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Championed by MCA Records in 2000 as "the new voice of ghetto soul," Avant has exceeded expectations as a consistent slow jam technician across two full decades. Throughout the 2000s, the mature R&B singer/songwriter put together a streak of five Top Ten R&B/hip-hop albums supported by an equal number of Top 40 pop hits including "Separated" (2000), "Makin' Good Love" (2002), and "Read Your Mind" (2003). After a subsequent short phase with Verve, Avant returned to the R&B/hip-hop Top Ten as an independent artist with Face the Music (2013) and The VIII (2015). He has since remained committed to soul-rooted contemporary R&B with Can We Fall in Love (2020).

Cleveland native Myron Lavell Avant debuted in 1998 with "I Wanna Know," released on Paytown, operated by manager Eric Payton. The track became a regional hit around the label's Chicago home base and led to the first artist deal with Magic Johnson's MCA-affiliated Magic Johnson Music. Avant's first MJM/MCA recording, "Separated," appeared on MCA's Summer Heat 1999, Vol. 1 compilation and was issued as a single the following April. The song topped the R&B/hip-hop chart, crossed into the pop Top 40, and led the full-length My Thoughts. Apart from a duet with Keke Wyatt on a Top 40 cover of René & Angela's 1983 quiet storm classic "My First Love," Avant and producer Steve Huff co-wrote each song on the album, which eventually went platinum.

Avant released three more albums through MJM. Each one yielded a big single. Ecstasy, issued in 2002, was propelled by "Makin' Good Love," the singer's third Top Ten R&B/hip-hop single. The sprawling Private Room, distributed by Geffen instead of MCA, brought yet another Top Ten R&B hit in 2003 with "Read My Mind." Three years later, Director repeated the feat with the equally successful "4 Minutes." A move to another major label, Capitol, did not impede Avant's momentum. A self-titled album in 2008 peaked in the R&B/hip-hop Top Ten, just like Avant's four previous albums, yet the singer moved again, this time to Verve Forecast, for the 2010 release The Letter.

The singer set up his own label, Mo-B Entertainment, and formally launched it in 2013 with Face the Music. The set featured another appearance from Keke Wyatt, with whom he scored another duet hit, "You & I," his second R&B/hip-hop chart-topper. The VIII arrived two years later and became Avant's seventh entry in the Top Ten of the R&B/hip-hop chart. Following an extended break, he returned in 2019 with the single "Not Gone Lose," and after another preview in early 2020, "Edible," he issued album number nine, Can We Fall in Love. ~ Andy Kellman

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