By Matt Clizbe
As it has been widely reported this week, we wanted to utilize the return of our #TBT column to acknowledge the untimely death of After 7 singer Melvin Edmonds. Melvin passed away on Saturday May 18th. His death was announced by the surviving members of After 7 on Facebook this past Monday. He was 65 years old.
To understand his story, all one needs to do is trace the lineage of the Edmonds family name, and a wealth of era defining R&B acclaim can be found. This is because the story of After 7 is a testament to how the blend of timing and talent helped shape the direction of a genre with little more than a love for music. Casual music fans may see the name Edmonds most from its frequent attachment to the moniker of Babyface. This is because Melvin is the older brother of singer/songwriter/producer, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. However, when he and brother Kevon formed After 7 with Keith Mitchell in 1988, they were able to show a generation of R&B lovers that these hit making skills came natural to the entire family.
With the help of a well placed connection, and guidance from Antonio ‘LA’ Reid and Babyface, Melvin and his working class crew of Indianapolis crooners were able to score a deal with Virgin Records sight unseen. This resulted in a string of hits that spanned across 2 platinum albums and a gold album between 1989 and 1995. Fans will remember the likes of “Can’t Stop,” “Ready or Not” and “Heat of the Moment.” as some key examples of the group’s biggest hits. All of them broke into the top 5, with “Ready Or Not” and “Can’t Stop” topping the R&B chart.
Their self titled debut served as what became their career defining sound, and despite some eventual disagreement with Virgin about their promotional direction, lead to several career standouts like remaking the Marvin Gaye penned classic, “Baby I’m For Real”, and allowing them to notably impact soundtracks for 1991’s Five Heartbeats, and later in 1997’s Soul Food, as part of the fictional Babyface lead supergroup Milestone. Although it served as part of the movie’s subplot for actor Michael Beach’s character Miles, Milestone, which partnered Melvin with group members, K-ci, Jojo, and his brothers Babyface and Kevon, also gave them a break through with an off screen hit called “Care About You,” which hit the top 10 before their disbanding later that year.
Following his years in mainstream music, and a checkered history with substances, Melvan actively took steps to change his life by becoming a trucker to support his family. This is unfortunately until his health took a turn for the worse when he suffering a stroke in 2011. This caused things to change for a revived version of After 7, leaving a path for his son Jason to step into his dad’s shoes on tour. In spite of the difficulties, this inspired the expanded “2016” version of After 7, to released a reunion record as a foursome for Entertainment One Music called Timeless.
His death was “unexpected,” After 7 said in its Facebook post, saying, “We the group After 7 are deeply hurt and saddened by the unexpected, sudden loss of our brother, friend & Jason’s father, Melvin D. Edmonds, age 65 on Saturday, May 18, 2019. …
“We are doing our best to cope and thank you for your understanding in giving us the time we need during these very difficult days.”
Our hearts are with Melvin’s friends and family. Please join us in remembering the life and career of Melvin Edmonds as we use this week’s #ThrowbackThursday to celebrate the hits of After 7 below.
Rest in peace Melvin.
Thank you for the music!
“Heat Of The Moment”
“Ready Or Not”
“Baby I’m For Real”
From: Takin’ My Time