Stacey Q, born Stacey Lynn Swain in November 30, 1958 in the city of Fullerton, California is an American pop singer, dancer and actress. She is best known for her 1986 hit single "Two of Hearts".
Swain was introduced to the recording industry by her then-boyfriend, a local musician. Her recording career began in 1981, when she met producer, future manager and longtime collaborator Jon St. James. St. James had also been a "sound-alike" announcer for Los Angeles radio and was proprietor of Fullerton's Casbah Recording Studio, which had hosted Berlin and Social Distortion.
In 1981 Swain and St. James formed the synthpop outfit Q composed of St. James on guitars, Dan Van Patten and John Van Tongeren on vocoder and synthesizer, and Swain as assistant producer. When the band was recording basic tracks for The Q EP, St. James realized someone was needed to provide vocals for the first track, "Sushi." Swain, who had previously recorded demos at St. James's studio, was asked to sing the lyrics, and her vocals were featured on the final record. Swain became the band's lead singer based on that performance, even though she still considers herself a dancer rather than a singer.
Although The Q EP received virtually no airplay outside of college radio, that was successful enough for St. James and Swain to continue on other projects. In 1982, Q reformed with two additional members, drummer Karl Moet and synth player Rich West. After the reformation, they were forced to change the name of Q because of copyright problems (famed producer Quincy Jones reportedly had "established use of the 'Q' moniker"). Swain explained many years later in a 2006 radio interview that the band was renamed SSQ after Jon St. James "was fishing in a lake 'no bigger than a bathtub' and made a joke that the boat was the 'S.S. Q,'" referring to the current band Q. St. James had another reason for the name: "SS" stood for "Stacey Swain", who had become the most recognized member of the band's limited success.
SSQ first released their debut album Playback in 1983 under Enigma Records. The video for the "Synthicide" single received some small airplay and brought some greater notice for the five-member band. Skip Hahn officially replaced John Van Tongeren just before the release of Playback
In 1985 Swain signed a recording contract with On the Spot Records, an independent label. Her first solo single, "Shy Girl", was released the same year, while her first solo album, Stacey Q, was distributed in cassette format to limited release (the album contained an early version of "Two of Hearts", which originated with another artist, Sue Gatlin). As a solo artist, Swain adopted the name "Stacey Q" in reference to the original Q project.
"Shy Girl" and other singles collectively sold several thousands of copies, not staggering but enough to attract the attention of major record labels. Major label Atlantic Records offered Stacey Q a record deal in 1986 as a solo artist and she signed, with Jon St. James as manager, and the other members of SSQ as backup musicians. Better Than Heaven, her debut record for Atlantic, was recorded in three weeks, with tracks co-written by Berlin ("Better Than Heaven"), Jon Anderson of Yes ("He Doesn't Understand") and Willie Wilcox of Utopia ("We Connect").
1982 - The Q EP (as Q)
1983 - Playback (as SSQ)
1985 - Stacey Q
1986 - Better Than Heaven
1988 - Hard Machine
1989 - Nights Like This
1995 - Stacey Q's Greatest Hits
1997 - Boomerang
2010 - Color Me Cinnamon