Born Angela Grant on November 24th into a family of five, singer Angel Grant sang in the church choir and school while growing up in Columbus, GA. Her demo tape found its way to mega-producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and Grant signed with the duo's Flyte Tyme Records in 1997. Her first single, "Lil' Red Boat," was released in May 1998.
Her debut CD Album was released on July 2, 1998, as the first release from Flyte Tyme Records distributed through Uptown/Universal. With contributions from frequent Jam & Lewis collaborator Big Jim Wright, Alex Richbourg ,bassist Paul Johnson, and Stevie Wonder, Album is an exceptional debut for both Grant and Jam & Lewis' label. Album is refreshingly retro and eclectic and allows the singer to exhibit her personality; Grant co-wrote all the songs with the producers and Wright. At times, Grant sounds like Janet Jackson, who was formerly produced by Jam and Lewis, and like Jackson's Control, Album can be played all the way through. The CD's overall sound could be described as organic because the tracks flow into each other, both literally (there are no audio gaps) and musically.
Besides Jam & Lewis' trademark strong melodies, Album has positive and playful lyrics: "The lights are on but there's nobody home/He's dumb, but he's cute/He's dumb, but he's so cute" from "Knockin'." All involved seemed to want to record an album as opposed to a collection of singles. Standout tracks are "Lil' Red Boat," the album opener "Hey You," the lilting slow jam "Kisses Luv Lips" (reminiscent of Patrice Rushen and Roy Ayers), the introspective "Illusions" and "Deeper," the rock guitar-laced self-reliance anthem "Anyway" ("Mama told me never to give a man more respect than I give to myself/and if I hang with losers I'll never win"), the tentative "Well, Okay, I'll Say It (I'm 'N Luv With U)" (featuring the wistful harmonica of Stevie Wonder) ,the sweetly romantic "Whenever You Cry," "Live Your Life," and the strings-drenched ballad "I Love You."
In winter 1999, "Lil' Red Boat" (the "Big Jim Mix") from the 12" version became a favorite with the steppers crowd in Chicago and other markets. Residing in Minnesota, Grant is no longer signed to Flyte Tyme but still is pursuing a career in the arts. ~ Ed Hogan