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Levert, Gerald

Gerald Levert

Singer

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Following his fathers tradition, Gerald Levert has carved out a successful career as a writer, arranger, producer, and performer. The son of Eddie Levert Sr., vocalist and lead arranger of the longstanding R&B group the OJays, Gerald Levert produced a string of top-selling albums and singles, first as a member of the trio LeVert, then as a solo artist. After releasing five albums with LeVertfour of which achieved gold- or platinum-selling statusLevert began recording on his own. The artists solo career is marked by such albums as Private Line, Groove On, Love & Consequences, and G. Levert has such an incredible and creative way of expression, and it sounds like hes really lived what hes talking about, Michael Saunders, a radio executive at WJLB and WMXD, two Detroit R&B radio stations, told Billboard. Thats what people want today: They want to hear the truth.

Born on July 13, 1966, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which was homebase for the OJays, Levert was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Fueled by the musical household he grew up inand access to his fathers fullyequipped studioLevert formed a trio with his brother Sean and friend Marc Gordon. While still in high school, the group began performing at clubs in Ohio under the name LeVert. The group released its first single, Im Still, on the independent record label Tempre. In 1985 Im Still peaked at number 70 on the Billboard R&B charts and led to a record deal with Atlantic Records the next year.

LeVerts Atlantic debut, Bloodline, produced a number one single, (Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind, and the group became an instant success. All told, the group scored five number one, seven top ten, and four top twenty singles on Billboards R&B charts, including the number one single, Casanova. The groups albums, The Big Throwdown, Just Coolin, and Rope-a-Dope, were all top-sellers.

Levert made his solo debut in 1991 with Private Line. The album produced four R&B hitsthe title song, plus Baby Hold on to Me, School Me, and Can You Handle It. The success of the album was cemented by a 20-city headlining tour with R&B crooner R. Kelly in 1992. I didnt feel comfortable at first going out without the group for the first time, Levert told Billboard, but I must say the responses we got went way beyond what I expected. The album was certified gold in February of 1992 and peaked at number two on Billboards Top R&B Albums chart. Although he went solo, Levert wasnt leaving the group in the dust. The trio regrouped to record the album For Real Tho, released in 1992, and The Whole Scenario, released in 1997.

One key to Leverts success was that he followed his fathers lead in producing a string of tender and romantic songs whichcompared to the raw hits of early 1990s R&B acts like Jodeci, Silk, and R. Kellyleft something to the imagination. Like his dad, he believes

For the Record

Born on July 13, 1966, in Philadelphia, PA; raised in Cleveland, OH; son of Eddie Levert (founder and lead vocalist of the OJays); three children.

Formed the group LeVert with brother Sean Levert and friend Marc Gordon, early 1980s; with LeVert released album I Get Hot on independent Tempre label, 1985; signed to Atlantic Records, 1986; with LeVert released Bloodline, first of a series of commercially successful albums, 1986; began producing albums for other artists, including Stephanie Mills, James Ingram, and Miki Howard, among others, late 1980s; released debut solo album, Private Line, 1991; recorded and performed with Eddie Levert, 1995; with Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill, released Levert. Sweat. Gill, 1997; released Love & Consequences, 1998; released G, 1999; released Geralds World, 2001.

Addresses: Record company Elektra/Asylum, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019. WebsiteGerald Levert Official Website: http://www.geraldlevert.com.

audiences, especially female fans, want to be romanced and teased, he told Newsweek. He also credits the influence of Marvin Gaye on his soft approach. Marvin was the master of romance and knew how to say it without saying it, which he did with Lets Get It On, Levert continued in Newsweek. He was so smooth, he didnt have to say it because you knew what he meant.

Levert further cemented his reputation as an R&B writer and producer. In addition to selling more than nine million albums, he has produced or written more than 15 number one hits, including Barry Whites Practice What You Preach and Chuckie Bookers Games. Early in his career, he produced albums for new R&B groups Men at Large and Drama, a solo album for Rude Boys lead singer Joe Little, and tracks for a Barry White album.

