Skip to main content

Lattimore, Kenny 1970(?)–

Kenny Lattimore 1970(?)

Vocalist

Performed Hit at Talent Show

Lived off Credit Cards

Covered Donny Hathaway Song

Selected discography

Sources

Romantic soul vocals enjoyed a golden age in the 1970s, with the ascent of artists such as Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder. All three of those singers influenced the style of Kenny Lattimore, who joined a host of other neo-soul vocalists in the late 1990s and seemed to cement a second golden age for R&B recordings that celebrated romance and laid bare its complex emotionsforming quite a contrast with the sexualized hip-hop lyrics with which artists like Lattimore competed for radio airplay. Lattimore enjoyed a growing following for his live concerts, and by release of his third album, Weekend (2002), his career seemed well established.

A native of Washington, D.C., Lattimore was born around 1970. He was one of seven children in a churchgoing and musically active family. His mother Sonya Ryan, who died in 1988, was a counselor at Washingtons Howard University. Lattimores strong relationship with his mother, he told the Chicago Sun-Times, influenced the outlooks he later communicated in his music; he was shaped by watching a strong black woman rear me and have a career, and just be sharp. My mom was sharp.

Performed Hit at Talent Show

Musically Lattimore grew up hearing the classic soul and R&B of Hathaway, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Chaka Khan. Even by age five, he was quoted as saying on the RollingStone.com website, he had mastered the Stylistics Stone in Love with You: I loved that song! I sang it for anyone who would listen. Lattimore sang in church and at neighborhood gatherings, and his family backed him up by providing singing lessons. A premonition of things to come was seen at a junior high school talent show, where Lattimore excelled in a performance of Watching You, a hit for the group Slave.

Lattimore took music classes in high school, studying the classics and learning to read musical notation. When he enrolled at Howard, he made plans to study architecture and urban planning. But it didnt take long for him to be drawn back into music; before his freshman year was out, he had joined a group called Maniquin. His talents propelled Maniquin to a contract with the major Epic label in 1987, and the groups flash of success put an end to Lattimores college education. Maniquins debut album was released in 1989, but garnered little attention.

That was a shock to Lattimore and the groups other members, who had been expecting stardom but instead wound up performing in a dispiriting series of opening-act gigs, family reunions, and small nightclubsthe modern-day equivalent of the old chitlin circuit. It was in these venues, however, that Lattimore cut his teeth as a performer and learned to hold a reluctant audiences attention. Maniquin broke up in 1990, but Lattimore didnt give up on the music business. Cultivating his songwriting talents (most of the material on his successful solo albums is self-composed), he landed songs on albums by vocalists Glenn Jones and Jon Lucien. Singing on demonstration recordings in the Washington area, he gained contacts in the music world.

At a Glance

Born ca. 1970 in Washington, D.C.; mother Sonya Ryan a counselor at Howard University; married singer Chante Moore, 2002. Education: Attended Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Career: Joined group Maniquin while a freshman at Howard University; group signed to Epic label, 1987; one unsuccessful album released; worked as songwriter, signed to Sony Music Publishing, early 1990s; signed to Columbia as solo artist, 1995; released debut, Kenny Lattimore, 1996; released From the Soul of Man, 1999; moved to Arista label; released Week-end, 2001.

Awards: NAACP Image Award, best new artist, 1997; gold record for Kenny Lattimore.

Addresses: Label Arista Records, 6 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

Lived off Credit Cards

In 1993 Lattimore moved to New York City and decided to devote himself to a career as a solo artist. Supporting himself for a time by accumulating credit-card debt, Lattimore applied himself once more to his songwriting. An appearance at a gathering of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus helped pay the bills. Before emerging as a solo star Lattimore was signed as a songwriter to the Sony conglomerates publishing arm. Once again he found demo work, this time with hot producer Jay Dibbs. Lattimores diverse musical abilitieson his first album he would arrange and perform all the background vocals as well as serving as co-producerset him apart from the crowd of talented young vocalists. He was signed to the Columbia label in 1995 and released his solo debut, Kenny Lattimore, in April of 1996. About half the tracks were composed by Lattimore himself.

