Jodeci (1989- )

Jodeci press photo, 1995
© Uptown Entertainment / MCA Records (cropped), Fair use image

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Jodeci is an R&B group founded in the late 1980’s by members Mr. Dalvin (Dalvin Ertimus DeGrate), DeVante’ Swing (Donald Earle DeGrate Jr.), JoJo (Joel Hailey) and K-Ci (Cedric Renard Hailey). The group name is derived from an abbreviation of all the members names – “Jo” from JoJo, De from the last name of the DeGrate brothers, and “Ci’ from K-Ci. Dalvin and DeVeant’e were born in North Hampton, Virginia, and JoJo and K-Ci were born in Charlotte, North Carolina. The two sets of brothers were all members of their church choirs and performed with their families in gospel groups before meeting in North Carolina and forming a group of four. The DeGrate brothers performed with their fathers’ group, Reverend DeGrate and the DeGrate Delegation, while the Hailey brothers performed with their family members in Little Cedric and The Hailey Singers. 

The newly formed quadruplet of brothers drove to New York City in 1989 with a demo tape, and eventually signed with Uptown Records in 1991, working alongside then intern Sean “Puffy” Combs. They performed live on the June 11, 1991 airing of Soul Train, and opened up for several performers on tour across the U.S. After a series of singles, including “Come And Talk To Me,” Jodeci released their first album, Forever My Lady, later the same year. The album was subsequently certified multi-platinum, selling over three million copies in the US and over eight million copies worldwide. Their second album, Diary of a Mad Band (1993), sold over four million copies in the U.S., and six million copies worldwide. The albums singles “Cry For You” debuted at No. 1 on the R&B album charts, and the single, “Feenin,’” debuted at number two. The album eventually went double platinum, selling over two million copies. Jodeci release their version of Stevie Wonder’s “Lately” on the 1993 MYV Uptown Unplugged album, which was certified gold, 

The third album, The Show, the After Party, the Hotel (1995) reached the number two spot on the R&B album chart and was certified platinum after selling over one million copies within months of its release. The single “Freek’n You” is used in the anime television series JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind as the ending theme song. In 1996, Jodeci members began focusing on solo projects, but did not formally dissolve. Producer Timbaland announced he was working with the group on a new album in 2014. Jodeci reunited for the 2014 Soul Train Music Awards, performing a medley of songs that included one of their new singles, “Nobody Wins.” After a twenty-year hiatus, Jodeci released their fourth album, The Past, the Present, the Future, with Epic Records, in March 2015. The group then announced a reunion tour, with the first show taking place in Richmond, Virginia. Jodeci was among hundreds of artists whose material was destroyed in the 2008 Universal Studios fire. The group has sold over twenty million records worldwide and are currently working on releasing their biopic.