The Aussie Pop Divas of the duo Rhapsody made a huge impact in the music industry even though they never achieved a No. 1 hit.
Kymberlie Harrison and Danni Gray (who was later replaced by Cathy Ford) had a minor hit (No. 95 on the ARIA Singles Chart) in January 1993 called Cowboy Lover.
What set them apart were a number of things - their new style of music (which was said to be the beginning of hip hop), their saucy appearance and the fact that they are believed to be the first manufactured and created female musical group in Australia. Both were models before Gene Pierson, head of Laser Label (a pop record offshoot of Kerry Packer’s Channel 9 Living Sound Label), turned them into Pop Divas.
“We took them into the studio, had a song written for them, taught them how to perform and how to sing,” Pierson said years later in an interview with a journalist from The Cairns Post.
“We totally manufactured and created Rhapsody.
“We even designed a clothing label for them (Rhapsody, launched in Double Bay, Sydney).
“They were the first Australian manufactured girls group. This led to other manufactured groups, like the Spice Girls, rising in the industry.”
Rhapsody’s hit and video Cowboy Lover created a sensation in the industry, being one of the first provocative music videos in Australia.
“It was very saucy and very raunchy,” Pierson said. “A lot of TV stations wouldn’t play it before 9pm because it was so controversial.
“Everywhere they went they were dressed in their sexy cowgirl outfits. They never stepped out of character, and they grabbed the headlines wherever they went.”
They were soon in demand on major Australian TV shows like Ray Martin and Hey Hey It’s Saturday. They toured New Zealand and Australia and were featured on the cover of the August 1993 edition of Playboy Australia.
Pierson worked with Rhett Hutchence in his Sydney video production company’s studio to create the video. They recruited design students to help create the sultry cowgirl outfits.
Things were looking positive for the duo, but Gray had a contract with a large modelling company in New York that she had to fulfil. Ford was recruited to replace her for six weeks, making guest appearances and performing on tour. Commitments kept Gray from returning to Australia. Rhapsody soon disbanded and never recorded another song.