Simon Bartholomew, guitarist. Born Oct. 16, 1965 in Ealing, West London, England.
N'Dea Davenport, vocals. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jan Kinkaid, drummer/keyboardist. Born May 17, 1966 in Ealing, West London, England.
Andrew Levy, bassist/keyboardist. Born July 20, 1966 Ealing, West London, England.
The Early Years:
The Brand New Heavies formed in 1985 in Ealing, a suburb of London, England. Originally an instrumental rare groove group, the Heavies gained a cult following in the London club scene. After an earlier recording deal with the Cooltempo label, the band signed with the fledgling indie label Acid Jazz; the group's self-titled LP, recorded on a budget of about $3,700, appeared in 1990 to strong critical acclaim, resulting in a licensing deal with the American label Delicious Vinyl.
Delicious Vinyl hand-picked N'Dea Davenport as the band's vocalist, and the Heavies re-recorded tracks from their debut for their first U.S. effort (also self-titled), which was released in 1992. The single "Never Stop" eventually landed on the American R&B charts. In the summer of 1992, they began experimenting with Hip-Hop and recorded Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. 1, an album including guest appearances by numerous rappers, including Main Source, Gang Starr, Grand Puba and the Pharcyde.
N'Dea Leaves the Group:
In 1994, the Heavies released Brother Sister, which went platinum in Britain. But after that, Davenport left the band to pursue a solo career -- something she had been wanting to do all along. She was replaced by singer Siedah Garrett for the band's 1997 album, Shelter. In 1999, the group released a best-of album in Europe called Trunk Funk: The Best of the Brand New Heavies; A similarly-titled album, Trunk Funk Classics 1991-2000, was released in the US in 2000.
More Singer Problems:
The Heavies subsequently released a number of singles featuring singer Carleen Anderson, then in 2004 came the album Allaboutthefunk, featuring Nicole Russo on vocals. In 2005, the Brand New Heavies reunited with N'Dea Davenport as well as the band's former label, Delicious Vinyl. A new album, Get Used to It, was released in June, 2006.
The Final Word:
"There is something unique about the Brand New Heavies that has to do with the make-up and at the same time is greater than that. We've been together so long that we have the grounding and the history. We started as a live band and did it hard just playing clubs, pubs, anywhere that would have us, for a long time before we got a record deal, so we weren't just centered around a record and that's the way it should be." -- Jan Kinkaid, drummer/keyboardist, The Brand New Heavies.