Born: March 10, 1982
Birthplace: Indianapolis, IN
Zodiac Sign: Pisces
Ke'Tara Shavon "Keke" Wyatt is an American R&B singer and television personality. After performing in a number of girl bands and working as a songwriter during her teenage years, in 2001 she garnered national attention after her successful collaboration with fellow R&B singer Avant, In 2002, her rendition of "Nothing in This World" led to a nomination for the Best New R&B/Soul/Rap Artist award at the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards. After a number of charting collaborations and solo releases, in 2012 she starred as a cast member in TV One's R&B Divas: Atlanta, which featured the lives of five 1990s chart-topping R&B singers. She was featured in all 3 seasons of the show. She also performed with the group at events such as Essence Music Festival.
In her career, Wyatt released four official studio albums, including Soul Sista (2001), Who Knew? (2010), Unbelievable (2011), and her latest and recent release, Rated Love (2016). All of these albums charted prominently on Billboard, as did her first and only EP release, Ke'Ke' (2014). Wyatt has also released a number of charting singles, with her lead single "Sexy Song," from the album Rated Love, peaking at number 29 on the Adult R&B Songs chart. After getting involved with a number of non-profits, Wyatt served as a spokesperson for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).
Wyatt was born to Lorna Wyatt (a vocalist) and Keever Wyatt II (an organist and also a vocalist). Ke'Tara "Keke" Wyatt was raised in a musical family rooted in gospel music.. She has four brothers. Despite her religious background, Wyatt was also exposed to Contemporary R&B and secular music, and she would perform with her vocals in genres as diverse as gospel, pop and opera. Wyatt began singing at the age of 2, experiencing her first live show by the age of 5. While of mixed white and black heritage, Wyatt and her four brothers, who were raised in a predominantly African-American household and community setting, identify as African-American. In addition to her parents' and maternal grandparents' interracial marriages, Wyatt's paternal grandmother is part Cherokee. Wyatt grew up in Indianapolis, but also spent time in both Kentucky and Texas. She attended high school in Indianapolis, where she was a member of her high school's varsity wrestling team. As she grew, her musical tastes were influenced by the likes of R&B greats like Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and Ella Fitzgerald. Inspired by many preceding musical greats, Wyatt found herself performing with various girl groups as a teen. She was often recognized for a maturity exceeding her teenage years.
Wyatt's professional career began at the age of 10, when she began recording a song, called "What If", which would be included on a gospel compilation album for Indianapolis-based R.H. Duncan. With growing buzz surrounding "the little girl who could sing," news of Wyatt's talent lead her to encounter with these artists from the likes of Bill Woodson, Nathan Alexander, Billy Badd, Chris Kelly, and multi-platinum producer, composer Jorge Corante and Emmanuel Officer. During the years of adolescence, Wyatt became as a student of a school by the Chicago-based producer and songwriter Steve "Stone" Huff. Huff eventually produced and shopped a few of Wyatt's demos in hopes of landing her a record deal. During her mid-teens, she performed demo songs for various gospel labels, earning around $1,500 per recording. During that time, Keke extended her skills by also writing music as a teenager, and while she was writing some music, Keke would experience her first coldly dealt disappointment as a music industry professional. She wrote the majority of the lyrics for a hit song but received no credit for her work.
At age fifteen, Wyatt recorded "My First Love" with Avant which was released two years later, eventually becoming a single for his album entitled My Thoughts. Wyatt gained much notoriety for the remake of the 1980s ballad by Rene & Angela. Its success, remaining in the top 10 for several weeks, resulted in a solo album contract with MCA Records. With the help of the late MCA Records executive Louil Silas, her friend and A&R Randy Jackson, whom she met at age twelve, and former Boyz II Men manager Quadri El Amin, Wyatt recorded her first album within two weeks time.
Her first single, "Used to Love," helped to create buzz but failed to achieve radio play, though it did chart at No. 65 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The follow-up single "Nothing in This World", her second duet with Avant, charted higher on a number of Billboard charts, including No. 4 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and No. 35 on the Rhythmic Top 40 chart.
Soul Sista, her solo debut in 2001, a platinum album, was released on November 13, 2001. It held a top 5 position for several weeks on the Billboard 200. Selling more than one million copies, Wyatt's fan-base broadened to audiences in Japan, Korea and Europe. On December 11, 2001, Wyatt was interviewed. During that interview, Wyatt said that she was a founding member of an early incarnation of Destiny's Child, called "The Dolls" and that she was later replaced by Beyoncé. In 2002, her rendition of "Nothing in This World" led to a nomination for Best New R&B/Soul/Rap Artist at the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards.
In 2012, Wyatt was cast in TV One's R&B Divas which features the lives of five 1990s chart-topping R&B singers including Wyatt, Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert, Monifah and Syleena Johnson. The show documents the singers living in Atlanta, Georgia as they work towards rebuilding their careers. The first episode aired on August 20, 2012.
Throughout the show, R&B Divas singers collaborated on a charity album commemorating the life of Whitney Houston, featuring the single "Love Yourself" which is also featured in the TV show's introduction. Proceeds of the album went towards benefiting organizations committed to improving the lives of women. She performed at the 2012 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans along with the other cast-members of R&B Divas, and according to Erika Ramirez of Billboard in a ranking of the top ten performances at the festival, "Keke Wyatt's cover of Houston's 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' left the audience in awe even after the performance." After the initial season of R&B Divas, Wyatt appeared in the two following seasons as well, when the show was renamed to R&B Divas: Atlanta.
In 2013, she collaborated with Avant on their hit "You & I," which peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Urban A/C chart, and remained there close to two months. "You & I" also reached No. 33 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
In May 2014, Wyatt released her first EP titled Ke'Ke', through The NorthStar Group and her own imprint Aratek Entertainment. The imprint is her birth name backwards, and is also meant as a stand-in for the word erotic.
The EP featured songwriters and producers such as Neyo, Chuck Harmony, Claude Kelly, and Cristyle, while other guest artists include Pusha T on the track "Rain," and Nitty Scott in "Remember." Overall, the EP contains five newly-written and produced songs, and the single "Fall in Love" reached No. 120 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 17 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. As of June 2014, the EP held the 191st position on the Billboard 200 album chart. On the R&B Albums chart, the EP peaked at No. 12 in late June 2014, and it also reached No. 35 on the Independent Albums chart.
In August 2014, Wyatt made a cameo in fellow R&B Divas co-star Faith Evans' music video "I Deserve It", featuring Missy Elliott and Sharaya J. Later that year, Wyatt was featured as a vocalist on the track "Make Love" by Faith Evans.
In the fall of 2015, she signed a multi-album distribution deal for her Aratek Entertainment company with INgrooves Music Group, announcing upcoming promo singles. On November 20, 2015, she released her new R&B single "Sexy Song." The track is set to be the lead single from her upcoming album Rated Love, which will be released through Aratek Entertainment on April 22, 2016. "Sexy Song" was at No. 26 and trending upward on the Adult R&B Songs chart as of early December 2015. "Love Me" was released as the albums second single on March 18, 2016.
On July 28, 2017, Wyatt released the lead single "Summertime" taken from her upcoming fifth studio album Country Fried Soul.
Wyatt has served as a spokesperson for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). As spokesperson, she shares her experience as a long-term victim of domestic abuse. She is also a supporter of the Saving our Daughters organization.