Among the great pure vocalists of the urban contemporary era, Howard Hewett has seldom found material worthy of his tremendous skills. He grew up in Akron, Ohio and relocated to Los Angeles.
Howard Hewett Biography
Howard Hewett (born October 1, 1955 in Akron, Ohio), he is an American R&B, Soul and gospel singer and former lead vocalist of the Disco/Soul group Shalamar. Raised in Akron, Ohio, Hewett moved to Los Angeles.
Hewett danced on Soul Train, and became one-third of Shalamar with Jeffrey Daniel and Jody Watley in 1979. They had several big hits before Hewett departed for a solo career in 1985. He signed with Elektra, and his second single, “I’m for Real,” was a number two R&B hit in 1986.
The follow-up single, “Stay,” also made the Top Ten, while “I Commit to Love” in 1987 reached number 12. Hewitt remained on Elektra through the ’80s and into the ’90s, earning another hit with “Strange Relationship” in 1988 and cutting duets with Dionne Warwick and Anita Baker.
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He also became busy as a writer, producer, and session vocalist. Hewett co-wrote and produced “Frustration” for LaToya Jackson in 1984, and sang on her LP Heart Don’t Lie.
He did lead vocals on LPs by Stanley Clarke and George Duke in 1984 and 1986, a duet with Stacy Lattisaw on “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and sang with Firefox in 1986, as well as doing backgrounds on a Donna Summer release.
An eponymous 1990 album by Hewett included the number two R&B hit “Show Me,” and the singer followed up with 1992’s Allegiance and 1994’s It’s Time before going on hiatus as a solo artist and concentrating on his work as a background vocalist on albums by a variety of jazz musicians, including Duke and Joe Sample.
Hewett returned with the 2001 gospel album The Journey, and the single “Enough” (also featuring Duke) arrived in 2006, followed by the holiday effort Howard Hewett Christmas in 2008.
Howard Hewett was married to his first ex-wife Rainey Riley-Cunningham Hewett and had two daughters, LaKiva and Rainey. Hewett married Mari Molina in 1986 but later divorced.
He married actress/singer Nia Peeples and had a son, Christopher (b. 1989). Peeples appeared in the music video for his song “Show Me.” After their divorce Hewett married Angela and had one daughter, Anissa.
He and Angela divorced in 2012, and he currently lives in Los Angeles, California. According to a DNA analysis, he is descended, mainly, from people of Guinea Bissau and of the Limba of Sierra Leone.
- I Commit to Love (1986)
- Forever and Ever (1988)
- Howard Hewett (1990)
- Allegiance (1992)
- It’s Time (1994)
- The Journey (2001)
- The Journey Live (2002)
- Intimate: Live (2005)
- If Only (2007)
- Howard Hewett Christmas (2008)
- B*A*P*S (1997) – Himself
- Dolemite (1975) – Singer
He met Soul Train dancer and future first wife Rainey Riley-Cunningham, then a secretary of the show’s creator and original host Don Cornelius. It was he who introduced Hewett to fellow Soul Train dancers Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel, and their group, Shalamar, was born.
The trio is best known for songs such as “Second Time Around”, “A Night to Remember”, ”There It Is” and lots of others. Hewett was the group’s lead singer from 1979 until 1985.when Shalamar broke up in the mid 1980s, Hewett went on to pursue a solo career.
He signed with Elektra Records and recorded 1986’s I Commit To Love (US R&B #12), a relatively solid urban album that yielded two R&B hits, “I’m For Real” (R&B #2) and “Stay” (R&B #8).
The album also included “Say Amen”, a gospel tune that became a surprise hit on the Gospel charts and is Hewett’s signature song. Hewett contributed vocals to La Toya Jackson’s Hot 100 hit single “Heart Don’t Lie” in 1984.
In 1990, Hewett released a self-titled album, which included the hit “Show Me” (R&B #2), and 1992 saw the release of the LP Allegiance, which was not received as well as previous albums.
He contributed to the second season theme song of “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” which was a remake of Sam & Dave’s R&B Top 10 hit “Soul Man”. This recording was produced by singer Steve Tyrell.
After 1995’s It’s Time (released by Expansion Records in the UK), Hewett stopped recording solo, spending much of his time providing guest vocals on albums by jazz artists such as Joe Sample, Brian Culbertson, and George Duke, among others.
In 2000, The Rippingtons featured Hewett on “I Found Heaven” on their “Life in the Tropics” album. In 2001, Hewett recorded his first full gospel album, The Journey, followed a year later by The Journey Live: From the Heart.
He is still recording and releasing mostly R&B ballads but really needs to get some materiel to do justice to his amazing voice.