From the beginning, the label tried to capitalize on Lattimores good looks, staging a promotional event exclusively for female reporters before focusing on males with its PR efforts. But Lattimores appearance was timed well among listeners of both genders; the year 1996 marked the beginning of a resurgence of traditional R&B vocals (albeit mixed with hip-hop production techniques such as digital sampling) as a counterweight to the hip-hop domination of radio airwaves. Such artists as DAngelo and Lattimores friend Maxwell were beginning to experience success. I have an appreciation for hip-hop and what its about, but thats not the life I live. Im more into listening to the music my parents listened to.

The album did well from the start, landing on Billboard magazines Heatseekers chart and garnering radio airplay for its first two singles, Never Too Busy and Just What It Takes. But it was the third single, the romantic For You, that cemented Lattimores star status. Now people are listening, Lattimore told the Chicago Sun-Times. And fan mail is [saying], I feel youre giving me hope I feel that this is cool. In addition to radio airplay, the song was heard by countless wedding guests over the next several years.

Covered Donny Hathaway Song

Lattimore won an award as outstanding new artist at the NAACP Image Awards ceremony in 1997. He immediately began work on his sophomore release, and From the Soul of Man was released early in 1999. In several places the album did indeed reach back to Lattimores parents era for material; it turned the Beatless While My Guitar Gently Weeps into a lush romantic lament and included what Essence termed a buttery remake of Donny Hathaways I Love You More Than Youll Ever Know. But the heart of the album once again resided in self-composed romantic pieces.

I decided to dig a little deeper, to talk more about my personal experiences as well as experiences of other men I know personally, Lattimore told Billboard. Songs such as If I Lose My Woman inspired the Washington Post to evaluate the album as a masterfully adult exploration of modern romantic relationships, Days Like This skillfully fused tense romantic lyrics with dance rhythms congenial to a remix by the production crew Masters at Work.

Lattimore moved from Columbia to the Arista label in 2001, and, he told Billboard, I took it as an opportunity to clean house altogether. I wanted to bring in an entirely new teamfrom management to producers. By that time, the so-called neo-soul movement had matured as a style; Lattimore had numerous producers to choose from, and his third album Weekend, released late that year, made use of a varied production group that included the Philadelphia-based team A Touch of Jazz, Troy Taylor, and Raphael Saadiq.

The album included more uptempo tracks in comparison with Lattimores earlier work. I wanted to make a fun, straight-up R&B album, the singer told Billboard. In February of 2002, Lattimore married vocalist Chante Moore in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Selected discography

Kenny Lattimore, Columbia, 1996.

From the Soul of Man, Columbia, 1999.

Weekend, Arista, 2001.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, March 23, 1996, p. 21; May 10, 1997, p. 9; August 8, 1998, p. 23; September 1, 2001, p. 25.

Chicago Sun-Times, April 4, 1997, p. Weekend-4.

Entertainment Weekly, May 17, 1996, p. 62.

Essence, February 1999, p. 72; January 2002, p. 48.

Jet, February 4, 2002, p. 56.

New York Times, November 23, 1998, p. E5.

Village Voice, December 1, 1998, p. 69.

Washington Post, January 27, 1999, p. C5.

On-line

All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com

http://music.lycos.com

Rolling Stone, http://rollingstone.com

http://www.sonymusic.com

James M. Manheim

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Lattimore, Kenny 1970(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Lattimore, Kenny 1970(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/lattimore-kenny-1970

"Lattimore, Kenny 1970(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved April 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/lattimore-kenny-1970

Lattimore, Kenny

Kenny Lattimore

Singer

Romantic soul vocals enjoyed a golden age in the 1970s, with the ascent of artists such as Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder. All three of those singers influenced the style of Kenny Lattimore, who joined a host of other neo-soul vocalists in the late 1990s and seemed to cement a second golden age for R&B recordings that celebrated romance and laid bare its complex emotions—forming quite a contrast with the sexualized hip-hop lyrics with which artists like Lattimore competed for radio airplay. Lattimore enjoyed a growing following for his live concerts, and by release of his third album, Weekend (2002), his career seemed well established.

