It was pretty difficult to differentiate Avant from all of the R. Kelly knockoffs that popped up in the late Nineties and early oughts. The quality that made him stand out in my eyes wasn’t even musical-he was the first artist (and the only successful artist, if I remember correctly) signed to Magic Johnson’s brief attempt at a record label.
Although the average pop music fan might not be aware of Avant’s existence, he’s put out five albums over the years-four of which have sold between 400K and a million copies. He’s also scored a handful of hit singles, most notably “Separated” and a cover of Rene & Angela’s “My First Love” with KeKe Wyatt.
Avant’s sixth album, “The Letter”, arrives in stores and online on 12/21 via Verve Forecast (hey, I thought they were a jazz label), and I’ve gotta say, the first single, “Kiss Goodbye” is a nice little melodic number. The lyrics can occasionally be side-eye worthy (as is most contemporary R&B), but I’m digging Avant’s vocals and especially the song’s melody. Check out the brand new video below.