Parents of sultry R&B singers Jodeci want them to return to gospel roots

February 22, 1992|By Knight-Ridder News Service

You might think the sultry rhythm and blues vocal quartet Jodeci has it all.

Thousands of adoring female fans.

Financial success, including homes in exclusive Englewood, N.J.

And a future that promises more. Their debut album, "Forever My Lady," has sold 1.2 million copies, and their current single, "Stay," is No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart.

There's only one problem: The parents of two of them want them back home -- in Charlotte, N.C., -- singing the gospel music that inspired their career. "According to the word of God, it says if I raise 'em up by his word, they won't stray as adults. I think they'll be back," says the Rev. Donald DeGrate, father of group members Dalvin, 20, whose stage name is Mr. Dalvin, and Donald DeGrate, 21 (stage name: DeVante Swing).

Their parents, Donald, 50, and Mary, 45, believe God would rather have their sons inspiring new believers with gospel music, instead of inspiring new lovers with spend-the-night ballads like "Stay."

The DeGrates have never listened to Jodeci's platinum-selling album. "They would rather us be in church no matter how much success we have," said Dalvin. "I respect them for that. They never liked R&B music before, and they won't bend just because we're their kids."

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