Keith Sweat has held it down in new jack swing, soul and R&B for 30 years now. Learn more about the influential singer and songwriter below.
Keith Sweat will perform at the City National Grove of Anaheim on May 5. Take a look at ticket information here.
His mom inspired the title track from Make It Last Forever
Sweat released his debut album Make It Last Forever 30 years ago in 1987, and the album’s title track remains a classic slow-burning duet with Jacci McGhee. The song helped launch the R&B singer’s career, and it also held a deeper meaning for him. Speaking with Billboard, the singer said his mother inspired the song. “I wanted the best for her in this life and I was able to give her that with this song.”
He met Teddy Riley during a New York City battle of the bands contest
Influential producer Teddy Riley produced Make It Last Forever, and Sweat and Riley met through competition. At the beginning of his career, Sweat was part of a group called Jamilah while Riley was a keyboardist in a band called Total Climax. Jamilah and Total Climax competed in the Big Apple Band Contest which Total Climax won. After hearing Riley’s production for Doug E. Fresh and Classical Two, Sweat showed up on Riley’s block during a dice game, and after Sweat had won everyone’s money (except for Riley’s), the two began working together on Make It Last Forever.
He was a stockbroker before pursuing music
Not many stockbrokers make the jump from trading to making music, but Keith Sweat successfully navigated that terrain. The singer worked as a supervisor on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and used his income to record demos.
He helped popularize the new jack swing genre in the ‘80s and ‘90s
It’s crazy to remember how big new jack swing was when it first hit the scene. A mixture of ‘80s rap production with R&B, the genre took the country by storm, with artists like Bobby Brown, Bel Biv Devoe, Al B. Sure, Boyz II Men all contributing to the fledgling movement. Along with Terry Riley--the father of new jack swing--Sweat helped usher the genre into the spotlight. Sweat’s breakout single “I Want Her” reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Make It Last Forever is still one of Keith Sweat’s best-selling records to date.
He hosts his own festival in Jamaica, the appropriately-titled SweatFest
And Keith Sweat has also dipped into the festival market with his SweatFest. The grown and sexy event takes place on Montego Bay and features some of Keith Sweat’s friends and contemporaries. The first one took place in 2015 and featured a black tie comedy roast, and appearances from Sisqo, 112, and Teddy Riley.
Keith Sweat is coming to the City National Grove of Anaheim on May 5. Check out ticket information here.