Angela Bofill was born to a Cuban father and an Puerto Rican mother. She grew up listening to Latin music and was also inspired by the African-American performers. Her weekends were taken up studying classical music and singing in a city chorus. It was as a teenager that her professional singing began.
She performed with Ricardo Marrero & the Group and Dance Theater of Harlem chorus before being introduced to Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen of the jazz label GRP Records by Dave Valentin, her friend and jazz flutist. 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), and 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 song "I Try", written by Bofill and 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.
Clive Davis, the head of Arista Records, showed interest in Bofill. Arista had a distribution deal with GRP. Bofill switched labels for her next album, Something About You (1981). Produced by Narada Michael Walden, the album was an attempt to move Bofill into mainstream R&B and pop music. It didn't perform as well as previous releases, despite the singles "Holdin' Out for Love" and the title track, which both reached the R&B Top 40.
The following year, she and Walden reunited for Too Tough. The title song reached No. 5 on the R&B chart and spent four weeks at No. 2 on the Dance chart. A follow-up single, "Tonight I Give In", reached the Top 20. Several months later, Bofill released her final collaboration with Walden, Teaser. The album failed to match the success of Too Tough but did produce one Top 20 R&B hit, "I'm On Your Side", which has been covered by several artists, most notably Jennifer Holliday, who had a Top 10 hit with it in 1991.
Bofill recorded two more albums for Arista with the help of The System and George Duke before leaving the label in the mid-1980s. Following the birth of her daughter, she moved to Capitol Records and the producer Norman Connors for Intuition (1988), which produced her last significant chart success, a cover of Gino Vannelli's "I Just Wanna Stop", which reached No. 11 on the R&B chart. She recorded three more albums over the next eight years and provided backing vocals on albums for Diana Ross and Kirk Whalum and for Connors's Eternity (2000). She performed live (with a sizable audience internationally, particularly in Asia) and appeared in the stage plays God Don't Like Ugly and What a Man Wants, What a Man Needs. She also toured the US and Europe in multi-artist jazz shows.
Bofill suffered a stroke on January 10, 2006 and was paralyzed on her left side. She convalesced at Sutter Hospital in Santa Rosa, California, and was released from intensive care on January 15, requiring speech and physical therapy. She lacked health insurance, and a benefit concert was organized to pay her hospital bills. The show was planned by Rich Engel, her manager, and the New York radio stations Kiss FM and WFAN-FM,. It took place on March 11, 2006, at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, New Jersey. Similar events followed, and other aid was sought from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. Her album Live from Manila (recorded in September 2004) was released during this time. She suffered another stroke in July 2007 which required therapy and left both her speech and mobility impaired.
Although Bofill lost the ability to sing after her second stroke, she returned to the stage, at the suggestion of Engel, for "The Angela Bofill Experience". In the show, she recounted her life and career and was joined by Maysa Leak, Phil Perry, and Melba Moore, who performed her biggest hits and signature songs. In 2012, she was profiled and interviewed for the TVOne documentary series, Unsung.American Music Awards: 1984 - Best R&B/Soul Female Artist (nominated)
Bay Area Music Awards (Bammies): 1984 Outstanding Black Contemporary Artist/Group
Soul Train Saturday May 28, 1983
The Pat Sajak Show January 26, 1989