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Lyfe Jennings - Biography
|last update : 26-09-2010 09:01|
|Real name: Chester "Lyfe" Jennings. Born June 3, 1973 in Toledo, Ohio. Raised in Toledo.
Lyfe began singing at a young age in a church choir in his hometown of Toledo. He later joined a group called The Dotsons with two of his cousins and his older brother, Jay. The group separated in the early 1990s. In February 1993 he was arrested on drug charges. In October of the same year, when he was 19, Lyfe was sentenced to a 10-year prison term on arson charges. During his time in an Ohio prison, Lyfe discovered Erykah Badu's 1997 album, Baduizm, and it rekindled his love for music.
Prison and The Apollo:
Lyfe began playing music in prison and even started a prison music program. Jennings was released from prison in December 2002 and pursued a music career. In January 2003, he performed on amateur night at the famous Showtime at The Apollo in Harlem, New York. Although he was booed when he walked onstage, he eventually won the crowd over and eventually won five amateur night victories in a row. Later in 2003, Lyfe independently released a four-song EP, What Is Love. He eventually moved from Toledo to New York City to further pursue a music career, and wound up signing with Columbia Records.
Lyfe's debut album, Lyfe 268-192 in August 2004 (268-192 had been his inmate number). The album's first single was "Stick Up Kid," which was only moderately successful. It wasn't until the album's second single, "Must Be Nice," was released that the album finally took off and became a hit. Jennings' second album The Phoenix, was released in August 2006 and debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's album chart and No. 2 on the top 200 album's chart. The first single, "S.E.X.," about a pubescent teenage girl dealing with her hormones, becaume a moderate hit on the R&B charts.
The Phoenix had a sizeable Hip-Hop influence: among the guest performers on the album were the rappers Three 6 Mafia, Young Buck and Project Pat. The album also contains a cover of 2Pac's "Keep Ya Head Up." 2008 saw a shift in Lyfe's music: no longer content to be critically acclaimed, he made a concerted effort to appeal more to the mainstream on his third album, Lyfe Change. However, no big hits came from the album and sales dipped in comparison with The Phoenix. In October 2008 Lyfe was arrested on various charges, including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, allegedly stemming from a domestic dispute.
"I think that commercial success is a product of street level success. But people who strictly concentrate on commercial success, once it's gone they have nothing. But the people who build from the street level always have something to come back to, a loyal fan-base means a lot." -- Lyfe Jennings, as told to the Just Soul website, November, 2005.
2010: I Still Believe.
2008: Lyfe Change.
2006: The Phoenix.
2004: Lyfe 268-192.