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The Mary Jane Girls consisted of seven ladies: Joanne McDuffie, Candice Ghant, Kimberly Wuletich, Cheryl Bailey, Yvette Marine, and the Water Sisters (Maxine and Julia). The Mary Jane Girls are a protégé of Rick James and originally the name was only supposed to be for McDuffie and her solo career. When James realized that both McDuffie and the Water sisters had a true passion for music, he decided to form his own group.
When Motown offered James a contract for The Mary Jane Girls – believing that it was an actual group and not just to help McDuffie’s career – James agreed, lying to Motown. James eventually found a way to allow McDuffie to have some type of solo career in the group. Having her sing all the leads, with background vocals from The Water Sisters, the other members were somewhat irrelevant because they either could not sing or had too many limits vocally.
Since the group was so vocally limited, it caused them to fail reaching their full potential in the music industry, causing them limited performances for TV shows or tours. Each girl stood for something: McDuffie was the female version of Rick James (the sexy, cool street girl), Wuletich was known as the dominatrix, Ghant was the vamp, and Wells and Marine played the Valley Girl characters. They released their first album in 1983 and instantly became a well-known group with their hits “Candy Man”, “All Night Long”, and “Boys”. Feeling unstoppable, they released their second album, Only Four of You, in 1985 with hits “In My House” and reached #3 on the R&B charts. The Mary Jane Girls felt like they could make it to the top. The second single off that album was “Wild and Crazy Love”, making it to #10 on the R&B charts and #3 on the dance charts. Unfortunately though, being at the peak of fame and their career… some group members was not as happy as others. That same year, Cheri Wells left the group and Yvette Marine replaced her. But just because one member left did not mean The Mary Jane Girls would stop; they released their single “Shadow Lover” and were getting ready to release their third album, Conversation, but broke up in 1987.
After the group split up, McDuffie decided to pursue the career she had always wanted — a solo career. She started to record with James in 1997 on the track “Never Say You Love Me”, but eventually realized that her title in the industry would be always part of The Mary Jane Girls. After leaving the group, most of the group members continued their solo music careers. Cheryl Bailey sang lead for Morris Day’s group The DayZs. While, Marine appeared in the Pebbles’ “Mercedes Boy” music video in 19981. In 1991, she decided to sue Virgin Records for sharing vocals on Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract”, “Knocked Out”, and “I Need You”, but eventually lost the case. In 1995, McDuffie, Ghant, and Wuletich decided to try to start another group, but eventually went their separate ways again in 1997.
Currently, Bailey continues to perform at venues and is living in Oregon. McDuffie still performs as JoJo, but also is a television and movie composer and is proud to be a one hit wonder. Ghant is currently in the music business, and continues to pursue her career as well as helping other artists out. Marine, decided to start a family and is the host of In The Mix with Yvette. Lastly, Wuletich has become a celebrity chef, who has published cookbooks and is currently in the process of creating her own TV cooking show.