Raised in Akron, Ohio, Howard Hewett started singing as a child fronting his older sisters in the Hewett Singers, touring the local gospel circuit, and as a teen, he sang in a funk band called Lyfe. In 1976, Hewett moved to Los Angeles, California, where he co-founded a show group called Beverly Hills and toured throughout Europe and Asia in 1977-78. In 1978, however, he was invited to join Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel in Shalamar. From 1979 to 1985, Hewett sang lead on a streak of hit songs. When the trio split in 1985, Hewett launched a series of solo recordings, a trajectory which started with a bang but subsequently fizzled. In the mid-1990s, Hewett was back on the airwaves, singing on albums by Joe Sample, Brian Culbertson, George Duke, the Rippingtons, Teena Marie, and others. His most recent album, Howard Hewett Christmas, was released in 2008.
Howard Hewett returned to New York City after an extended absence to headline at City Winery tonight. Accompanied by a keyboardist and backing tracks, Hewett's concert pivoted on the sweetness of his tenor vocals. Operating now apart from Hollywood's music industry manipulators, Hewett's performance was all about who he is in real time. Throughout the set, Hewett's style transcended times and trends; although Shalamar started during the disco era, Hewett was always the classic balladeer, crooning romantic songs for those who beheld and believed in the mysterious power of love. Whether engaging the audience from the edge of the stage or sitting reflectively on a stool, his songs pondered and celebrated the draw and the challenges of an amorous relationship. Towards the end of his set, he began singing from the audience, singing to his fans almost eyeball to eyeball. When he concluded with a string of Shalamar hits, he sang the familiar lyric, "this is for the lover in you." Actually, his tender vocals had carried that message all evening.
Visit Howard Hewett at www.howardhewettmusic.com.