A native of Washington, D.C., Lattimore was born around 1970. He was one of seven children in a churchgoing and musically active family. His mother Sonya Ryan, who died in 1988, was a counselor at Washington's Howard University. Lattimore's strong relationship with his mother, he told the Chicago Sun-Times, influenced the outlooks he later communicated in his music; he was shaped by "watching a strong black woman rear me and have a career, and just be sharp. My mom was sharp."

Performed Hit at Talent Show

Musically Lattimore grew up hearing the classic soul and R&B of Hathaway, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Chaka Khan. Even by age five, he was quoted as saying on the RollingStone.com website, he had mastered the Stylistics' "Stone in Love with You:" "I loved that song! I sang it for anyone who would listen." Lattimore sang in church and at neighborhood gatherings, and his family backed him up by providing singing lessons. A premonition of things to come was seen at a junior high school talent show, where Lattimore excelled in a performance of "Watching You," a hit for the group Slave.

Lattimore took music classes in high school, studying the classics and learning to read musical notation. When he enrolled at Howard, he made plans to study architecture and urban planning. But it didn't take long for him to be drawn back into music; before his freshman year was out, he had joined a group called Maniquin. His talents propelled Maniquin to a contract with the major Epic label in 1987, and the group's flash of success put an end to Lattimore's college education. Maniquin's debut album was released in 1989, but garnered little attention.

That was a shock to Lattimore and the group's other members, who had been expecting stardom but instead wound up performing in a dispiriting series of opening-act gigs, family reunions, and small night-clubs—the modern-day equivalent of the old "chitlin' circuit." It was in these venues, however, that Lattimore cut his teeth as a performer and learned to hold a reluctant audience's attention. Maniquin broke up in 1990, but Lattimore didn't give up on the music business. Cultivating his songwriting talents (most of the material on his successful solo albums is self-composed), he landed songs on albums by vocalists Glenn Jones and Jon Lucien. Singing on demonstration recordings in the Washington area, he gained contacts in the music world.

Lived off Credit Cards

In 1993 Lattimore moved to New York City and decided to devote himself to a career as a solo artist. Supporting himself for a time by accumulating credit-card debt, Lattimore applied himself once more to his songwriting. An appearance at a gathering of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus helped pay the bills. Before emerging as a solo star Lattimore was signed as a songwriter to the Sony conglomerate's publishing arm. Once again he found demo work, this time with hot producer Jay Dibbs. Lattimore's diverse musical abilities—on his first album he would arrange and perform all the background vocals as well as serving as co-producer—set him apart from the crowd of talented young vocalists. He was signed to the Columbia label in 1995 and released his solo debut, Kenny Lattimore, in April of 1996. About half the tracks were composed by Lattimore himself.

From the beginning, the label tried to capitalize on Lattimore's good looks, staging a promotional event exclusively for female reporters before focusing on males with its PR efforts. But Lattimore's appearance was timed well among listeners of both genders; the year 1996 marked the beginning of a resurgence of traditional R&B vocals (albeit mixed with hip-hop production techniques such as digital sampling) as a counterweight to the hip-hop domination of radio airwaves. Such artists as D'Angelo and Lattimore's friend Maxwell were beginning to experience success. "I have an appreciation for hip-hop and what it's about, but that's not the life I live. I'm more into listening to the music my parents listened to."

The album did well from the start, landing on Billboard magazine's Heatseekers chart and garnering radio air-play for its first two singles, "Never Too Busy" and "Just What It Takes." But it was the third single, the romantic "For You," that cemented Lattimore's star status. "Now people are listening," Lattimore told the Chicago Sun-Times. In addition to radio airplay, the song was heard by countless wedding guests over the next several years.

Covered Donny Hathaway Song

Lattimore won an award as outstanding new artist at the NAACP Image Awards ceremony in 1997. He immediately began work on his sophomore release, and From the Soul of Man was released early in 1999. In several places the album did indeed reach back to Lattimore's parents' era for material; it turned the Beatles's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" into a lush romantic lament and included what Essence termed a "buttery" remake of Donny Hathaway's "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know." But the heart of the album once again resided in self-composed romantic pieces.

"I decided to dig a little deeper, to talk more about my personal experiences as well as experiences of other men I know personally," Lattimore told Billboard. Songs such as "If I Lose My Woman" inspired the Washington Post to evaluate the album as "a masterfully adult exploration of modern romantic relationships," "Days Like This" skillfully fused tense romantic lyrics with dance rhythms congenial to a remix by the production crew Masters at Work.

For the Record …

Born c. 1970 in Washington, D.C.; son of Sonya Ryan (a counselor at Howard University); married Chanté Moore (a singer), 2002 Education: Attended Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Joined group Maniquin while a freshman at Howard University; group signed to Epic label, 1987; one unsuccessful album released; worked as songwriter, signed to Sony Music Publishing, early 1990s; signed to Columbia as solo artist, 1995; released debut, Kenny Lattimore, 1996; released From the Soul of Man, 1999; moved to Arista label; released Weekend, 2001; with Chanté Moore, released Things That Lovers Do, 2003.

Awards: NAACP Image Award, Best New Artist, 1997.

Addresses: Record company—Arista Records, 6 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019, website: http://www.arista.com. Website—Kenny Lattimore Official Website: http://www.kennylattimore.com.

Lattimore moved from Columbia to the Arista label in 2001, and, he told Billboard, "I took it as an opportunity to clean house altogether. I wanted to bring in an entirely new team—from management to producers." By that time, the so-called neo-soul movement had matured as a style; Lattimore had numerous producers to choose from, and his third album Weekend, released late that year, made use of a varied production group that included the Philadelphia-based team A Touch of Jazz, Troy Taylor, and Raphael Saadiq.

The album included more uptempo tracks in comparison with Lattimore's earlier work. "I wanted to make a fun, straight-up R&B album," the singer told Billboard. In February of 2002, Lattimore married vocalist Chanté Moore in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The couple collaborated on an album, Things That Lovers Do, released by Arista in 2003, one year after their wedding. Things That Lovers Do featured covers of songs by artists including Marvin Gaye ("You're All I Need to Get By") and Lionel Richie ("Still"), as well as two new songs. People magazine reviewer Chuck Arnold called the collection "a perfect musical marriage ... Lattimore and Moore seem born to sing together."

Selected discography

Kenny Lattimore, Columbia, 1996.

From the Soul of Man, Columbia, 1999.

Weekend, Arista, 2001.

(With Chanté Moore) Things That Lovers Do, Arista, 2003.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, March 23, 1996, p. 21; May 10, 1997, p. 9; August 8, 1998, p. 23; September 1, 2001, p. 25.

Chicago Sun-Times, April 4, 1997, p. Weekend-4.

Entertainment Weekly, May 17, 1996, p. 62.

Essence, February 1999, p. 72; January 2002, p. 48.

Jet, February 4, 2002, p. 56; February 24, 2004.

New York Times, November 23, 1998, p. E5.

People, February 17, 2003.

Village Voice, December 1, 1998, p. 69.

Washington Post, January 27, 1999, p. C5.

Online

"Kenny Lattimore," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (November 23, 2004).

Kenny Lattimore Official Website, http://www.kennylattimore.com (November 24, 2004).

—James M. Manheim

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Lattimore, Kenny." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Lattimore, Kenny." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/lattimore-kenny

"Lattimore, Kenny." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved April 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/lattimore-kenny