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Brand New Heavies Biography

Home > Music > B > Brand New Heavies > Biography

Birth Place: Ealing, London, England
Years Active: 1985–present
Genres: Acid Jazz, Funk, Jazz Rap

The Brand New Heavies is an acid jazz/funk group formed in Ealing, London in 1985. Original members include Jan Kincaid, Simon Bartholomew, Lascelles Gordon and Andrew Levy.

The group rose to prominence on the London club scene in the late 1980s, and released their debut single, “Got to Give,” in 1988 on the Cooltempo. 1990 saw the band sign with Acid Jazz Records and the addition of lead vocalist Jay Ella Ruth to the lineup. The Brand New Heavies’ self-titled debut album was released later that same year in the U.K.

1991 saw The Brand New Heavies switch labels and sign with Chrysalis Records in the U.K. with American distribution picked up by Delicious Vinyl in the U.S. Vocalist N-Dea Davenport joined the group that year and was featured as the lead vocalist on the international re-release of the band’s debut album. The album spawned the singles, “Dream Come True,” “Stay This Way” and “Never Stop.” “Never Stop” peaked at #54 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart and at #43 on the U.K. Singles chart.

1991 also saw the group perform in New York City with MC Serch from 3rd Bass and Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest. This experience influenced the group to incorporate hip-hop into their music, as seen on their second album, “Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. 1.” The album peaked at #49 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and included collaborations with Guru of Gang Starr and The Pharcyde, among others, but lacked any female vocals.

1994 saw the arrival of The Brand New Heavies third album, “Brother Sister,” peaking at #26 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart. This was the last album that Davenport would sing on until 2006. 1997 marked the release of their next album, “Shelter,” which peaked at #29 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart and featuring Siedah Garrett as lead vocalist. The album produced the minor hit in the cover of Carole King’s, “You’ve Got a Friend,” peaking at #9 on the U.K. Singles chart The track did not appear on the U.S. version of the album. The album also produced the hit, “Sometimes,” featuring Q-Tip on vocals, which peaked at #11 on the U.K. Singles chart and at #88 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.

The Brand New Heavies then released their greatest hits album, “Trunk Funk - The Best of The Brand New Heavies” in 2000 with Carleen Anderson on vocals for some newly recorded songs, followed by the Japan only album “We Won't Stop” in 2003 featuring a variety of vocalists and “Allaboutthefunk” in 2004 featuring British singer Nicole Russo on vocals.

The Brand New Heavies released a digital instrumental album called “Dunk Your Trunk” in 2011. Their eighth studio album, “Forward,” was released in 2013. Lead vocal duties on the album were divided evenly between N'Dea Davenport, who featured on the first single “Sunlight,” Jan Kincaid and Simon Bartholomew, making his debut as lead vocalist on this album, and new vocalist Dawn Joseph. While the album was produced by The Heavies themselves, as all their previous albums, there were also new collaborators, including song writers Johan Jones Wetterberg, Marc Jackson Burrows, Rita Campbell and Tim Laws and mixing engineer Toni Economides.