Terence Trent D'Arby Repents -- The ''Wishing Well'' singer is back, and ready to put his cocky attitude and controversial past behind him

In 1986 he was the Next Big Thing. The pop-soul singer’s first album, Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby, with hit single ”Wishing Well,” sold more than 8 million copies worldwide. D’Arby won a 1988 Grammy.

And then, just as quickly, he was history. In comparison with Hardline, his second album, Neither Fish Nor Flesh, was a flop.

Now he’s back and, if not bigger than ever, at least more contrite. Having just released the LP Symphony or Damn, D’Arby, 31, claims he was humbled by the failure of Neither Fish and regrets his early interviews, sprinkled with such cocky claims as ”I’m a genius. Point f—ing blank.”

”That quote will follow me the rest of my life,” sighs D’Arby. ”I said it with a huge grin on my face, but when you stick it next to a photo of a guy looking sullen, there you go. Everyone has a cross to bear. Sometimes I have to take the splinters out of my shoulders.”

No wonder. D’Arby posed as Jesus for an Italian magazine in 1988, another thing he can’t seem to live down. ”I was asked to dress as the person in history who most influenced me,” he says. ”I think the problem was twofold — I was black and I was a rock star. The general reaction was, ‘How dare he?”’

How did his father, a Pentecostal minister, react? ”I heard his only comment was, ‘He probably looks closer to Jesus than Charlton Heston does.”’