a battle of the bands competition. Her R&B group 52nd Street went on to sign with Virgin, and remained on the label's books for much of the decade.

Through the ‘90s and 2000s, she guested and performed with a string of acts, from K-Klass to Dannii Minogue. Charlemagne performed on Urban Cookie Collective’s breakout first two club tracks from 1993, "The Key, The Secret" (Pulse-8 Records), which peaked at No. 2 in the U.K, and "Feels Like Heaven," which reached No. 5.

She toured widely with Urban Cookie Collective, Goldie, and with Moby in a creative union that included a headline slot at the 2003 Glastonbury Festival. 

Charlemagne contributed a soaring, soulful performance for “Inner City Life,” a single lifted from the DJ and producer Goldie’s 1995 album Timeless (FFRR). Indeed, it was Charlemagne's vocals in the standout track which proved to be timeless. The song had two stints on the U.K. singles chart, peaking at No. 49 in 1994 and re-entering the following year when it hit No. 39.

Goldie led tributes for the singer, describing Charlemagne’s as a “a gifted voice”. In a series of tweets, he wrote, “I can’t thank you enough for what you contributed and we will carry on your legacy.” 

British dance music empire Ministry of Sound described her as a “legendary vocalist.” Moby wrote: "so sad to hear about #dianecharlemagne passing. we worked together for years, and she was one of the most remarkable singers on the planet."

A statement issued by Blue Soap Music PR reads: “I’m very sorry to have to announce the death of Diane Charlemagne. Diane passed away this afternoon surrounded by her family after losing her brave battle with cancer.

“The release of her last record, "It’s In Your Eyes" featuring Andy Rourke of The Smiths and remixed by Youth, will go ahead on November 20 as planned, with the proceeds going to Diane’s family.”