Jodeci's K-Ci

Cedric Hailey, or K-Ci, one of four singers in the R&B vocal group Jodeci, was born on

this day in Charlotte, N.C., in 1969. Jodeci have cultivated a "bad-boy" image since their

start in 1990.

Jodeci, whose name is a combination of three of its members' stage names, was formed

in Charlotte, N.C., in 1988 by two sets of brothers: Joel "Jo-Jo" and Cedric "K-Ci" Hailey,

and Donald "DeVante Swing" and Dalvin "Mr. Dalvin" DeGrate.

As youngsters, the two pairs of brothers toured the South separately, singing gospel with

church choirs. The DeGrates' father was a Pentecostal minister and the boys were

members of the church. As teen-agers, the brothers were introduced to each other by

girlfriends. At first, there was conflict, because K-Ci and Mr. Dalvin were dating the same

girl, but the boys decided to record together and chose the name Jodeci.

The four made a series of demos highlighting their romantic, harmonic R&B songs,

similar to those of Boyz II Men. After a live audition championed by rapper Heavy D,

MCA's Uptown Entertainment signed Jodeci in 1990. In 1991, Jodeci released the

multi-platinum Forever My Lady, featuring the gold-certified single "Come and

Talk to Me." Jodeci also updated Stevie Wonder's ballad "Lately," on Uptown MTV

Unplugged, and took the single to #4.

Following the success of their debut, Jodeci played with the idea of joining Dr. Dre's

Death Row Records, angering Uptown enough that the company didn't heavily promote

the group's second album, Diary of a Mad Band (1993). Despite the lack of

promotion, the album reached the top 5 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, while

its single "Cry for You" went top 20 on the pop chart and #1 on the R&B chart. It was also

popular in the U.K.

As their musical lives continued to be successful, Jodeci's personal lives began getting

thorny. The group always presented itself as a wilder alternative to Boyz II Men. But an

incident in which a woman charged K-Ci and DeVante with threats involving a weapon

and unwanted sexual advances brought the group's image too close to reality. Both men

pleaded guilty. Shortly after the episode, DeVante's house was robbed of more than

$160,000 in jewelry and clothes.

In 1995, Jodeci issued The Show, The After-Party, The Hotel, which went top 5 on

both sides of the Atlantic.

Other birthdays: Bobby Purify, 59; Rosalind Ashford (Martha and the Vandellas), 55; Mik

Kaminksi (Electric Light Orchestra), 47; John Zorn, 45; Fritz McIntyre (Simply Red), 42;

and Jerome Augustyniak (10,000 Maniacs), 40.