*From the mid-1980s through the 1990s, very few singing groups dominated the R&B music charts more than the trio known as “LeVert.”
The group charted such top-hits as “(Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind,” “Casanova,” “Baby I’m Ready,” “Addicted to You,” “Just Coolin,” just to name a few.
These and other songs helped “LeVert” separate itself from other ensembles of the era. Such separation meant “LeVert” could be counted on to deliver the best in “unadulterated R&B songs strictly for grownups.”
Originally formed in Cleveland, Ohio, the group was comprised of Gerald LeVert (lead vocalist), brother, Sean LeVert, and longtime friend and group co-founder, Marc Gordon. The LeVert brothers’ father is Eddie LeVert, the legendary lead vocalist of the storied R&B/soul group, “O’Jays.”
While the group “LeVert” was riding the high waves of success, the death of Gerald in November, 2006 stunned the world of music, and greatly changed the dynamics of the group. Gordon and Sean LeVert would ultimately carry on, after adding the vocal styling of Blaq Rose. Following the death of Gerald, Gordon recalled that some decisions needed to be made, one of which was the group’s name.
“I really was for changing the name of the group completely,” Gordon told EURweb’s Lee Bailey during a recent interview. “But Sean said that we needed to keep the name ‘LeVert’ and just add to it. And he was right, because ‘LeVert’ was the name and brand that we had built over the years.”
In March, 2008, the group was dealt another blow when Sean died, leaving the group without anyone named LeVert. Gordon was asked about how he dealt with the passing of both Gerald and Sean LeVert.
“At first I couldn’t believe it about either of them,” said Gordon. “It was very emotional. It was, and still is to this day, very rough on me.”
Following Sean’s death, Gordon again thought about changing the group’s name.
“It’s been an ongoing debate among various entities and people saying that we should change the name,” said Gordon, an award-winning multi-platinum songwriter and music producer. “However, it was a no-brainer to carry on the name of the group that I helped co-found. Although my name is not LeVert, my thing was to carry on the legacy of the group by bringing in new talent and voices.”
Today, “LeVert2” is carrying on the legacy of what Gerald, Sean, and Marc began in the mid-1980s. “LeVert2” consists of Gordon, along with Youngstown, Ohio native and vocalist, Blaq Rose, and Lima, Ohio native and vocalist, Parrice Smith. Earlier this year, the group released its debut single, “Commit.”
While Rose and Smith have filled some big shoes left by the demise of the LeVert brothers, Rose and Smith are by no means unknown in the music industry. Rose, who was once signed by Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Records, has produced several platinum songs for recording artists “K-C & JoJo.” He has also worked with recording artists Anthony Hamilton and Christina Milian, among others.
Smith has performed with such artists as Tank, “Guy,” and has worked with several award-winning producers. Smith, along with writing partner, Ja’ire Hattley, co-wrote “Commit.” Gordon, in addition to his association with “LeVert” and “LeVert2,” has achieved success as a songwriter and music producer for such recording artists as Anita Baker, Stephanie Mills, the Rude Boys, Men At Large, and many others.
Currently, “LeVert2” is in the studio, putting the finishing touches on a full-length LP (album).
“We have several more songs to complete,” explained Gordon. “So sometime this summer, the album should be ready. However, for now, it’s about getting some attention. It’s about getting some looks and ears on what we are doing. It’s about getting some spins on ‘Commit,’ and building on the single.”
Gordon admits, there are challenges that “LeVert2” faces, such as some diehard “LeVert’ fans not readily connecting with “LeVert2” because there’s no Gerald, no Sean, and no one else in the group named LeVert. Yet, Gordon, Rose, and Smith are all optimistic that “LeVert” fans, as well as younger R&B fans, will gravitate to “LeVert2” for the original group’s songs, and the current group’s new music and live shows.
“Don’t shy away from coming to see ‘LeVert2’ perform,” said Rose. “Come with an open mind and just party with us.” Smith added, “We promise that you’ll love what you hear, and love what you see.”
With the success of the “New Edition” biopic that aired earlier this year on BET, could something similar be in the works for the “LeVert” story?
“It’s been kicked around,” said Gordon, who is also the founder of Saving Our Entertainers Lives (SEOL) Foundation, an organization that raises awareness of the deadly perils of prescription drugs abused by entertainers and other people. “All the pieces would have to fall in place, but I would love to see it happen. As black artists, we have to tell and celebrate more of our stories and history.”
For more information about “LeVert2,” log on to the group’s official website at www.levert2.com. The single “Commit” is available for purchase on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and all other major online music platforms.