Chicago-born singer, songwriter, producer and musician Keni Burke made a name for himself both as part of a popular soul group and as a pioneering musician who fused elements of jazz and soul into a tasty mix.
First coming to the attention of the world as part of the teen family group the Five Stairsteps, Burke tasted success as the writer of the group's first hit, 1966's "You Waited Too Long." The group continued to score moderate R&B hits over the next few years, including "World of Fantasy," "Don't Change Your Love" and "Something's Missing" before landing the across-the-board smash, "O-o-h Child." As the hits stopped coming for the group in the mid-70s, Burke went solo while also beginning his career as a session musician.
Over the next ten years Burke performed with virtually every major R&B artist, becoming perhaps the most sought-after bassist in popular music. His solo recording career had its ups and downs, with his most influential song being the funky "Risin' To The Top," a cut that was only a middling charter when it was released in 1982 but which has been sampled dozens of times and become a true R&B classic.
In 1998, more than a decade after his last solo release, Burke signed with UK-based Expansion Records and released the critically acclaimed Nothing But Love.
By Chris Rizik