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Latif Biography

Last updated: 07/11/2009 11:00:00 AM

(pronounced La-teef)

Home-schooled in the art of performing by sexy superstar Teddy Pendergrass, it’s no wonder why Latif was unanimously voted to be the winner of the Teen People’s “Who’s Next?” nationwide talent contest.

Once you see his charming good looks, witness his fluid dance moves and hear his poetic lyrics flowing in his emotion-filled voice, you know Latif will be music’s newest heartthrob.

Talent and preparation paved the way for his sumptuous debut, Love In The First on Motown Records. Graced with an evocative voice, production by French (B2K) and Teddy Bishop (Aaliyah, Toni Braxton) and songs that are honest and emotional, Love In The First bears witness to R&B’s legacy while still shining a light for its future. Although he’s just 20, Latif performs with a seasoned maturity that belies his youth and constructs love songs that have wisdom, yet tinged with innocence.

You can hear what impressed the prestigious Teen People “Who’s Next?” talent contest judges on Latif’s first single “I Don’t Wanna Hurt You.” A shimmering slow jam that breaks down a man’s desire to break free without inflicting hurt feelings, “I Don’t Wanna Hurt You” was written by Shawn Garett, who Latif offers, “listened to what I was going through and translated it into this beautiful song.”

Another honest song is the swaying “Rain Will Go Away.” Written by Latif, it’s about the after effects of break up. “ It’s about my wish for an ex-girlfriend to also find love, because she’s beautiful and deserves it.”

Yet another relationship song is the percolating “It’s Alright.” Latif wrote the up tempo track as a way to let his girl know that if she wants to hang with him she better learn to hang with his peeps and if not, well then it’s alright it they eventually break up.

That ability to examine one’s heart and mind lies at the core of Latif’s appeal. “This album is about different things that I went through. I love making music, and I wanted to be as honest as possible.”

Latif was born and raised in Philadelphia. Although his parents weren’t musically inclined, they instilled in him an appreciation of all music: from country to classical and as a result both, Latif and his older brother developed an interest in singing. “I patterned myself after him,” Latif laughs. “I wanted to sing so I could get the girls like he did.”

Latif’s early influences included Stevie Wonder, Burt Bacharach, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Sam Cooke, Richie Havens and Neil Diamond.

Latif attended a performing arts school and participated in its productions. Yet perhaps the best education he received was from family friend and former singer for the legendary Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass. Teddy served as Latif’s mentor and showed the budding singer how to deliver songs. Latif recalls only vaguely being aware of Teddy’s stature in the industry, but now looks back in wonder at the training he received at the hands of a superstar. “He basically groomed me. It was a gift and I benefited so much, but at the time I didn’t understand the magnitude of what I was getting.”

Occasionally, Teddy would take Latif to his TV interviews and allow him to sing alongside him. It was at a taping for a BET show that the daughter of a label executive heard Latif and consequently let her mother know about the talented teen. While still in high school Latif scored a demo deal and used the opportunity to familiarize himself with the studio and the process of writing and recording. The next step was a commercial for a local bank that featured Latif’s vocals. The spot became hugely popular and the buzz about Latif began to spread.

He graduated high school and went to Boston to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music, where he studied music business. While there he entered “Who’s Next?. Latif sang on the stage of Harlem’s Apollo Theater and performed with Nelly, Lil Bow Wow and Destiny’s Child. The taste of the spotlight excited him and Latif informed his parents he didn’t want to go back to college - that he wanted to sing and write full time. “My mother knew I loved music. So she laid down the law. She said ‘make the music career happen this semester, or you go back to school.’”

The ultimatum motivated Latif and he concentrated on honing his songwriting skills. He made his rounds to labels and the execs instantly became interested. One of those executives was Motown's Kedar Massenburg.

Right at home on Motown Records, Latif proves when talent meets preparation on the stage of determination - big things happen. Love In The First, the debut album is only the first act in what promises to be an exciting career for this young heartthrob.

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Waiting Patiently!!! | Reviewer: Whitney | 7/11/09

I still listen to Love in the first the whole CD. I love every song your CD was like therapy for me anytime Im having a bad day I can listen to it and it just takes my mind to another place. Im still waiting for the next CD and I will be first in line in KY to get it. We love you and hope to hear from you soon.

Whats up | Reviewer: Lavell aka Lv | 10/15/08

Hey whats up man.I love your music for real.
I have been lookin for your song "I dont want to hurt you", for like 4 whole years man and I travelled to New York from Tulsa, Oklahoma just to get reminded how the song went by one of my ex-lady friends. I listened to it once and fell in love. With the song. You write some good and real music man keep on keepin on. Peace.

YAY! | Reviewer: ~flydivaNita~ | 2/27/08

you are truly amazing and ya girl is so excited to review a fine brother as yourself I swear i wear out your album "I don't want to hurt you" Latif, let me know when ever you in D-town... truly sexy

you.... | Reviewer: moni | 2/1/08

you and yo music keeps me goin, as a young female that is always in and out of love.....thanx to you i can wait till the right dude comes my way.....and you kno we waitin on a new cd from you my dude.

Thank You! | Reviewer: KEKE% | 8/18/07

OMG... i havnt listened to all your songsz..buh when this guy introdunced me to i dont wanna hurt you..i listened to it over and over helped thru my hard timesz...and what me and him were goin thru..and then i decided to listen to more of your music...without you...sweet misery...and basically.. just listenin to them bring tears to my eyes.. i jus wanna thank you for your music and beautiful voice...!!!

ii LOVE U | Reviewer: Hamdii | 3/27/07

LATIFF!!..OMG EVEN YA NAME IS SEXY!..LOL anywhoo u have a wonderful voice...and u r an amazing writer...i don't wanna hurt u is on of the best songs i evea heard and datz real talkz!..OHH AND U SEXY ASS HELL!,,,DAYUUUM!..LOL but i anit no groupie jus here shown u some love ya DIG!

ii love u | Reviewer: Monie | 3/1/07

0mg..ii fuckin l0ve u...ii dont mean to cuss but ii love dat song ''ii dont wana hurt you'' that iz my favorite song u jus dont n0!!!! an everybody iz annoyed cuz thatz the only song ii lissin i eeven got it on my myspace n everythin but yeah ii lov u latif an all of your songz to0
wit yuh fine ass

hottie | Reviewer: ambreen | 2/19/07

ur arsome and i hope u tour in the uk or perform here cause ur the hottest star and i love u xxxxxxxxxx

When you coming out with another cd? Your fans are waiting | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/18/06

Ay Latif, your cd "Love in the First" is off the chain!! Its very unique & I'm just loving your style. I love your whole cd but the songs that I mainly listen to is "Without you, Love in the First, Heavenly, I don't wanna hurt you, I don't blame you, & Rain will go away". I have your cd blasting in my radio everyday not skipping from song to song. But I'm your biggest fan & I wanna know when are you coming out with another cd? Its been at least 3 years since we heard from you.

Yo!!! yo Cd iz Poppin!! | Reviewer: Gi-Gi | 2/22/06

yo i love yo favorite on that cd is I don't Blame you and Rain will go away...those two songs really is sumthin that u can think to it...i like the fact that you are real wit yo song....Keep up the good work and hope to hear more songz from U.