Jodeci got their start in Charlotte on Furious Black Family Gospel Songs, a compilation album. On that album were the DeGrates and the Haileys, two sets of brothers: Cedric and Joel Hailey with Donald and Dalvin DeGrate from Charlotte.
After this release, Donald DeGrate, known as “DeVante,” recorded a song in Charlotte that Joel Hailey, known as JoJo, was performing. DeGrate and JoJo traveled to New York City with their brothers Cedric (known as K-Ci) and Dalvin, known as Mr. Dalvin to look for a record deal. Hip Hop producer Heavy D, whose group Heavy D & The Boyz was signed to Uptown records, convinced the label to sign the brother group, who chose the name Jodeci from a combination of the names of the group’s original members: Jo-Jo, DeVante, and K-Ci.
At Uptown, Sean “Puffy” Combs, an executive with the label, was in charge of developing the act and created a hip-hop-based image. The group sang background vocals for recordings by Ralph Tresvant and Jasmine Guy and made their performing debut on an episode of “Soul Train” in June, 1991.
Jodeci has been influenced by new jack swing pioneers Keith Sweat and Teddy Riley, the group Guy, as well as legendary performers Bobby Womack, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Bobby Brown and the New Edition. Jodeci has associated with and influenced artists such as Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Nealante, Ginuwine, Playa, Suga and Darryl Pearson.
Jodeci’s recordings have been sampled by Mariah Carey in “Forever My Lady,” “Makin’ It Last Night” and “Bring On Da Funk.” From their gospel roots in Charlotte to their bad boy hip hop image in new jack swing, Jodeci has risen to become key members of the hip-hop community and influential African-American artists on the New York scene.