Luther Vandross was born April 20, 1951, in New York, into a family of gospel and soul singers. He began playing piano at age 3 and formed his first group while still in school.
After a stint in the musical-theater workshop Listen My Brother, Vandross was invited by guitarist Carlos Alomar, a workshop friend, to sing on David Bowie's Young Americans (1975). Vandross ended up arranging many of the LP's backing vocals and co-wrote the popular "Fascination" (RealAudio excerpt) with Bowie.
The next phase of Vandross' career was spent as an in-demand session singer for such artists as Chaka Khan, Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand. He was signed by Cotillion Records as part of the vocal group Luther, but the band's two disco-flavored LPs flopped.
Vandross' work as guest vocalist for the group Change led to a solo contract with Epic/CBS Records. He soon had a #1 R&B hit with "Never Too Much," followed by the similarly successful "Stop to Love" and "There's Nothing Better than Love" (with Gregory Hines).
Almost all of Vandross' albums have become smash R&B hits. Any Love (1988) and Power of Love (1991) went top-10 pop as well. In 1989, Vandross had a top-10 pop hit with "Here and Now." Two years later he enjoyed a top-five pop smash with "Power of Love/Love Power" (RealAudio excerpt).
As a producer, Vandross' credits include Aretha Franklin's Jump to It and records for Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross, Teddy Pendergrass and Whitney Houston.
Vandross had a #2 smash duet with Mariah Carey, "Endless Love," from his Songs (1994). His most recent LP of new material, I Know (1998), featured vocals by Cassandra Wilson and was nominated for a 1999 Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance.