SHALAMAR: HOWARD HEWETT
Ex-Shalamar vocalist who launched his own gospel and slow-jam heavy solo career in 1986.
On October 1, 1955, was born Howard Hewett; ex-Shalamar vocalist who launched his own gospel and slow-jam heavy solo career in 1986.
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. 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. 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.
Shalamar was a popular vocal group from the early days of disco, assembled from the cast of SOUL TRAIN.
Shalamar was the creation of Dick Griffey, the booking agent for the television R&B program Soul Train, and British R&B producer Simon Soussan. The group's first single, the 1977 Motown medley "Uptown Festival," featured a bevy of faceless studio musicians; once it became a hit, Griffey decided to form a performing group under the name Shalamar. Through Soul Train, Griffey found Jody Watley, Jeffrey Daniels, and Gerald Brown, the three vocalists that became Shalamar; Brown was quickly replaced by Howard Hewitt in 1978.
Shalamar's string of poppy dance-soul hits began in 1979 with "Take That to the Bank"; later that year, "The Second Time Around" hit the Top Ten. Throughout the early '80s the group were favorites on the U.S. R&B scene, as well as scoring a number of British hit singles. Watley and Daniels left the group in 1982 and were replaced by Delisa Davis and Micki Free in 1984; Watley went on to stardom as a solo act. The following year Shalamar won a Grammy award for "Don't Get Stopped in Beverly Hills," which was featured in Beverly Hills Cop. Hewitt left for a solo career in 1986, signaling the end of the band's career as hit-makers. Sidney Justin replaced Hewitt and the group recorded 1987's Circumstantial Evidence, which was a commercial disappointment. The group faded away soon after the release of 1990's Wake Up.
"Honor the past, don't just remember it." Dizzie Gillespie
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