Az Yet is an American R&B group from Philadelphia, best known for their songs "Last Night" and the cover "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" originally performed by Chicago.
Formed in 1989 initially as a duo with Shawn Rivera and Dion Allen, the two were later joined by Kenny Terry, whom they met singing in the lobby of the Wyndham Hotel in Philadelphia. The addition of Ali Hyman, Claude Thomas, Dyshon Benson, & Damon Core briefly made the group a sextet but Damon and Ali would depart early on. Through the process of getting management & in the process of being signed both Claude & Dyshon left the group, a fellow Philly native Darryl Anthony came on board. A demo by the group found its way into the hands of Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds through his mother-in-law, Jacqueline McQuam, who would one day hold various showcases to highlight their work. Impressed by their sound, Edmonds asked them to perform at a concert with After 7 and El DeBarge. Subsequently, the group added Boyz II Men founding member Marc Nelson. Az Yet first hit it big with a song from The Nutty Professor soundtrack, "Last Night."
Az Yet released their self-titled debut album in 1996 on LaFace Records. The album featured a "who's who" of musical heavyweights, including David Foster, Babyface, Sheila E., and Brian McKnight. The first single, "Last Night," reached #9 on the US Hot 100, #1 on the R&B chart, peaked at #2 on Australia's ARIA charts, and spent 2 weeks at #1 in New Zealand's RIANZ charts, ultimately achieving platinum status in the US. The group's second single, "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" (a cover of the Chicago hit), was nominated for a Grammy award (Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals), reached #8 on the Hot 100, and achieved platinum status. Driven by these two singles, the album reached RIAA platinum status.
Fueled by 2 Top Ten hits, the group's popularity led them to several television appearances in their early years. Live performances include 'The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show', 'All That' and two appearances on Soul Train (the first in 1996 with Marc Nelson as lead singer and the second in 1997 with Tony Grant). The group was also cast as "TJ's Band" and appeared in several episodes of the short-lived television drama "Fame L.A.".
Az Yet appeared on movie soundtracks for "The Nutty Professor" (1996 Def Jam Records, Certified Double-Platinum), "Hav Plenty" (1998 Sony Music) and "Kingdom Come" (2001 GospoCentric Records), as well as on the soundtrack for "Fame L.A." (1998 Polygram Records). "Kingdom Come" was nominated for a Dove Award in 2002.
Marc Nelson was removed from the group in 1997 due to "personal differences" and pursued a solo career. Nelson was replaced by Tony Grant.
Nelson's television appearances include "All That" and the group's first appearance on "Soul Train."
During Tony Grant's tenure with Az Yet, the group recorded the popular remake of "You're The Inspiration" with Chicago's Peter Cetera in 1997. Grant was a part of the group during their cameo appearances on the T.V. series "Fame L.A." and the recording of the "Fame L.A." soundtrack. He was replaced by LeDon Bishop after a dispute with the group's management team.
Grant's television appearances include "The Keenon Ivory Wayans Show", "Fame L.A." and the group's second appearance on "Soul Train". Traditionally, performers on "Soul Train" lip synched, however, the recorded tracks contained Marc Nelson's vocals prompting the group to perform live, a rarity for the long-running show.
After Tony Grant's replacement with LeDon Bishop, the group (now consisting of Shawn, Dion, Kenny, Darryl and LeDon) recorded "Every Woman" written by Kirk Franklin and appearing on the Kingdom Come Movie Soundtrack.
In 2002, Az Yet parted from DreamWorks Records. Original group member Darryl Anthony then composed a new group with replacement member LeDon Bishop and brought aboard new members Kris Gilder and Dante Harper, changing the dynamics of the group from a quintet to a quartet. This formation of Az Yet released the EP "That B U" in 2004 and disbanded in late 2007.
Original members reunited:
In November 2007, the four remaining original members - Marc Nelson, Kenny Terry, Shawn Rivera and Dion Allen - reunited and began recording their second album, set for release in January 2009. The group released their first single, "Share Life", on October 30, 2008.
On July 21, 2008, the reunited members made their first appearance as a group, performing with their mentor Babyface and former Yab Yum Records counterpart and fellow Babyface protégé Jon B in Los Angeles at a concert benefiting Leeza Gibbons' Memory Foundation.
In October 2008, Az Yet released a statement announcing that past member Tony Grant was re-added to the group, bringing the dynamics of the group back to a quintet.
On December 18, 2008, the group confirmed that they were planning a world tour beginning April 2009. The tour would have marked the world premiere of their second album which was originally set for release in March 2009.
As of 2012, the group consists of Dion Allen, Shawn Rivera, Kenny Terry & original member Claude Thomas who has returned to the group.
Az Yet toured as featured actors/performers in 2013, with the Broadway Musical, My Brother Marvin (The Secret Life Of Marvin Gaye), starring Keith Washington, Tony Grant, and Emmy Award Winning Actress, Lynn Whitfield.
Later that year, the group recorded, "Magical Moment" with Malaysian Idol winner, Jaclyn Victor as a theme song for the animated feature film, "Ribbit" (KRU Studios).
Marc Nelson has returned to the group again making them a quintet again with Dion, Shawn, Kenny, Claude, & Marc.
In 2014 earlier member Damon Core died.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license