After a 20-year hiatus, the harmonic R&B group, After 7 is back on the charts with another studio album, entitled Timeless. “The Day I Woke Up With You” made it to No. 3 on the R&B Charts. “If I,” written and produced by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Daryl Simmons, is currently being played on radio stations everywhere. This past Friday, After 7 performed in Chicago. The performance proved that the music of After 7 really is timeless.
August 24, 2018, it is 7:30 PM, and there is a long line in front of The Promontory Chicago in Hyde Park. Men and women are dressed to impress and waiting patiently for the doors to open. Fans walked in to the soulful sounds of R&B music and the distribution of orange Hennessy promotional samples. Fans found their assigned seats and the concert started promptly at 8:00 PM.
The show started with the Band on stage–keyboard, guitar, bass, drums, and a saxophonist who also played bongos, congas, and chimes. An instrumental of the Chicago Bulls theme song came on with vocals introducing the stars of the show. After 7 took the stage and the crowd applauded.
Kevon Edmonds, Melvin Edmonds [brothers of Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds] and Keith Mitchell [friend from Indiana University] are the original members of the group. Melvin [also known for his roles in The Five Heartbeats and the film Soul Food] no longer performs at shows with After 7. Melvin Edmond’s son Jason Edmonds performs in his father’s place. When Kevon, Jason, and Keith took the stage, the audience embraced Jason. Despite the age difference, Jason fit right in.
“Can’t Stop, How I Feel….” The Crowd went wild with excitement as After 7 belted out the lyrics to “Can’t Stop.” They also performed “Heat of the Moment,” “One Night,” “I Want You,” and then After 7 jumped off the stage and danced with audience members as they sang “Nights Like This,” from the 5 Heartbeats movie soundtrack. If that wasn’t exciting enough, something super special happened next.
The song “Earned it,” by The Weekend, came on through the speakers. After 7 showed the audience how R&B music has just evolved. They sang a few lyrics of the first verse of “Cause I Love You” by Lenny Williams and explained how “Earned It” was the same song. Audience members screamed once they made the connection. They also got an awesome response from the Chicago audience on their performance of the Curtis Mayfield song “Diamond In The Back.”
After 7 sang a medley of old hits arranged as one song. The song bytes included “Baby I’m For Real” [by The Originals], “Natural High” [originally performed by BloodStone], “You Got Me Going In Circles [Friends of Distinction]”. The medley ended in classic harmonic Doo-Wop fashion.
Kevon Edmonds spoke about the successes of After 7, before their 20-year hiatus and the climb of their current album, Timeless. The first single from their current album reached No. 6 on the charts. The second single, “Running Out,” climbed to No. 3 on the charts. “The Dragon that got in the way [of After 7 being in the top two spots],” Kevon said, “was No. 1”… and the beat dropped for the Bruno Mars song “That’s What I Like.” Kevon said, “the No. 2 song was”… and the music for “Stay Woke” by Childish Gambino came on [Redbone (Stay Woke) peaked at No. 2]. The 2nd single from the After 7 Timeless album “Running Out” peaked at No. 3 on the charts. After 7 is asking everyone to support the new single, “If I.” “Call the radio station and request the song ‘If I,’” said Kevon. “Chicago, we need your support.”
Yakira Levi is a published author, writer, and copywriter who has been published in various publications and media platforms. She has provided brand writing, publishing, and music journalism for more than 20 years. She also enjoys creating music, radio broadcasting, and presenting music, literacy and arts programming as the Executive Director of CORE Music Foundation (Not-For-Profit). Visit her online at: