|Birth name||Keith Douglas Sweat|
July 22, 1961|
Harlem, New York City, New York, U.S.
Keith Sweat was born in Harlem, New York to Juanita Thompson, a hairdresser, and Charles Sweat (died 1973), a factory worker. Juanita raised their five children alone after Charles Sweat's death. He worked as a night stock boy at Macy's and then a mailroom clerk at Paine Webber. In just four years he worked his way up to a lucrative brokerage assistant job on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Sweat worked for the commodities market in the New York Mercantile Exchange. Sweat sang at nightclubs throughout New York City until he was discovered and offered a recording contract with Elektra Records in 1987.
1975–84: Career beginnings with Jamilah
Sweat started his musical career as a member of a Harlem band called Jamilah in 1975. With the help of Jamilah, Sweat was able to hone his craft as a lead singer by performing regionally throughout the tri-State area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The group was started by bassist Larry Peoples, guitarist Michael Samuels, and drummer Walter Bradley. Additional members of the group included Peter DaCosta (vocals), Joseph McGeachy (sax), Dwight Banks (trumpet), and Kenneth Varner (keyboards).
After leaving the group in 1984 to begin a solo career, he sang at nightclubs throughout New York City and landed a chance to record for the independent label, Stadium Records. Sweat recorded only one tune for Stadium called "My Mind Is Made Up", which was their third ever release, but on Stadium's first release, he is credited as co-writer and co-producer of "You Are The One For Me", the last recording ever made by the group GQ. One of GQ's original members is his uncle, Keith "Sabu" Crier.
1987–93: Make It Last Forever, I'll Give All My Love to You and Keep It Comin
Later in 1987, Keith Sweat was discovered by Vincent Davis and offered a recording contract with his label, Vintertainment Records, which was founded in 1983 on the foundations of early Hip-Hop and otherwise best known for releasing Joeski Love's "Pee Wee Dance" in 1985. Vintertainment was distributed by Elektra Records from 1985 until it ceased operations in 1990, in which case Elektra opted to buy Keith's contract outright and have him record directly for the label.. On November 25, 1987, Sweat released his debut solo studio album Make It Last Forever, which sold three million copies. The biggest hit from this album was the song that inaugurated the new jack swing era "I Want Her" (#1 R&B/#5 Pop), which was nominated for the 1989 Soul Train Best R&B/Urban Contemporary Song of the Year award, while the title track from the album hit #2 on the R&B charts. Sweat reached the charts again with his second album I'll Give All My Love to You (1990) which hit #6 on the Billboard 200 chart. He released his third album, Keep It Comin' in 1991, which debuted in the top 20 of the album chart. Sweat then moved from New York to Atlanta, where he founded the Keia Records label that would feature Silk & Kut Klose.
1994–2001: Get Up on It, Keith Sweat, Still in the Game and Didn't See Me Coming
In 1992, Sweat discovered the group Silk, and helped craft their debut album, Lose Control, which hit #7 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The album's single "Freak Me" hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on May 1, 1993. In 1993, Sweat discovered the Atlanta-based female R&B group Kut Klose. Sweat also produced the group's debut album Surrender, which produced their biggest hit single "I Like", peaking to #8 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
Sweat released his fourth album Get Up on It in the summer of 1994, and his self-titled fifth album in 1996. Both albums reached the top ten on the Billboard 200. The single co/produced and written by Eric McCaine "Twisted" featuring R&B group Kut Klose hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and "Nobody" hit #3, which made them Sweat's biggest hits to date. The song "Just A Touch", with Traci Hale providing background vocals, has earned a regular spot on radio playlists. "Just A Touch" was a cover of the 1979 song "Just a Touch of Love" by Slave. In the fall of 1997, Sweat discovered the group Ol' Skool and helped with their self-titled debut. He was on their biggest single, "Am I Dreaming," which featured R&B group Xscape. Sweat also formed the R&B supergroup LSG with Gerald Levert and Johnny Gill, and released their self-titled debut Levert.Sweat.Gill in 1997. That album featured "My Body", which became a hit single. The album was certified double platinum and reached #4 on the U.S. Billboard 200.
Sweat's sixth album, Still in the Game was released in 1998, hitting #6 on the Billboard 200, and #2 on the R&B/Hip Hop albums chart. It featured the singles "Come and Get With Me" (which featured Snoop Dogg) (#12 Hot 100) and "I'm Not Ready" (#16 Hot 100). Sweat's success on the charts started to diminish in 2000, when he released the album Didn't See Me Coming. None of the singles from the album reached the top forty. They were moderate hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
2002–present: Rebirth, Just Me, Ridin Solo and Til the Morning
On August 13, 2002, Keith Sweat released his eighth album, Rebirth. The single "One on One" reached #75 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #44 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. His 2008 album Just Me fared better with its first single, "Love U Better (featuring Keyshia Cole)" being played on Urban radio stations for about a year before the album's release. Sweat is currently signed to Kedar Records and released his tenth studio album entitled Ridin' Solo on June 22, 2010. The lead single taken from the album is "Test Drive" and featured label-mate Joe. Since 2007, Sweat has been the host of a nationally syndicated radio program based upon the Quiet storm format. The Keith Sweat Hotel (known as The Quiet Storm with Keith Sweat on WBLS in New York City) is syndicated through Premiere Radio Networks.
He has three sons and two daughters. He named his record label, Keia Entertainment, after his younger daughter. From 1992 until 2002, he was married to The Real Housewives of Atlanta co-star Lisa Wu Hartwell. With her, he had two sons, Jordan (b. 1995) and Justin (b. 1998).
- Make It Last Forever (1987)
- I'll Give All My Love to You (1990)
- Keep It Comin' (1991)
- Get Up on It (1994)
- Keith Sweat (1996)
- Still in the Game (1998)
- Didn't See Me Coming (2000)
- Rebirth (2002)
- Just Me (2008)
- Ridin' Solo (2010)
- Til the Morning (2011)
- Dress to Impress (2016)
Awards and nominations
- American Music Awards
- 1991, Favorite R&B/Soul Male Artist (Nominated)
- 1997, Favorite Male R&B/Soul Artist (Winner)
- 1997, Favorite R&B/Soul Album: Keith Sweat (Nominated)
- 1998, Favorite Male R&B/Soul Artist (Nominated)
- 2013, Soultrain Lifetime Achievement Award
- "Keith Sweat". Facebook. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
- People Weekly, September 26, 1988, p. 115
- People Weekly January 27, 1997, p. 69.
- David Hinckley (October 1, 2013). "Keith 'Sabu' Crier, bass player for disco group GQ, dead at 58". Daily News.
- "Ridin' Solo: Keith Sweat: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
- "Premiere Radio Networks - Home". Premiereradio.com. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
- "CBSi". FindArticles.com. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
- "Real Housewives of Atlanta: Ed and Lisa Wu Hartwell". Essence.com.
- "Real Housewives of Atlanta: Ed and Lisa Wu Hartwell". Essence.com.
- "Real Housewives of Atlanta: Ed and Lisa Wu Hartwell". Essence.com. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
- "Real Housewives of Atlanta: Ed and Lisa Wu Hartwell". Essence.com. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
- Official website
- Keith Sweat artist page at VH1.com
- Keith Sweat artist page at AllMusic
- Keith Sweat at the Internet Movie Database
- Keith Sweat's 'SoulRnB.com' group (videos, photos, discussions, etc.) (French)
- Keith Sweat 2010 Audio Interview at Soulinterviews.com