After turning down the chance to cover the country song I Swear, Levert watched as the group AII-4-One took the single to number one. When offered another country song, Shed Give Anything, he took it. The song was produced by Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster, renamed Id Give Anything, and released as the first single on Leverts second album, 1994s Groove On. Although lushly produced and retaining its country-western melody, the single was a hit among Leverts R&B fans and reached number two on Billboards Top R&B Albums chart.

After performing live together on several occasions over the years, Levert and his father bowed to fans requests and teamed up to record 1995s Father and Son. People kept asking when were we going to record an album together because of the response we would get whenever Id do a show and dad would join me on stage for a couple numbers, Gerald Levert told Billboard. The album featured the duo singing original material written expressly for them, as well as a selection of cover songs, including several originally performed by the OJays. Actually weve always dreamed of making an album together, the senior Levert told Essence. Of all my children, Gerald is most like me. Were both very opinionated workaholics. But were both just happy that so many people look at the album as morally uplifting for the family. Soul and R&B fans alike were pleased, and the two toured together to support the album. Gerald and Eddie Levert had recorded together once before, on the duet Baby Hold on to Me, which appeared on Private Line and reached the top of the American R&B singles chart in January of 1992.

In 1997, Levert joined forces with fellow R&B singers Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill to record the album Levert. Sweat. Gill. People critic Amy Linden called Levert. Sweat. Gill an all-star project that is free of egomania and mighty fine on the ears. The album went platinum, led by the top-selling hit, My Body All Over Your Body.

The 1998 album Love & Consequences was an exceptionally painful work for Levert. He wrote the album following a breakup so difficult he considered quitting the music business. I was so devastated by the situation, he said in an interview with Ebony, I didnt want to do music any more. Levert also told Ebony it was his fault the year-long engagement failed, and he said he poured his pain and regret into songwriting. Considering his admission of responsibility, it is somewhat ironic that, in the albums first single, Thinkin about It, Levert demands a cheating partner change her philandering ways. In any case, the album struck a chord with his fansLove & Consequences was yet another platinum seller for Levert. In a review, Linden noted that Leverts voice is both tender and toughhallmarks of the great soul singers of the past.

Although he had not planned to release a new album so soon, Levert was ready with new material after tours with Patti LaBelle and as part of the Budweiser Superfest. Fearing his new songs would get stale, the artist told Billboard, he worked the recording for G into his already hectic schedule. Having recovered from the breakup that had fueled Love & Consequences, Levert recorded a slew of new and upbeat tunes. Songs like Application (Im Looking 4 a New Love), She Done Been, and the albums first single, Nothin to Somethin, reflected Leverts new mood. By March of 2000, G had climbed to the number two position on Billboards R&B album chart and to number eight on Billboards 200 album chart, marking a career-high sales peak and the first time the artist had broken into the charts top ten. The albums debut single, Mr. Too Damn Good, also made it onto the charts. Levert released Geralds World in 2001.

Selected discography

Solo

Private Line, Atlantic, 1991.

Groove On, Atlantic, 1994.

(With Eddie Levert) Father and Son, East West, 1995.

(With Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill) Levert. Sweat. Gill, East West, 1997.

Love & Consequences, East West, 1998.

G, Elektra/Asylum, 1999.

Geralds World, Elektra/Asylum, 2001.

With Le Vert

I Get Hot, Tempre, 1985.

Bloodline, Atlantic, 1986.

The Big Throwdown, Atlantic, 1987.

Just Coolin, Atlantic, 1988.

Rope-a-Dope, Atlantic, 1990.

For Real Tho, Atlantic, 1992.

The Whole Scenario, Atlantic, 1997.

Sources

Books

Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 22, Gale Group, 1999.

Larkin, Colin, Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Muze UK Ltd., 1998.

