Born Myron Avant in 1978, in Cleveland, OH. Education: Graduated from Cleveland School of the Arts, 1995. Addresses: Record company--Geffen Records, website: http://www.geffen.com. Website--Avant Official Website: http://www.avant-music.com.

R&B singer/producer Avant launched his solo career at age 22, quickly drawing comparisons to fellow new-style R&B crooner R. Kelly. He was the first act signed to former Los Angeles Lakers' basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson's Magic Johnson Music, a subsidiary of MCA. Avant, like Kelly, took an increasing interest in working behind the scenes. He collaborated with producer Steve "Stone" Huff on his early recordings, but by his third release, Private Room, he was handling a significant portion of the writing and production duties himself.

Born Myron Avant (he uses only his last name professionally to avoid being confused with the R&B artist Myron) in 1978 in Cleveland, Ohio, Avant was the youngest of six children, and was raised in the city's 110th St. and Woodland Avenue neighborhood. He sang in the choir at the now-closed Union Hill Baptist Church, and listened to the music of Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, the O'Jays, and the Isley Brothers. "I love the old-school music, but I don't like to call it old school. I like to call it great music," he told John Soeder of Cleveland's Plain Dealer. Avant won numerous talent shows, including the Cleveland Black Expo, and studied music and drama at the Cleveland School of the Arts, graduating in 1995.

The following year, Avant was performing with a friend named Doc in a duo called Dam, and the pair sent a videotape to Chicago-based entertainment manager Eric Payton. Payton convinced Avant to go solo, and introduced the singer to Huff. The pair began writing songs together, and Payton initially released Avant's single "Separated" on his Paytown Entertainment label. The song received significant airplay on radio station WGCI in Chicago, and was included on a 1999 MCA records compilation album, Summer Heat. Almost immediately, Avant began drawing comparisons to R. Kelly. "Like R. Kelly, Avant is a multifaceted craftsman, crooner, composer, and arranger," wrote Charles E. Rogers in the New York Amsterdam News. "His lush vocals contain a heightened sense of passion that is intimate; often bordering on breathtaking, if the unsolicited opinions of smitten females who've heard him sing account for anything." The staff at Johnson's fledgling Magic Johnson Music heard a demo of the tape, and Johnson decided to make Avant his label's debut artist.

Magic Johnson Music/MCA released My Thoughts in May of 2000. Most of the songs on the album were co-written by Avant and Huff, and Huff produced the album. The album featured "Separated" as a single, and soon after the album's release Avant related to Soeder the events that inspired the song's lyrics: "The story behind 'Separated' is I was 17 and I was dealing with someone who was 24. I wore my heart on my sleeve. My mom told me I shouldn't jump out there that early. But you know, a brother has to get his feet burned." The album also included nods to the singer's old-school R&B influences, as Avant covered Rene & Angela's 1983 R&B ballad "My First Love," and sampled Isaac Hayes's "Wonderful" on "Reaction." The comparisons to Kelly continued. Avant referred to the honor in an interview with Vibe Online. "Being compared to R. Kelly is a compliment in itself," he remarked. "He's been in the game for about twelve years. He is Mr. R&B. To be in the game, and to be named in the same sentence as that man is truly a privilege."

Magic Johnson Music/MCA released Avant's second album, Ecstasy, in 2002. Huff served as arranger, played all the instruments, and acted as executive producer alongside Avant, Payton, and Johnson. The album featured a variety of musical styles, and included the top five R&B single "My First Love," a duet ballad with Keke Wyatt. Avant also dueted with Wyatt on her single "Nothing in This World" that same year. The Gap Band's Charlie Wilson was featured on another single, "One Way Street." "Showing his flexibility, Avant demonstrates that he is as comfortable with hip-hop-friendly funk as he is with romantic ballads and slow jams," observed Alex Henderson in All Music Guide. The singer told Billboard magazine's Toi Moore in 2002 that in the wake of national tragedy he wanted to focus on uplifting topics. "Since September 11, [2001], I've been trying to make lovemaking something that's very serious. ... I want people to understand that more love should be in the house. There's no time for arguments." The singer defined the album's title in Ebony that same year. "My definition of ecstasy is making love to a woman mentally," he said. "It's about getting into a relationship that lasts. Men must treat their women right and make [a woman] feel like she's the queen of the Earth, because that's the truth."

The Geffen label released Avant's album Private Room in 2003. The singer told Vibe Online that he tried to make this album more intimate, especially for his female listeners. "With Private Room, I tried to be more personal with my fans, 'cause I feel like they didn't know me," he said. The album featured the crossover single "Read Your Mind," which broke into the top 25 on Billboard's pop charts. In 2004 Avant had a cameo role in the film Barbershop 2: Back in Business. Along with Wyatt, he recorded a cover of Ashford & Simpson's "Your Precious Love" for the film's soundtrack.

