Despite the tragedy of losing two of his talented sons, R&B legend Eddie Levert continues to find healing in the music.
This year, the O’Jays lead singer steps out on his own for the first time, releasing “Eddie Levert: I Still Have It.” The first single is the aptly titled “I’m Still Standing” released via iTunes.
“This album is an extension of me as an entertainer,” Levert says. “With all my years in this business, I still love performing. This is my first solo album and I am so excited to share this with my fans.”
But no worries, O’Jays fans. Levert is also recording with the O’Jays for an upcoming CD. Either way you slice it, solo or with his group, Levert is one of our living legends. Read on for more about our latest In-Studio Jam artist.
BORN: Edward Levert in Bessemer, Alabama
BIG BREAK: Moving from Alabama to Canton, OH and going to high school with future O’Jays members Walter Williams, William Powell, Bobby Massey and Bill Isles.
EDUCATION: Levert went to Canton McKinley High School in Canton, OH, which obviously had its share of great singers as he met the four guys who would ultimately comprise the original O’Jays lineup.
BACK STORY: The O’Jays were inspired to sing by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, a popular doo-wop group led by Lymon who was profiled in the biopic “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”
RESUME: With Levert’s powerful baritone as the lead, the O’Jays became R&B legends on the strength of classic songs like “I Love Music,” “Stairway to Heaven,” “Backstabbers,” “Love Train” and more during their time on Philadelphia International Records where they worked with Gamble and Huff.
FUN FACTS: The O’Jays got their name from Ohio radio deejay Eddie O’Jay after being called The Triumphs and The Mascots. For the last six years, the O’Jays have hosted a celebrity-studded weekend in their native Canton, OH, with proceeds benefitting students in Ohio.
LATEST WORK: “Eddie Levert: I Still Have It”
ON TWITTER: @EddieLevert
ON MYSPACE: http://www.myspace.com/therealojays
BEST OF EDDIE LEVERT (Video):
“Wind Beneath My Wings” (with Gerald Levert)
Eddie Levert on “Tavis Smiley”
Eddie Levert on the O’Jays Weekend
“There was gospel, the church, R&B grittiness in our singing, and Gamble and Huff saw that and were able to make that into a record. After they got the O’Jays, their whole thing turned around. As soon as they got us, they got Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes (“If You Don’t Know Me By Now”), Teddy Pendergrass. Their music took a more soulful sound. They were able to go to another level. We brought them back to their roots.” Tampabay.com (2012)
“The music has always been healing. With Gerald and Sean, the times we had together onstage are some of the greatest moments of my life, man. The times that I was onstage with them doing ‘Casanova’ or ‘Baby Hold on to Me’ or ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ — to me, those are priceless. Even now, when I go and perform those songs by myself, they’re medicine. The most therapeutic time I have in my whole life is that hour and a half that I do onstage. Because for an hour and a half, I don’t think about nothing but the music. Don’t think about the pain in my knees. Don’t think about the pain in my back. Don’t think about how I feel bad. All of that goes away as soon as I start doing that music.” Cleveland.com (2011)