Periodicals

Billboard, August 6, 1994, p. 18; September 3, 1994, p. 17; September 16, 1995, p. 11; October 23, 1999, p. 33; March 25, 2000, p. 27.

Ebony, July 1999, p. 38.

Entertainment Weekly, September 18, 1998, p. 88.

Essence, November 1995, p. 58.

Jet, November 27, 1995, p. 57.

Newsweek, April 6, 1998, p. 68.

People, December 22, 1997, p. 30; August 3, 1998, p. 31.

Online

Gerald Levert, All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=1GERALDEVERT (December 6, 2001).

Brenna Sanchez

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Levert, Gerald

Gerald Levert

1966–2006

Singer, songwriter, producer

The son of one of the classic soul era's best-loved group leaders, Gerald Levert demonstrated the staying power of R&B vocal styles in an era when technologically driven musical genres such as hip-hop gradually gained ascendancy. His father was Eddie Levert, lead vocalist and organizer of the O'Jays, themselves an R&B act of unusual staying power. Levert came onto the music scene in the middle 1980s as part of the trio LeVert, and embarked on a solo career in 1991. The quality of his voice and talent as a songwriter and producer quickly established him among the "royalty" of the music industry.

Levert was born on July 13, 1966. Although his father and the rest of the O'Jays worked primarily in Philadelphia, Gerald and his siblings spent their formative years in Cleveland, Ohio. He and his brother Sean hooked up with a school friend, Marc Gordon, who sang and played keyboards. Growing up in a musical environment had its advantages. In addition to enjoying their father's encouragement, the Leverts and Gordon could perfect their music skills in the fully equipped studio that was part of the Levert household. Toward the end of their high school years the group, performing under the name LeVert, made appearances at Ohio nightclubs.

In the mid-1980s, the group landed a contract with the independent label Tempre. Despite the waning influence of small independent labels in the 1980s, LeVert's album I Get Hot and its lead single "I'm Still" gained regional popularity in the influential R&B market of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. As a result, the group came to the attention of Atlantic Records and was signed to that label. LeVert became an overnight success, hitting Number One on the R&B charts with the single "(Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind," from their Atlantic debut album, Bloodline. Observers of the music scene noticed that Levert's voice closely resembled his father's. The group, moreover, was clearly steeped in the classic soul harmonies of the O'Jays. However, the sophisticated production work on the LeVert albums gave them a contemporary style.

LeVert's second album, The Big Throwdown, was released in 1987 and sold more copies than Bloodline. The album's lead single, "Casanova," reached Number One on the R&B charts and crossed over to the pop charts. Several other singles from the album became hits, and LeVert earned even more mainstream exposure with the song "Addicted to You," from the soundtrack of the 1988 film Coming to America. "Addicted to You" also rose to Number One on the R&B charts. In 1988 LeVert released Just Coolin', which featured rapper Heavy D and included a groundbreaking R&B/hip-hop combination on its title track. They also released Rope-a-Dope Style in 1990 and For Real Tho'; in 1992. In 1997, the group released The Whole Scenario, an innovative work that included both rapping and classical orchestral instruments. Several of the LeVert albums sold 500,000 copies or more.

By the late 1980s, Levert began taking steps toward developing a solo career. Also, realizing that producers and writers were controlling the musical direction of R&B, he and Marc Gordon formed their own production company. This company, Trevel Productions, worked with such acts as Anita Baker, Men at Large, the O'Jays, and Miki Howard. The success of Trevel Productions solidified Levert's position at Atlantic and paved the way for his debut solo album, Private Line, in 1991.

Private Line was a resounding commercial success, reaching Number Two on the R&B charts. Four of the album's singles: "School Me," "Can You Handle It," "Baby Hold On To Me," and the title track were widely played on R&B radio stations in 1992. Levert, in collaboration with Tony Nicholas, wrote most of the music on the album. "Baby Hold On To Me" reached Number One on the R&B charts and featured a duet with Levert and his father, Eddie. The two also recorded an album, Father and Son, for the East West label and jointly established a national scholarship fund under the administration of 100 Black Men, a public-service organization of which Eddie Levert was an active member.