Avant told Billboard's Moore that patience and persistence have proven to be the keys to his success. "It wasn't easy for me," he said. "I tried for more than six years to get into this industry. Then I finally got my package to Magic Johnson. He heard it and made things happen. You just have to take it one day at a time." He told Vibe Online that he tries to write songs that have enduring appeal. "I try to make songs that mean something to people, that will stick with them," he said.

by Kristin Palm

Avant's Career

Sang with Union Hill Baptist Church choir and performed in duo Dam prior to launching solo career; first album, My Thoughts, became inaugural release on basketball star Magic Johnson's Magic Johnson Music/MCA label, 2000; second album, Ecstasy, released on the same label, 2002; Private Room released on Geffen, 2003.

Famous Works

Recent Updates

April 25, 2006: Avant's album, Director, was released. Source: All Music Guide, www.allmusic.com, April 30, 2006.

Further Reading

Sources

PeriodicalsOnline

Visitor Comments Add a comment…

over 5 years ago

Avant you rock. Don't stop doing this.

over 6 years ago

Avant, you are my favorite male artist. I have always loved your sexy sound. Keep it up! Chicago, IL

over 6 years ago

Avant has grown to be a wonder kid your music make ma heart goes a mile ahead you make me appreciate the music as whole you are great keep up

over 6 years ago

You are the bomb Avant.i really love your music.Im from Nairobi,Kenya.

almost 7 years ago

I must say your music makes people really feel ´´it´´. You can sing, you can dance, so I don´t see why they don´t play your music more often on tv and radio. Wish you would do some shows in Europe, it would be a pleasure to watch you perform live! All the best :-)

about 7 years ago

Avant your music is so tasteful it a shame that all radio stations like hot 97 or 105 do not play you more I listen to WBLS because they know good music which is your music. I wish you do a concert or show in NY I know about a thousand people who would come out to support you. I don't have one particular favorite song because all your songs are beautiful. I'm listening to WITH YOU right now"like cold in december I need you" I love that line. Keep up the good work I will always support you.

about 7 years ago

Hello Avant I just want to say it has been a pleasure listening to your music we relate on so many levels and as a woman of god I will pray that God keeps you and continue to show you his grace, Be Blessed

about 7 years ago

Avant man ur music is the best ,u hve a melodious voice keep up the good works .Hope u will do a live concert in zimbabwe we are looking forward to see u and hear that voice live.May the lord continue to bless u.

over 7 years ago

the hell if avant & r kelly aint cousins or something. they look so much alike. gosh!

over 7 years ago

Avant u are my favorite singer u da homie and i can sing just like you snd i luv my first love with keke wyatt and read your mind then is the songs

almost 8 years ago

AVANT'S MUSIC AND VOICE IS LIKE LIKE FINE WINE; IT'S MAGICAL,TASTEFUL, SMOOTH AND SOOTHING TO MIND, BODY AND SOUL. AS YOU CAN TELL I REALLY ENJOY HIS MUSIC, I'VE BEEN A BIG FAN SINCE DAY ONE. I REALLY MISS HIM AND HIS MUSIC AS SOON AS HE STEPS OFF THE STAGE AND SAY'S GOOD NIGHT AND THANK YOU; I WISH THE SHOW CAN START ALL OVER AGAIN. THAT'S HOW SMOOTH AND TALENT MR. AV IS. THE COOLEST PART ABOUT IT IS HE HAS THE PERSONALITY TO GO WITH THE VOICE AND THE LOOKS. STAY SWEET AND REAL YOUR GIRL FROM THE CHI ALWAYS GOT YOUR BACK LOVE YOU SHERRY B! ONE LOVE! PS: MISSING IN CHICAGO, COME AND SEE ABOUT US, (SMILE).

about 8 years ago

i love yours music and you are my number one r& b singer i wish u well and good luck and hope you making to monroe louisiana soon and do a show

about 8 years ago

Avant is one of the TRUEST, SMOOTHEST, and might I add SEXIEST R&B artists out there today. His style is unlike anyone else's.The only problem I have where Avant is concerned is that he is one of those artists who actually has true talent, but does not get his due props. I'm glad he's still around though, because we need music like his. Enough with all the hip-hop and pop music; we need the kind of music Avant delivers. Music that talks about loving and making love to your woman, respecting and being respectful of your woman...ya know? Not a lot of today's artists care to sing about that. Most of them are too busy singing AT women, telling them what they have and what they can do for them and then have the audacity to call women golddiggers when they get with a woman who only wants them for the material things they've been singing about. What the heck do they expect? Avant is singing TO women, about love....not material things. That's what the music business has been missing for a very long time. His latest CD, Avant, is very good. I suggest tracks 1,2,4,5,6,7,10 and 11. Avant, keep doing what you do .....and that is making great music.

over 8 years ago

I am big Avant fan and i was excited when I bought his album today. I actually bought two copies and I'm listening to it now. The album is so good!!! I do not have this album, you need to go out and get it.

