The name of the band, Champaign refers to their hometown, Champaign, Illinois.
The mixed-race septet, who named themselves after their hometown of Champaign, Illinois, included Pauli Carman and Rena Jones (later Day) on vocals; Michael Day and Dana Walden on keyboards; Leon Reeder on guitar; Michael Reed on bass; and Rocky Maffit on percussion/drums. The title track from their 1981 album, How ‘Bout Us, was a hit single, reaching #5 in the UK Singles Chart, and on the US Billboard R&B chart (also #12 US Billboard Hot 100). Their second album, Modern Heart, was released in 1983 and contained the Top 10 R&B track “Try Again” (also #23 US Pop). Another follow-up, 1984’s Woman in Flames, included the Top 10 R&B song “Off and On Love.” Other songs include “Party People” and “Walkin'”.
Carman released his first solo album, Dial My Number in 1986, scoring an R&B hit with the title track. His second album, It’s Time was released the following year. In 1990, Champaign (including Carman) reconvened to record, and the Champaign IV album was released the following year. It did herald a brief return to the US R&B chart with the single, “Trials of the Heart.”
Former band member Michael Day died of cancer in 2001.
In 2003, a greatest hits compilation album was released that included most of the group’s hits, though several (most notably “Try Again”) were absent.
By 2008, Pauli Carman, the original lead singer, continued to represent the group. The Carma album, released in 2008, included original songs along with a remake of The Beatles’ “And I Love Her” and the Stevie Wonder track “I Love, I Love”. In 2010, Get Back 2 Love was released (included a remaster of “How ‘Bout Us”). The title track “Get Back 2 Love” made reference to Champaign’s top hits. The same year the single “Mercy” was released (a remake of the Marvin Gaye hit “Mercy Mercy Me)”. This single was to assist those affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A portion of the proceeds was donated to various agencies assisting with the clean up and restoration in the area.
In November 2010, Carman produced The Pauli Carman Show (a television pilot online show). In 2011, the single “Share” was released. In 2013, the single “When I’m Lovin’ You” was released.