Born October 5, 1969, in Milwaukee,WI, the youngest of five children, Eric would join his brother and three sisters around the house in vocal jam sessions as they tried to mimic the vocal harmonies of the Sylvers ("I Wish That I Could Talk to You," "Boogie Fever") and other groups of the day. Around 1984, Eric began writing songs with his cousin, guitarist George Nash Jr. After high school, Eric started performing with Gerard and his sister Lisa Marie Jordan with the band Beat Crazy. After a few years, Eric and his sister became the singing duo Benet.
After three years of recording demos, the duo attended the Jack the Rapper convention in Atlanta, an annual music business event. After winning a contest, Benet sang in front of singing stars and hit producers. Their big break came when record producer/songwriter Sami McKinney helped to get them a deal with Capitol/EMI. When they were completed, McKinney took the demos to Capitol. Unfortunately just as their self-titled album Benet was issued, EMI began going through serious restructuring. One single, "I Only Want to Be With You," produced by Bryan Loren, charted at number 69 R&B in fall 1992 while the second single, a splendid cover of the Carpenters' "Rainy Days and Mondays," went unnoticed. Lisa Jordan returned to private life while Eric pressed on.
Alison Ball-Gabriel, the EMI executive who signed Benet, helped Eric to get jobs singing background vocals on various recording sessions and to connect him with various songwriting partners. One of the producers on the Benet CD, keyboardist/recording artist Jeff Lorber got Eric background vocal gigs on his production projects as well as on his own releases and on his tours. Just as Eric began recording tracks for his own album, Alison Ball-Gabriel became the vice president of Black Music A&R at Warner Bros.
The majority of his Warner Bros. debut, True to Myself, was recorded in Milwaukee. Eric co-wrote and produced most of the tracks with George Nash Jr. and keyboardist Demonté. Christian Warren produced the single "Femininity." Roger Troutman of Zapp & Roger showcased his formidable vocoder ("robotized vocals") skills on a slammin' cover of Sly and the Family Stone's "If You Want Me to Stay." Other singles were "Spiritual Thang" and "Let's Stay Together." True to Myself was a big success and brought Eric to the attention of saxophonist Jimmy Sommers. He wanted the sound and vibe of his first CD to be a combination of '70s soul and '90s production sheen. Meeting him backstage after a concert, Sommers made the trek from Chicago to Milwaukee to talk to Benet and his cousin/producer George Nash Jr. about working with him on his premier release. Sommers' CD James Cafe, initially released on his own Gemini Records label, was picked up for distribution by Universal Music with a remix of one track, "Promise Me," receiving strong airplay at both urban and NAC radio.
Eric Benet's second album, A Day in the Life was issued on April 27, 1999. Critically acclaimed for its fresh songwriting and production and certified gold, it spawned the following hit singles: a cover of Toto's "Georgy Porgy" with Faith Evans; "Spend My Life With You," a million-selling duet with Tamia; and "When You Think of Me" featuring Roy Ayers. Eric Benet's original song, "You Sing to Me," is on singer Raven's debut. In spring of 2000, Eric Benet Jordan was engaged to actress Halle Berry. On the Essence Awards, televised on the Fox network, Benet sang "Spend My Life With You" on bended knee to a tearful Berry.
Eric Benet Jordan-related releases are Michael Franks' Dragonfly Summer Something for the People-This Time It's Personal and the movie soundtrack The Ride. ~ Ed Hogan, Rovi