over 8 years ago

I just want to let Avant know I am one of his biggest fans. Love your style of music. I have seen you at a couple of appearances here in San Antonio,TX and will be catching you again this Friday night at club NTRO, I can't wait. Beast of luck on your new label. God Bless you!!!

over 8 years ago

WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE WHAT YOU AND YOUR MUSIC HAS DONE FOR MY LIFE. YOU ARE A TRULY TALENTED INDIVIDUAL. I LOVE ALL YOUR ALBUMS AND HAVE NO DOUBT IN MIND THAT YOUR NEW WILL BE JUST AS GREAT AS ALL THE OTHER ONES. I LOVE YOU, AND ANTICIPATE WHEN YOU COME IN CONCERT IN THE MIA. I AM ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST FANS. WHENEVER YOU NEED TO ESCAPE FROM ALL THE HUSSLE THAT IS YOUR LIFE YOU ALWAYS HAVE A SPOT AT MY HOME WITH ME. KEEP DOING WHAT YOU R DOING BABY! LOVE YOUR BIGGEST FAN MS. J LADY P.S. YOU KISSED ME AT ONE OF YOUR CONCERTS AND I LOVED IT!

over 8 years ago

I JUST WANT TO SAY THAT I LOVE ALL OF YOUR SONGS AND I HAVE ALL YOUR ALBUMS. I ALSO WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT JUS LISTENING TO YOU PUTS ME TO SLEEP AT NIGHT. WHEN I'M MAD I JUST LISTEN TO YOUR VOICE AND IT JUST PUTS IN A PLACE WHERE I WANT TO BE. WHEN I WANT TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL AND JUS RELAX YOUR SONGS ARE THERE TO COMFORT ME IN TIME OF NEED OR JSUT TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL

over 8 years ago

DEAR AV, I CANNOT WAIT FOR YOUR NEW ALBUM TO COME OUT 12-9-08. I LOVE YOUR NEW SINGLE WHEN IT HURTS. I KNOW THE REST OF THE ALBUM WILL BE AWESOME LIKE ALWAYS. LOVE U, MISS U, CAN'T WAIT TO SEE U. ALWAYS GOT YOUR BACK YOUR GIRL FROM THE CHI SHERRY. B! ONE LOVE! PS: ME AND THE REST OF CHICAGO IS WAITING! CAUSE WE GOT YOU!

over 8 years ago

DEAR AV, CAN'T WAIT FOR YOUR NEW ALBUM ON 12-9-08. I LOVE THE NEW SINGLE WHEN IT HURTS. I KNOW THE REST OF THE ALBUM WILL BE AWESOME LIKE ALWAYS; LOVE U, MISS U AND CAN'T WAIT TO SEE U! STAY SWEET YOUR GIRL FROM THE CHI ALWAYS GOT YOUR BACK, SHERRY.B ONE LOVE! PS: ME AND THE REST OF CHICAGO IS WAITNG FOR YOU!

over 8 years ago

ur so fine avant and i love u so much

almost 9 years ago

JUST WANTED TO WISH AVANT THE BEST OF LUCK WITH HIS NEW LABLEL. I HOPE THEY TREAT HIM RIGHT BECAUSE HE DESERVES IT. HE'S AN GREAT ENTERTAINER, NICE PERSON, HE SEEMS TO WORK REALLY HARD. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AV, SUPER PROUD OF YOU, LOVE YOU YOUR GIRL FROM THE CHI (CHICAGO)SHERRY.B PS: STAY SWEET WILL ALWAYS HAVE YOUR BACK! ONE LOVE!

almost 9 years ago

JUST REMINDING THE WORLD HOW GREAT OF AN ENTERTAINER YOU ARE AND HOW MUCH YOUR GIRL WILL ALWAYS HAVE YOUR BACK. YOUR MUSIC IS OFF THE CHAIN AND MAKES ME FEEL LIKE I'M FLOATING. EVEN THOUGH I JUST SAW YOU THIS SATURDAY PLEASE HURRY BACK TO THE CHI. LOVE YOU STAY SWEET YOUR GIRL FROM THE WINDY CITY. P.S PLEASE KEEP ME UPDATED WITH YOUR APPEARRANCES ETC.

about 9 years ago

MAKE SURE U KEEP UP ALL THAT GOOD TALENT AND YOU ARE SO FINE

about 9 years ago

AVANT YOU ARE MY BIGGEST FAN ACTUALLY MY ONLY FAN I WOULD LOVE TO MEET YOU IN PERSON I LOVE YOU AND EVERY LAST (1) OF YOUR SONGS LOVE UR BIGGEST FAN TENEISHA FROM CHI-TOWN

about 9 years ago

Hey avant im your newest and cute biggest fan. You can sing and look good and u make me feel good. Keep doing you and i would love to meet you one day.

about 9 years ago

sendin lots of luv! chi-town missin u hurry back soon!

over 9 years ago

i am ur fan man and luv u lots!!!!!!!!!!!