Levert appeared in the 1991 film New Jack City and continued with his own production work. In 1994, he released his second solo album Groove On. This album attempted to recreate the atmosphere of 1960s soul and included a full horn section on many of the tracks. Groove On also featured several soulful romantic ballads. The album's lead single, "I'd Give Anything," had originally been recorded as "She'd Give Anything (To Fall in Love)" by the country group Boy Howdy. "When his peers were speaking of relationships as an unnecessary evil," wrote Sonia Murray of the Atlanta Constitution, "Levert, in his big, palpable baritone, proclaimed 'I'd give anything and everything to fall in love.'" To that end, he nurtured a loveable, teddy bear-like personality and enjoyed the nickname G-bear.

By the late 1990s, Levert seemed firmly enshrined in the pantheon of classic rhythm-and-blues and soul performers. He had become an accomplished songwriter for others, as well as himself; he worked closely with Barry White on the 1994 hit "Practice What You Preach." He also collaborated as a vocalist with others. He teamed with vocalists Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill in 1997 to produce the album Levert Sweat Gill. The album included the hit "My Body," and sold more than 2 million copies. The success of the album led the trio to record another; LSG2 was released in 2003.

In the meantime, Levert maintained his solo career. In 1998, he released the solo album Love & Consequences. Like its predecessors, Love & Consequences was a commercial success and sold more than one million copies. In 1999, Levert toured with classic soul diva Patti LaBelle. He released an album each year thereafter: Gerald's World in 2001, The G Spot in 2002, and A Stroke of Genius in 2003. Romance remained a consistent theme in his music, and his soulful voice exuded his characteristic charm in each album.

But Levert changed his tune in 2004, releasing Do I Speak for the World, an album that included songs with overtly political and social themes in the mix of romantic ballads. Critics praised his efforts. "The musical mastery he learned from his father, Eddie Levert of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group the O'Jays, is evident in every song, no matter the subject," Janel Davis wrote in her review for the Memphis Flyer. The album did not mark a permanent change, however, as Voices—a duet album released in 2005—returned to Levert's romantic themes.

Levert kept up a busy schedule, writing and producing music for other artists, creating new work for himself, and touring with his father. He wrote a memoir with his father. He also worked on a reality television show in which he and a bevy of his female fans would attempt to lose weight together. The flurry of activity stopped short on November 10, 2006, when Levert succumbed to heart failure. With his death, "the music world lost one of its most passionate, powerful and potent voices," wrote Charles E. Rogers in the New York Amsterdam News.

At a Glance …

Born on July 13, 1966, in Philadelphia, PA; raised in Cleveland, OH; died on November 10, 2006, Newbury, OH; son of Eddie Levert, founder and lead vocalist of the O'Jays; children: four.

Career: Rhythm-and-blues vocalist, producer, and songwriter, 1980s–2006.

Awards: Five platinum albums with group LeVert; NAACP Image Award, 2004.

Selected discography

Albums, solo

Private Line, Atlantic, 1991.
Groove On, Atlantic, 1994.
Love & Consequences, East West, 1998.
G, East West, 1999.
Gerald's World, East West, 2001.
The G Spot, Elektra, 2002.
A Stroke of Genius, East West, 2003.
Do I Speak for the World, Atlantic, 2004.
Voices, Rhino/Atlantic, 2005.

Albums with Eddie Levert

Father and Son, East West, 1995.

Albums with LeVert

I Get Hot, Tempre, 1985.
Bloodline, Atlantic, 1986.
The Big Throwdown, Atlantic, 1987.
Just Coolin', Atlantic, 1988.
Rope-a-Dope, Atlantic, 1990.
For Real Tho', Atlantic, 1992.
The Whole Scenario, Atlantic, 1997.

Albums with LSG (Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill)

Levert Sweat Gill, East West, 1997.
LSG2, Elektra, 2003.

