Sylvia Jane Kirby (born December 9, 1956, Kokomo, Indiana, United States), known simply by her first nameSylvia during the 1980s, is an American country music and country pop singer and songwriter. Some original source books have her birth name as Sylvia Kirby Allen, however this may simply be a stage name she was trying to use but consequently used only her first name. There was also a point in time that she used Syliva Rutledge She is currently using her married name and is promoted as Sylvia Hutton.
She enjoyed crossover music success with the song "Nobody" in 1982. It reached No. 15 Pop and No. 1 Country. The song earned her a gold record certification and a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance (the Grammy went to Juice Newton for her hit "Break It to Me Gently"). Although "Nobody" was Sylvia's only single to reach the Billboard pop charts, her other big country hits include "Drifter" (#1 Country, 1981), "Fallin' in Love", "Tumbleweed" and "Snapshot". In 1982, she was named Female Vocalist of the Year by theAcademy of Country Music. She is also credited with making the first "concept" music video clip to air on Country Music Television (CMT), with "The Matador".
After auditioning for Dave & Sugar, Sylvia was signed as a solo artist by RCA Records in 1979. Her first RCA single was called "You Don't Miss a Thing". The song reached the Country Top 40, which got her name noticed. In 1980 she released another single, "It Don't Hurt to Dream". The record was slightly more successful than the previous title, going to No. 35. That same year, she finally made it to the Top 10 with "Tumbleweed". In 1981 her song "Drifter" hit No. 1 on the country charts, and two other songs, "The Matador" and "Heart on the Mend" landed in the Top 10. "The Matador" was country music's first conceptual music video to air on CMT. Drifter was the title of her 1981 RCA debut album. The album contained several top-ten songs, including "Tumbleweed" and "Heart On The Mend".
In 1982, from her Just Sylvia album, the singer released the single "Nobody", which reached No. 1 on the country music charts, hit No. 15 on Billboard's Hot 100, and sold more than a million copies. The song was also an Adult Contemporary hit, making the Top 5. "Nobody" became Sylvia's signature song and made her a success on both the Country and Pop music charts, which was what many of her contemporaries, such as Barbara Mandrell, Juice Newton, Dolly Parton,Anne Murray, Ronnie Milsap and Kenny Rogers were doing at the time.
"Nobody" and the album Just Sylvia were certified gold in the United States and Canada. "Nobody" was the 1982 BMI Song of the Year, awarded for receiving more radio airplay than any other single that year. Sylvia's bouncy and youthful style made her popular among teenage girls, making her a teen idol briefly, which foreshadowed the female pop teen idols of the late 1980s, such as Debbie Gibson and Tiffany Renee Darwish. In 1982, Sylvia was the Academy of Country Music's "Female Vocalist of the Year" and a Grammy nominee for "Best Female Vocalist".
In 1983 Sylvia's album Snapshot was released; its title song climbed to No. 5 on the Country charts and became her second-highest selling single release. She had two other songs in the Top 20 that year, "I Never Quite Got Back " and "The Boy Gets Around" (which she described in the notes of her 1998 anthology album as being "pretty forgettable").
In 1985, the momentum continued with such smash hits as "Fallin' in Love", "Cry Just a Little Bit", and "I Love You by Heart" (a duet with Michael Johnson). By 1986 though, Sylvia's chart success was fading as more traditionally styled country singers, such as Randy Travis, dominated the charts.
Sylvia continued to record for RCA until the end of 1987, charting 13 Top Ten and No. 1 songs, and sold more than four million records.