Az Yet Biography
Az Yet are already enjoying the critical acclaim being garnered on their debut Gold single "Last Night". The single hit #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and was featured on the original motion picture soundtrack from the hit movie "The Nutty Professor", starring Eddie Murphy.
There were three people who realised early-on that Az Yet, with the right direction, development and focus could become one of alike the most popular singing groups ever to come along. These three were Jacqueline McQuam, Michael McQuam and award-winning singer, song-writer, producer Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, who has produced and penned the majority of songs on Az Yet's debut album.
Says Babyface, "Az Yet is one of the most talented groups to ever come along. When they sing, it becomes magic. This group is destined for success. Not only can they sing, but they also write, produce and arrange. Az Yet is unique in that their mix of influences and flavor defies labelling. I am happy to be associated with them."
Babyface is correct. The various influences of R&B, jazz, blues, hip hop, and gospel that flavour their music is why the group was originally known as "As Yet Untitled". Says Shawn Rivera, "We found it hard to label ourselves because we enjoy singing and performing so many different styles". Echoes Kenny Terry, "We originally used the name, Az Yet Untitled, to describe our style, which is ever-growing and all-encompassing".
How did these five young men come together to form such a one-of-a-kind sound? Shawn and Dion met in early 1990. Both sang, shared a love for music, and wanted to form a singing group. They decided to "go for it" and began combing the city of Philadelphia for other vocalists who wanted to make it as much as they did.
In 1991, (several name changes and group members later), Dion and Shawn met Kenneth Terry, under somewhat unusual circumstances. Kenny was working at the Wyndham Hotel in Philadelphia, and, as Shawn and Dion were passing through the lobby, they overheard him loudly singing. And, they agreed he could sing. His voice rang out richly throughout the lobby of the prestigious hotel. They began singing along -impromptu-, liked what they heard and the chemistry they shared. They had found not only a talented singer, but one who would become an important element in the group's distinctive sound. They then recruited other members and for six years set-out on a quest to be discovered and to perfect their talents.
Their lives changed forever when a self-produced demo reached the hands of Los Angeles business woman Jacqueline McQuam "I was so impressed with their demo tape, I called them and arranged to meet with them in Philadelphia", says Jack. "When I got there, they did a nine song showcase for me in my hotel room and I was sold". The guys were equally impressed with the ideas, direction and focus Jack laid out for them. Soon there-after, Jack signed a management agreement with the group, and immediately began shopping their demo and seeking other opportunities for them. One of the individuals who Jack let hear the group's music, via showcase, was her son-in-law, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds (married to Jackie's daughter Tracey). And, as it is said, "The rest is history".
Babyface was so impressed, that not only did he allow them to open for his concert with After 7 and El Debarge, but he was instrumental in their signing, in 1995, a recording contract with LaFace Records. "After signing with LaFace records, I decided to bring my son Michael McQuam in as co-", says Jack. "I felt that his experience as vice president and A&R director for Yab Yum Records would be a big help in our maximising our opportunity. I also convinced the label to relocate the group out here in Los Angeles so they would be in a position to work closer with Babyface".
The group would undergo a few more changes before reaching their current level of perfection. While in the midst of their negotiations with LaFace Records, the group lost a group member who decided to go to the ministry. They immediately recruited a fellow Philadelphian, the very talented Darryl Anthony as a replacement. And prior to recording, Babyface, Jack and Michael McQuam, and the group determined that the group needed one more lead voice to make for fine tuning. Both Jack and Michael suggested that they consider Marc Nelson, gifted singer and friend of Dion's from Philadelphia, now living in Los Angeles.
Their suggestion was readily accepted by the group. In fact, they had attempted to recruit Marc earlier, but he had just separated from Boyz II Men and had signed a solo deal with MCA. However, this time, Marc was ready to be part of a group again and said "Yes". Thus, birth of - Az Yet: Shawn, Dion, Kenneth, Darryl, and Marc.
They are excited about their first album and being part of "a family of five" as Shawn says. Kenny sums it up, "God introduced us to each other for a reason. We look forward to using the talents he gave us to perform and make as many people happy as we can".
