Singer Lyfe Jennings is back with his fourth studio CD, “I Still Believe.” His single, “Statistics,” which speaks to the struggles single black women face to find love, is already a hit.
After a decade in jail during his 20’s, the Ohio-born singer/songwriter broke records at the Apollo Theater, which eventually led to a record deal. Since then, he’s been making the kind of heartfelt, soulful music that tends to build long careers. Along the way, he’s become known as a singer who has some definite opinions about relationships and love. Read on to learn more about this talented artist.
BORN: Chester Bamsu Jennings on June 3, 1973.
BIG BREAK: He made his own. After his release from jail, performing at the Apollo Theater and winning the amateur competition on “Showtime at the Apollo” five times with original music.
EDUCATION: The popular School of Hard Knocks. While in an Ohio correctional facility, Jennings, who had a musical foundation from church, became more spiritual and spent his time developing his music skills.
RESUME: Jennings has recorded with everyone from Three Six Mafia to Fantasia and Alicia Keys. He’s been the go-to guy for several hip-hop stars and was featured on songs from Rick Ross, Raekwon and Trina.
BACKSTORY: By his second day of freedom, Jennings was recording a four-song CD, and by his third, he was performing in a club in New York City. During his five-win run, he sold his own CD, “What Is Love,” which garnered enough attention from industry folks to lead him to a major label.
FUN FACT: Jennings was inspired by a copy of Erykah Badu’s debut CD, “Baduizm,” which he got while in jail. It helped him realize that he could succeed by making his music more personal.
NUMBERS: His first CD, “268-192,” released in 2004, sold over a million copies. His follow-up, “The Phoenix,” went gold in 2006.
LATEST WORK: “I Still Believe” in stores, on iTunes and other digital download sites.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.lyfeonline.com
“I would tell them to be prepared to start anywhere, even the bottom. If music is your dream, then you need to be prepared to do anything for it, clean floors, work in a mail room, anything to get in that door. They also need a back up plan. A lot of young artists try to hit the music world hard, forgetting everything else, but you can’t do that. You need a back up plan, nothing here is promised.” – Singersroom.com (2006)
“I’m one of them cats where if I see something, I’m thinking about it. Whether I’m in jail or on a bridge, or whatever it is. It’s pretty much the same inspiration.” – Mvremix.com (2006)
“I was at a point in time that I was doing a lot of reading, and I couldn’t figure out a way to connect what I was reading to the music because up until then, it had never really been done. And then when I heard about ‘Baduizm,’ I said, ‘Wow! This is all you’re going to hear when she drop the knowledge within the stones.’ You know what I’m saying? She was still doing the music, but she did it her way. And I said, “That’s what I want to do.” – Blogcritics.org (2010)
“Before, I thought it was all about the man and the woman – you being committed to her because you didn’t want her to feel bad. And that’s still a part of it to me. But now it seems more so about me. If I am married, and I cheat on my wife, it says more about me and less about the situation. It says that I have a lack of commitment; it says that I can’t stick through something. It says a whole bunch of things about me now. That’s why I say that I’m ready for it.” – Necolebitchie.com (2010)