Kenny Lattimore has been known primarily for smooth, low-key R&B ballads throughout a career spanning three decades, highlighted by his 1996 breakthrough single "Never Too Busy," Grammy recognition, and several Top 20 R&B albums. The singer and songwriter, born and raised in Washington, D.C., grew up in a musical family. Before he reached his teens, he won talent shows at his junior high school, and throughout high school performed material ranging from classical to R&B. Despite his love for music, he pursued architecture and city planning when he enrolled at nearby Howard University.
Even though he wasn't majoring in music, he hadn't given it up, and joined the vocal group Maniquin during his freshman year. Maniquin signed with Epic in 1987 and two years later released an album featuring production from Charlie Wilson and Ronnie Wilson (of the Gap Band) and Charlie Singleton (of Cameo). After a year of touring with Maniquin, Lattimore left and wrote songs recorded by Glenn Jones and Jon Lucien. He also sang on a demo by Dem Twinzz, which attracted the interest of major labels, but he opted to seek success alone. Shortly thereafter, a solo demo led to a recording contract with Columbia.
Lattimore's 1996 self-titled debut album, featuring production by Kenneth and Keith Crouch, Kipper Jones, and Dave Hall, among others, included six songs he co-wrote. Supported by the number 19 R&B/hip-hop hit "Never Too Busy" and Grammy-nominated number six R&B/hip-hop hit "For You," it was a steady seller over the next year, eventually certified gold by the RIAA. The 1998 follow-up From the Soul of Man offered even more original songs as well as a few covers, including a sensual version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." Lattimore then moved to the Arista label, where he released Weekend in 2001 and then teamed up with wife Chanté Moore for the 2003 Top Five R&B/hip-hop hit Things That Lovers Do, on which the couple offered covers and a pair of originals. Co-released by LaFace and Verity, the 2006 double album Uncovered/Covered likewise combined interpretations with originals and alternated between secular love songs and contemporary gospel.
Lattimore returned as a solo artist on Verve in 2008, when he released the all-covers Timeless. Songs by Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, Jeff Buckley, and Eddie Floyd were among among the source material. After five years away from the recording studio — a period during which he and Moore divorced — Lattimore returned in 2013 with the originals-oriented Back 2 Cool. Given a low-profile release, it was subsequently reworked into 2015's wider-distributed Anatomy of a Love Song, which featured all ten of its songs plus four new tracks. After he recorded a seasonal album for Motown Gospel, A Kenny Lattimore Christmas, Lattimore went independent in 2017 with Vulnerable. ~ Andy Kellman & Stephen Thomas Erlewine