Keith Sweat is an American singer, songwriter and record producer who is best known for his distinctive style of R&B music. He rose to fame in the late 1980s with hits like “I Want Her”, “Make It Last Forever” and “Twisted”. He has sold over 25 million records worldwide and has been nominated for several awards, including a Grammy.
In this blog post, I will explore the career and legacy of Keith Sweat, and how he influenced the genre of R&B and the music industry as a whole. I will also share some of my personal favorite songs and albums by him, and why I think he is one of the greatest R&B artists of all time.
Keith Sweat was born in Harlem, New York, on July 22, 1961. He grew up in a musical family, as his father was a factory worker who also sang in a band. Keith started singing at an early age, and joined a local group called Jamilah in 1975. He later became the lead singer of the group, and performed at various venues in New York City.
In 1984, Keith left Jamilah and pursued a solo career. He recorded a demo tape and sent it to various record labels, hoping to get a deal. He eventually caught the attention of Vincent Davis, who signed him to his independent label, Stadium Records. Keith released his debut single, “Lucky Seven”, in 1985, which was a moderate success.
However, it was his second single, “I Want Her”, that catapulted him to stardom. The song was released in 1987, and became a huge hit on the R&B charts, reaching number one. It also crossed over to the pop charts, peaking at number five. The song was praised for its catchy hook, smooth vocals and innovative use of drum machines and synthesizers. It also introduced the term “new jack swing”, which described the fusion of R&B, hip hop and pop elements that Keith and other artists like Teddy Riley, Bobby Brown and Guy popularized.
Keith followed up his breakthrough hit with his debut album, Make It Last Forever, which was released in November 1987. The album was a smash success, selling over three million copies in the US and spawning four more singles: “Something Just Ain’t Right”, “Don’t Stop Your Love”, “How Deep Is Your Love” and the title track, which featured Jacci McGhee. The album showcased Keith’s talent as a singer and songwriter, as well as his ability to create romantic and sensual ballads that appealed to both male and female audiences.
Keith continued his winning streak with his second album, I’ll Give All My Love to You, which was released in June 1990. The album was another multi-platinum seller, and featured hits like “Make You Sweat”, “Merry Go Round”, “I’ll Give All My Love to You” and “Your Love Part II”, which featured Gerald Levert. The album also included a cover of The Dramatics’ “In the Rain”, which became one of Keith’s signature songs.
In 1991, Keith formed a supergroup called LSG with fellow R&B stars Gerald Levert and Johnny Gill. The trio released their debut album, Levert.Sweat.Gill, in 1997, which sold over two million copies and spawned the hit single “My Body”. The group also released a second album, LSG2, in 2003.
Keith also launched his own record label, Keia Records, in 1992, which gave him more creative control over his music. He released his third solo album, Keep It Comin’, in November 1991, which featured the hit single “Keep It Comin'”. He followed it with Get Up on It in July 1994,
which included the duet “Nobody” with Athena Cage. The song became one of Keith’s biggest hits,
reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the R&B charts.