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One Simple Dream... | Reviewer: Anibal Gonzalez Ruscalleda | 8/21/13
Hi, I believe you can see my name already. I've wanted to make a group similar to this amazing group but have failed because it is hard to find people responsible enough as to do this kind of jobs perfectly. I love music, I've been singing since I can remember and love to do it. I'm just looking for a chance to prove how much my voice is worth and how good I can end up being if I am directed correctly... I am studying my Bachelor Degree in Musical Education at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico and am looking for an oportunity to be a future artist. As I pointed before, I have not been successful in completing my dream, I'd do anything to get to the top of my dreams and am willing to get to a level of perfection if i get help from someone with the experience that i still don't have... Please if anyone can help me make this dream come true contact me to my E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or in facebook Anibal Glez Ruscalleda (El Milagro) It would be an honor to be of use to Music itself...
As Yet | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/6/13
The group failed to give credit to a guy from Philadelphia who actually help give them the exposure which led to their stardom. His name is Staceyy Robinson. He Co-managed a Philadelphia nightclub in the 90's called the CatClub where all the guys of AzYet were Bar backs. Staceyy got approval from Club Owner Frank Verkaik to put them in a showcase at the club. The rest is history. Unfortunately, Staceyy Robinson was never credited for this.
Looking for a Song from Az Yet | Reviewer: Rodney Tolbert | 9/30/12
I thought AZ Yet had a song - Angel. Cant seem to find it. Do I have the wrong group. I had the song, System crashed, Lost the song, trying to find that song. Please let me knwo If I have tghe wrong group.
I Love Shawn Rivera | Reviewer: T-SC | 10/2/11
Although, I was very little when you all started and just now listening to all of your songs, I really like them all. You all were sex black men and I LOVE Shawn Rivera. PLEASE com back out with another song I will be front row
Incomplete story | Reviewer: Tom Altman | 8/9/10
As with most information out of LA, most of that story is BS. Claude, the member who decided to go into the ministry, was the brains of the operation. He did the arrangements, and kept the other members focused, since they were always feuding or getting distracted.
I recorded their demo that was played for Babyface and his mother-in-law, a failed real estate salesman. Her she and her son only had their jobs to keep them out of Kenny"s (babyface) hair, and to keep them making some income of their own.
When they moved the group to LA, Jackie convinced them to forget all about the people who got them their deal, namely me and Mark Coleman, who had spent 6 months of drama and thousands of dollars in long distance phone calls and fed-ex shipments of demos. I even drove every one of them to the airport when they left for LA.
Later, they were being interviewed on a local radio show and I called in. The didn't even remember who I was.
Their group later fell apart because of in-fighting and rumors of homosexuality.
Couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of guys. The world is better off with them back hanging out on the streetcorner, where we found them.
AZ Yet forever in our hearts, you guys are the real deal | Reviewer: deb | 1/18/10
AZ Yet is a gem to be recokened with, I the pleasure of interviewing these fine gentlemen for Black Beat Magazine back in 1996 and they were humble , talented and just a bunch of great guys that should be releasing albums more frequently. Their brand of music is rare and missed , crank out the hits for 20010 marc,Dion,kenny and Tony
i had high hopes for az yet | Reviewer: james lewis | 12/6/08
man,i had high hopes for these young brothas....when i heard that bayface was producing them....I'D KNEW THEY WOULD BE A HIT ! but unfortunately that was not the case.....i still have that wonderful cd and yes i still play it from time to time.....i would put az yet over boys to men,shai,silk,,and all the other male groups during the early to late 90's
Original Az-Yet | Reviewer: Michelle | 8/11/08
I met a guy who says he's sang with the original Az-Yet group. His name is Kenny last name is a G or a B. Is this a true former member? I am from the Philly suburbs and he is from Philly. Please let me know something.
Teased and thirsty for more. | Reviewer: Wilbert L. Lottie | 1/4/08
Thats the feeling im left with after i heard their first album, these young brothers are the best thing to happen to R&B since hot sauce on chitterlins. their sound is fantastic, that 5 point harmony is just what the music doctor ordered,and thats just what we need right now, some good old fashion throw down harmony. Bring that type of music back, but above all, bring them back, let their voices ring out for they are here to stay. A fan of good music. Still thirsty. Wilbert L. Lottie (BEANIE)
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