Lyfe Jennings (born Chester Jennings in Toledo, Ohio on June 3, 1973) is a platinum-selling American R&B and soul singer-songwriter, record producer, and instrumentalist. He plays the guitar, bass, and piano which he integrates into his music. The New York Times referred to him as a "socially minded R&B singer."
Lyfe started his musical career as a young boy in a church in Toledo, OH. His love for music led him to join a group that included two of his cousins and his older brother. After splitting, Lyfe continued his interest in music. As stated in the song "Ghetto Superman" The Phoenix, Lyfe lost his father at an early age. In 1992, at the age of 19, Lyfe went to prison. The time he spent in prison would soon turn his life around.
In 1992, Lyfe Jennings went to jail for arson. As Lyfe refers to many times in his music, he turned his life around while in jail. There, Lyfe continued to write music and rekindle his faith in God. Lyfe served a little over 10 years behind bars. The numbers "268-192" attached to the end of his debut album represent the identification number he was given while incarcerated.
Lyfe found his true love for music again while serving time in jail. "Deeper situations tend to lead to deeper music and prison was one of those deeper situations. (Music) gave me an opportunity to express emotions in an unemotional environment." He began to play the guitar, sing, write and even started a music program in the Ohio institution. Upon his December 2002 release he began seriously pursuing his solo career. He spent his second day of freedom recording a four-song CD and the third day performing at a club.
By January 2003, Lyfe had showcased his talent to a nation-wide audience on "Showtime In Harlem" (The Apollo). He received a standing ovation for his acoustic performance of original material, and made his mark by winning the amateur competition five times. "I felt blessed just knowing that at least somebody appreciated my struggle, my experience and my life." During his success at the Apollo, Lyfe began to independently sell his EP "What Is Love". Two songs from the EP, "What Is Love" & "She Got Kids" , garnered regular spins at local radio, which aided in the sale of thousands of EPs.
To add to Lyfe's success, calls began to pour in from countless agents, promoters and record labels, which prompted the Ohio native to move to NYC to make his dream come true. Soon after Lyfe arrived in New York, he wrote and co-produced a song for a major label, made a cameo in a music video, appeared in publications and performed many solo shows and opening acts for major recording artists, including the most memorable opener in front of a sold out crowd at Radio City Music Hall for Hip-Hop star Nelly, and his spontaneous serenade to New Yorkers during the October 14th blackout at The Cafeteria in Chelsea.
Other noteworthy venues and events include 2003 NBA All-Star events, NAACP Convention where he performed "Thank God for the NAACP" (an anthem he wrote for the organization), world famous B.B. King's Lounge & Grill, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Tennessee State University and a host of clubs and schools.
After much success with his debut, Lyfe begin to work on his second album. Lyfe became a mainstream artist and it showed with the well known producers and features that he had on his album. The name The Phoenix, refers to the Greek mythology Phoenix, symbolizing a rebirth, resurrection, or renewal. The anticipation of his new album led to many TV appearances, including Good Morning America. He is a good friend of Young Buck. Buck appeared on Lyfe's album on a song called "Slow Down" and in return, he appeared on Young Buck's album "Buck the World" on self-titled song.
Lyfe's newest album is "Lyfe Change" which was released in 2008.