Books

(With Eddie Levert) I Got Your Back: Our Bond as Father and Son, Random House, 2007.

Sources

Books

Graff, Gary, Josh Freedom du Lac, and Jim McFarlin, MusicHound R&B: The Essential Album Guide, Visible Ink, 1998.

Larkin, Colin, ed., The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Muze U.K., 1998.

Romanowski, Patricia, and Holly George-Warren, The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, Fireside, 1995.

Periodicals

Billboard, August 6, 1994; p. 18; September 16, 1995, p. 11.

Jet, November 27, 2006, p. 60.

Los Angeles Times, November 11, 2006, p. B13.

Memphis Flyer, March 31-April 6, 2005, p. 33.

New York Amsterdam News, November 16-November 27, 2006, p. 6.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 11, 2006, p. B3.

Scripps Howard News Service (in Bergen County [N.J.] Record), April 2, 1999, p. 5.

Washington Post, November 11, 2006, p. B5.

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Levert, Gerald 1966–

Gerald Levert 1966

Vocalist, songwriter, producer

Signed to Atlantic Label

Launched Solo Career

Selected discography

Sources

The son of one of the classic soul eras best-loved group leaders, Gerald Levert demonstrated the staying power of R&B vocal styles in an era when technologically driven musical genres such as hiphop gradually gained ascendancy. His father was Eddie Levert, lead vocalist and organizer of the OJays, themselves an R&B act of unusual staying power. Levert came onto the music scene in the middle 1980s as part of the trio LeVert, and embarked on a solo career in 1991. By the late 1990s he was still a leading album seller and concert headliner, and although he worked widely as a producer and was keenly aware of contemporary musical trends, in his own music he kept the focus where it had always beenon the vocals.

Levert was born on July 13, 1966. Although his father and the rest of the OJays worked primarily in Philadelphia, Gerald and his siblings spent their formative years in Cleveland, Ohio. He and his brother Sean hooked up with a school friend, Marc Gordon, who sang and played keyboards. Growing up in a musical environment had its advantages. In addition to enjoying their fathers encouragement, the Leverts and Gordon could perfecttheir music skills in the fully equipped studio that was part of the Levert household. Toward the end of their high school years the group, performing under the name LeVert, made appearances at Ohio nightclubs.

Signed to Atlantic Label

In the mid-1980s, the group landed a contract with the independent label Tempre. Despite the waning influence of small independent labels in the 1980s, LeVerts album I Get Hot and its lead single Im Still gained regional popularity in the influential R&B market of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. As a result, the group came to the attention of Atlantic Records and was signed to that label. LeVert became an overnight success, hitting Number One on the R&B charts with the single (Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind, from their Atlantic debut album, Bloodline. Observers of the music scene noticed that Leverts voice closely resembled his fathers. The group, moreover, was clearly steeped in the classic soul harmonies of the OJays. However, the sophisticated production work on the LeVert albums gave them a contemporary style.

LeVerts second album, The Big Throwdown, was released in 1987 and sold more copies than Bloodline. The

At a Glance

Born July 13, 1966, in Philadelphia, PA; raised in Cleveland, OH; son of Eddie Levert, founder and lead vocalist of the OJays.

Career: Rhythm-and-blues vocalist, producer, and songwriter. With brother Sean Levert and Marc Gordon, formed group LeVert, early 1980s; with LeVert released album I Get Hot on independent Tempre label, 1985; signed to Atlantic Records, 1985; with LeVert released Bloodline, first of a series of top-selling albums, 1986; began producing albums for other artists, late 1980s; launched solo career with album Private Line, 1991; recorded and performed with Eddie Levert, 1995; with Keith Sweat and johnny Gill, released Levert Sweat Gill, 1997; released love & Consequences, 1998.

Awards: At least three gold albums with group LeVert; gold and platinum albums for solo releases.

