Music Career of R&B Singer Avant

Often Compared to Others, His Style is His Own

Image © MCA Records.

Myron Lavell Avant, commonly known as Avant, is an American R&B singer and songwriter. He is best known for hits such as "Separated," "My First Love" and "Read Your Mind."

Childhood Influences

The youngest of six, Myron Avant was born on April 26, 1978, in Cleveland, Ohio. As a child, he watched his mother sacrifice and struggle to provide the best for her children. She encouraged Avant to develop his musical gifts and played classic R&B artists like Smokey Robinson, The Supremes and Marvin Gaye, who later influenced his creative direction.

At 14, Avant began writing his own songs. After graduating high school he worked a few factory jobs while still holding on to his dreams of music industry success.

Avant's Big Break

Avant's first success came in 1998 when he made his professional debut with the independent release of his first single “Separated,” which is based on his feelings following a failed romantic relationship. Radio stations embraced the song and the resulting buzz helped him land a deal at the now-defunct label, Magic Johnson Music.

His debut album, "My Thoughts," was released by MCA Records in 2000 and has sold more than 1.3 million copies in the United States and 4.4 million worldwide.

The release of "My Thoughts" also provided a second wind of publicity for "Separated," which went on to top the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The album also features a duet with the 1983 René & Angela classic "My First Love." Avant's version with R&B singer KeKe Wyatt was a sophisticated cut that cracked the Top 5 and helped boost Wyatt's career.

Career Milestones

In 2002, Avant released "Ecstasy," bolstered by the single "Makin' Good Love," which marked Avant's third Top Ten hit.

He followed up in 2003 with "Private Room." It peaked at No. 4 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and the single "Read Your Mind" peaked at No. 13 on the Hot 100.

"Director" was issued in 2006, soaring to No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 4 on the Billboard 200. Its three singles did not perform as well, none cracked the Top 40.

To keep the momentum going, "Avant" was released in 2008 and "The Letter" was released in 2010. Although both albums were successful, they failed to produce hits. He issued "Face the Music" in 2013, in which he reunited with KeKe Wyatt in the song, "You & I."

In September 2015, Avant released his eighth album, "The VIII," proving that he is an industry survivor.

Critical Backlash

Although successful, the singer has had to contend with the critical backlash that much of his style is borrowed from other R&B crooners, particularly R. Kelly. Though Avant's music was unquestionably well received, even he acknowledges that his musical gifts were not properly showcased in his earlier work.

One thing that does separate him from others is that his lyrics leave much to the listener's imagination, while some artists take a more graphic route. Unlike fellow artists who emerged during an era when R&B content was outdated, dirty or heavily influenced by pop, Avant never fell into one specific classification. His talent and dedication to churning out quality music have kept him relevant.

Musical Hit List

Discography