With his silky smooth, straight-from-the-heart soulful style, Howard Hewett is gifted with one of the most instantly recognizable voices in contemporary music. A writer for Rolling Stone magazine once described him as “the premier vocalist in the post-Marvin Gaye era of romantic pop.”
He began his career as a pre-teen singing gospel music in Akron, Ohio
with his older sisters as the lead singer of The Hewett Singers. Hewett’s Mother, Charlena Hewett-Brown, was a major Gospel Promoter in the Akron-Canton area. Nepotism was alive and well in Hewett’s family, so once the group was formed they would open for all the shows his mother promoted, which included performing with Gospel greats such as the Pilgrim Jubilees, James Cleveland, Albertina Walker and the Caravans, Bill Moss and The Celestials, and on and on! At 15, Hewett moved into the R&B field, forming local groups around the Akron area and ending up with a 7 piece funk band called LYFE! Band and Show! He stayed with the band through High School, then set his sights on Los Angeles, CA., finally relocating there in 1976.
Not long after arriving in LA, he was introduced to John and Alonzo Daniels. The Daniels brothers owned a legendary establishment in the Crenshaw District of South Central LA called Mavericks Flat. Open every weekend, Mavericks was one of the hot spots of the Los Angeles nightlife. It was frequented by celebrities like Chaka Kahn, Richard Pryor, Lionel Richie, and members of Earth, Wind and Fire! All the dancers from the hit TV show, Soul Train, would come to Mavericks to work out new dance moves that they would try at the next taping of the show. But during the week, Mavericks was a thriving production company that formed and developed musical show groups, sending them overseas to tour in foreign countries. Along with Daniels, Hewett formed a group called “Beverly Hills”. “Beverly Hills” was a top 40 show group consisting of five vocalists, three females and two males. Their repertoire covered everything from “Disco Inferno” to “Mandy”. In December of 1977, after a year of rehearsing, hiring and firing people and occasionally using Mavericks on the weekends to try out new ideas in forming their show, Beverly Hills was ready to tour! Helsinki, Finland was the first country that kicked off what would end up being 18 months of performances from Europe to the UK, Scandinavia and throughout Asia. “It was the perfect way for me to develop my craft” Hewett says, “I learned how to communicate and entertain audiences that the majority of the time didn’t even speak English. It was all about communication, developing your persona on stage and the music! It was an amazing time for me”. Toward the middle of 1979, after a year and a half overseas, Hewett returned to the states. Due to misunderstandings and bad management, “Beverly Hills” decided to call it quits.
Hewett started doing session work around LA until the end of ‘79 when he got a phone call and was offered an opportunity to join a group called Shalamar. The
group had formed while Hewett was touring overseas. They had a single on the charts at the time called “Take That To The Bank” and were currently on a nationwide promotional tour on the East Coast, when their lead singer, Gerald Brown, decided to leave the group. Remembering Hewett from his performances at Mavericks, Jefferey Danial decided to track him down back in LA to offer him the lead singer position of the group. The offer was made on a Friday…Saturday morning Hewett did an audition for Dick Griffey, the owner of SOLAR Records…that night he was on a red-eye flight to New Jersey were he joined his two new band mates, Jeffrey Danial and Jody Watley. Sunday they rehearsed the lip synch and choreography to “Take That To The Bank”, and Monday he found himself in front of a TV camera filming a local dance show in Patterson NJ. This was the start of Hewett’s recording career. Shalamar went on to enjoy success with hits like “Second Time Around”, “Make That Move”; “A Night to Remember”; “Dead Giveaway”; and the now-classic, “This Is For the Lover in You.” Their success on Solar Records made them one of the most popular international groups of the ‘80s.
In 1986, Hewett launched his solo career, scoring an immediate R&B hit with “I’m For Real” (which was co-written by Stanley Clarke, and featured such stellar musicians as George Duke and Wilton Felder of the Jazz Crusaders); followed by “Stay”, “I Commit to Love” and the contemporary gospel classic, “Say Amen.” Other solo hits include “Show Me”, “Once, Twice, Three Times”, “I Can’t Tell You Why” a remarkable cover of the legendary group The Eagles. He has recorded duets with legendary leading ladies of music such as, Anita Baker, Dionne Warwick, Brenda Russell and Stacey Lattisaw. He’s collaborated with artists like George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Kenny Loggins, Gerald Albright and the list goes on. Hewett has recorded on numerous movie soundtracks including the multi- platinum “Footloose” soundtrack and the first “Beverly Hills Cop” soundtrack, which landed him a Grammy for his composition, “Don’t Get Stopped in Beverly Hills”.
With 16 albums recorded, countless collaborations and over 15 million records sold throughout the world, Hewett remains a viable and legendary force in the music business. He continues to enjoy his first love, performing and entertaining for his countless fans and “Followers of the Music” domestically and worldwide.
“Music is a loving and spiritual journey that we’ve been on together for many years” Hewett says, “ and there’s still so much more to explore…continue this journey with me, you won’t be disappointed…I promise…God bless”