At Indiana University, brothers Kevon and Melvin Edmonds teamed with college mate Keith Mitchell to form After 7 and played local gigs in the Bloomington area. Meanwhile, the Edmonds' older brother, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, became part of the funk group the Deele, and ultimately joined with bandmate L.A. Reid to become the top songwriting and production team in modern music. Together LA and Babyface worked with Boyz II Men, Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston and dozens of other top acts, while Babyface also forged a successful solo singing career.
In 1988 Babyface and Reid entered into an artist development agreement with Virgin Records and approached After 7 about signing with the label. With some trepidation the trio signed, and the resulting self-titled debut recording became a smash on both Soul and Pop radio, yielding three hits, including the chart topper "Ready or Not." After 7 went on to become a consistent, if understated, charting act, scoring moderate hits with "Nights Like This" (from The Five Heartbeats soundtrack) and a nice cover of "Baby I'm For Real" before landing a major crossover hit in 1995 with the wonderful midtempo number "Til You Do Me Right." And while After 7 boasted solid harmonies and generally strong material, the highlight of the group's recorded performances was Edmond's bright, upbeat vocals.
The group split in the late 90s, with Kevon Edmonds going solo and releasing the moderately successful solo album 24-7. Kevin and Melvin also joined brother Babyface in the one song group Milestone, which scored a hit with "I Care About You."
Finally after over a decade apart, a reunion of sorts happened in 2009, with Keith Mitchell and Kevon Edmonds being joined by Jason Edmonds (replacing his father, Melvin who had left the group) to form a new version of After 7.
In 2015, original member Melvin Edmonds rejoined the group and After 7 recorded its first new single in 20 years. "I Want You," recorded with the help of Babyface and Darryl Simmons, peaked at #6 on the Urban AC Charts. The four member ensemble released a second single “Let Me Know” in June 2016 to similar success, and followed in October of that year with Timeless, an artistic triumph that found the group sounding better than ever.
By Chris Rizik