Keke Wyatt Biography (1982-)

A protégée of Chicago-based producer/songwriter Steve “Stone” Huff, Ketara “KeKe” Wyatt is an R&B who has been influenced by urban contemporary and hip-hop, as well as classic soul. Wyatt’s sleek yet gritty work brings to mind Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, and other hip-hop-influenced urban singers who emerged in the ’90s. However, her debut album, Soul Sista, indicates she is also well aware of the contributions of Baby Boomer favorites like Chaka Khan, Deniece Williams, and Patti LaBelle — one of the tracks on Soul Sista is a cover of LaBelle’s hit ballad “If Only You Knew.” Wyatt now lives in Kentucky but was born in Indianapolis, IN, where she grew up listening to a variety of R&B and gospel and came from a very musical family. Both of her parents sang in church; her mother was a vocalist, her father an organist. Wyatt’s parents had her singing in church as a child but did not discourage her from pursuing a career in secular music; in fact, they exposed her to a lot of secular R&B at home. When Wyatt was in her early teens, she sang in various female groups — one of which was a very early version of Destiny’s Child. It was also during Wyatt’s adolescent years that she met her mentor, Huff, who is known for his work with the Isley Brothers, Joe, Avant, and other major R&B artists. Huff produced some demos for Wyatt and went about trying to get her a record deal; in 2000, she signed with MCA. That year, Huff brought Avant and Wyatt together for a remake of Rene & Angela’s ’80s ballad “My First Love,” which was included on Avant’s platinum My Thoughts. In 2001, Huff produced Wyatt’s Soul Sista and did much of the writing; the only track he didn’t write or co-write was Wyatt’s cover of “If Only You Knew.” Soul Sista was released in November 2001, and “Used to Love was chosen as its first single.

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