Jodeci is one of the most successful R&B groups that has helped redefine the sound of music ever since its four members first hit the scene in the early 1990s.
However, if it was initially up to Joel “JoJo” Hailey, the musical quartet would have been a duo.
The “Special” singer’s brother and former bandmate, K-Ci Hailey, shared this revelation during a discussion with fellow singers Tank and J. Valentine on their “R&B Money” podcast. At the 18-minute mark, K-Ci recounted the first time he heard JoJo on a track with their future bandmate, DeVanté Swing.
Swing’s brother, Dalvin DeGrate, is also a part of the popular group.
According to K-Ci, he was in Baltimore at the time in an attempt to get his own group back together. While there, the 53-year-old answered a phone call from his younger sibling. “And he’s playing something on the um phone,” K-Ci said.
He continued, “I said, ‘Yo that sounds good, who is that?’ He said, ‘Yo, that’s me and Don man.’ I said, ‘For real, y’all did that?’ He said, ‘Yeah,’ I said, ‘Yeah man, it’s tight.’ ”
K-Ci claims his little brother could already tell that an idea was cooking in his head because JoJo told him, “ ‘Don’t even think about it. Stay in Baltimore, get your Hailey singers together.’ ”
Tank, Valentine, and K-Ci instantly burst into laughter. “I got my own thing,” Tank jokingly said, to which K-Ci quickly agreed. “That’s exactly what he said, Tank! I got my own thing.”
K-Ci then shared that he called his mom and dad right after listening to JoJo and Swing’s tune. “I said, ‘I’m ready to come home,’ ” he recounted.
The crooner continued, “I told my Hailey singers, ‘Hey, look y’all, I’m going back to Charlotte; this ain’t gonna work.’ ”
When he got back to his hometown, K-Ci noted that JoJo was “heated,” but it didn’t take long before the two sets of brothers began vibing with one another.
An intrigued J. Valentine then asked K-Ci if his brother was serious about excluding him from the group, and K-Ci not only confirmed that but also said that Swing did not want his younger brother to join his and JoJo’s group either.
“But JoJo wanted Dalvin, DeVanté wanted me,” K-Ci disclosed.
The vocal powerhouse credited JoJo for coming up with a plan that made everyone satisfied. “If you want my brother to sing, you gotta let your brother in the group,” K-Ci remembered.
Once the foursome finally came to a consensus, they began recording demos and placing themselves into different spaces of opportunities.
This past February, K-Ci and JoJo joined each other at the Theatre at MGM National Harbor in Washington, D.C., where they performed their 1993 hit “Lately.”
During their performance, JoJo had to be escorted out by K-Ci after struggling to sing. The 52-year-old has previously battled with alcoholism and issues with his pancreas.