Addresses: label East West Records, 74 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019.

albums lead single, Casanova, reached Number One on the R&B charts and crossed over to the pop charts. Several other singles from the album becamehits, and LeVert earned even more mainstream exposure with the song Addicted to You, from the soundtrack of the 1988 film Coming to America. Addicted to You also rose to Number One on the R&B charts. In 1988 LeVert released Just Coolin , which featured rapper Heavy D and included a groundbreaking R&B/hip-hop combination on its title track. They also released Rope-a-Dope Style in 1990 and For Real Tho in 1992. In 1997, the group released The Whole Scenario, an innovative work that included both rapping and classical orchestral instruments. Several of the LeVert albums sold 500, 000 copies or more.

Launched Solo Career

By the late 1980s, Levert began taking steps toward developing a solo career. Also, realizing that producers and writers were controlling the musical direction of R&B, he and Marc Gordon formed their own production company. This company, Trevel Productions, worked with such acts as Anita Baker, Men at Large, the OJays, and Miki Howard. The success of Trevel Productions solidified Leverts position at Atlantic and paved the way for his debut solo album, Private Line, in 1991.

Private Line was aresounding commercial success, reaching Number Two on the R&B charts. Four of the albums singles: School Me, Can You Handle It, Baby Hold On To Me, and the title track were widely played on R&B radio stations in 1992. Levert, incollaboration with Tony Nicholas, wrote most of the music on the album. Baby Hold On To Me reached Number One on the R&B charts and featured a duet with Levert and his father, Eddie. The two also recorded an album, Father and Son, for the East West label and jointly established a national scholarship fund under the administration of 100 Black Men, a public-service organization in which Eddie Levert was an active member.

Levert appeared in the 1991 film New Jack City and continued with his own production work. In 1994, he released his second solo album Groove On. This album attempted to recreate the atmosphere of 1960s soul and included a full horn section on many of the tracks. Grooue On also featured several soulful romantic ballads. The albums lead single, Id Give Anything, had originally been recorded as Shed Give Anything (To Fall in Love) by the country group Boy Howdy. When his peers were speaking of relationships as an unnecessary evil, wrote Sonia Murray of the Atlanta Constitution, Levert, in his big, palpable baritone, proclaimed Id give anything and everything to fall in love..

By the late 1990s, Levert seemed firmly enshrined in the pantheon of classic rhythm-and-blues and soul performers . He teamed with vocalists Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill in 1997 to produce the album Levert Sweat Gill In 1998, he released the solo album Love & Consequences. Like its predecessors, Love & Consequences was a commercial success and sold more than one million copies. In 1999, Levert toured with classic soul diva Patti LaBelle.

Selected discography

(with group LeVert)

I Get Hot, Tempre, 1985.

Bloodline, Atlantic, 1986.

The Big Throwdown, Atlantic, 1987.

Just Coolin, Atlantic, 1988.

Rope-a-Dope, Atlantic, 1990.

For Real Tho, Atlantic, 1992.

The Whole Scenario, Atlantic, 1997.

(solo albums)

Private Line, Atlantic, 1991.

Grooue On, Atlantic, 1994.

Love & Consequences, East West, 1998.

(with Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill)

Levert Sweat Gill, East West, 1997.

(with Eddie Levert)

Father and Son, East West, 1995

Sources

Books

Graff, Gary, Josh Freedom du Lac, and Jim McFarlin, Music Hound R&B: TheEssentialAlbum Guide, Visible Ink, 1998.

Larkin, Colin, ed., The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Muze U.K., 1998.

Romanowski, Patricia, and Holly George-Warren, The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, Fireside, 1995.

Periodicals

Billboard, August 6, 1994; p. 18; September 16, 1995, p. 11.

Scripps Howard News Service (in Bergen County [N.J.] Record), April 2, 1999, p. 5.

James M. Manheim

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"Levert, Gerald 1966–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Levert, Gerald 1966–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/levert-gerald-1966

"Levert, Gerald 1966–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/levert-gerald-1966