Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Kenny Lattimore became a music aficionado at an early age, and performed publicly thrfoughout high school. He then attended Howard University (where one of his musical idols, Donny Hathaway, had spent three years), where he studied architecture, not music. Nonetheless, the music bug kept him, and following his graduation he joined the group Maniquin, which recorded one unsuccessful album in the late 80s. He left the group in 1990 and became a popular writer for other soul artists, including Glenn Jones and Jon Lucien.
Wanting to become a solo recording artist, Lattimore signed with Sony and, in 1996, released Kenny Lattimore, with an A-List of producers and musicians. It came out of the box strong with the wonderful Kipper Jones composition, "Never Too Busy," a terrific midtempo number that recalled the best Bobby Caldwell cuts from the 80s. It hit the Soul Top 20. He followed it up with the wedding ballad, "For You," a nice tune that he brought to life with his expressive vocals. The rest of his album was promising, but not as strong as the radio cuts. He was nominated for a Grammy that year for Best Male R&B Artist, but lost to Tony Rich.
Lattimore took songwriting control over his next album, 1998's From the Soul of a Man, a much more personal album. On it he showed himself a successor to the introspective, soulful music of Donny Hathaway, and even included a cover of a Hathaway favorite, "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know." His strong compositions such as "Days Like This" and "If I Lose My Woman" were not as radio-friendly as the songs on his debut, but the album was a superior effort and one of the better urban adult contemporary albums of the year. The best cut was a surprise, five-and-a-half minute soulful cover of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."
Lattimore then left Sony and signed with Arista Records. It would be three years before his next album, Weekend, hit the shelves. It was a disappointment, save the bouncy title cut, and it quickly faded from the charts.
In 2001, Lattimore married songstress Chante Moore, and they almost immediately began working on an album of duets. The idea was to personalize some of the great pop and soul ballads of the past three decades, including the Billy Preston/Syreeta classic "With You I'm Born Again," Rene and Angela's "You Don't Have To Cry," and Clint Black and Lisa Hartman's "When I Said I Do," along with a couple of new compositions. The result, Things That Lovers Do, became Lattimore's biggest hit album (Top 5 Soul and Top 40 Pop), and led to a popular national tour and play.
Lattimore and Moore recorded again together, releasing Covered/Uncovered with less success before going back to their solo careers in 2008. Lattimore issued a collection of remakes titled Timeless, which spent a brief time on the charts.
In some ways, Kenny Lattimore's career has not matched the level of his talent. He is both an expressive singer and a solid songwriter, but his musical directions and overall quality of material have not helped him achieve the level of success of which he is capable. But there have nonetheless been terrific moments over his fifteen years in the public eye that can be cherished. We just would like there to be more.
By Chris Rizik