Leon Sylvers

*Throughout the mid-70’s, The Sylvers, were the golden group of pop and R&B. Much like the Jacksons and the Osmonds, the highly charismatic, singing family became a popular fixture responsible for chart-toppers like “Boogie Fever,” “Hot Line,” and “High School Dance,” among other hit singles. Just as the group reached the pinnacle of their success, the group’s leader [and its creative force], eldest brother, Leon, left the group to pursue producing opportunities with Solar Records. His departure triggered a creative crisis, which left the group without direction that caused them to disband in 1985.

Now the subject of the popular of “Unsung” series, the family is in the process of a comeback with new music that reflects where they currently are in their lives. The Robertson Treatment recently spoke with big brother Leon to catch up with them.

Robertson Treatment: So how are your siblings?

Leon Sylvers: Unfortunately, two of our brothers (Christopher and Edmund) have passed on and Foster and Joseph are in the process of rebuilding their lives. The rest of us have moved on with our lives and are doing fine. My brother James works in security and one of my sisters has become a paralegal and another is studying to an active minister in her church.  As for myself, I am still creating good music and producing.  Currently, I am producing along with my son tracks for the new Gladys Knight CD. We are also completing two projects with the family.

RT: What can you tell me about the family projects?

LS: Well, one is a Christian project and the other secular music. With both projects, we all had a good time coming together creatively and hope to gain the support of our old fans and new ones with these projects.

RT:  What caused you to split with your family?

LS:  All of us were having growing pains, and it didn’t help matters that we had a manager stealing from us. One of our sisters had already left the group when she turned 18 and there was an age dilemma since half of us looked much older than the rest. Bottom line was that the manager wanted me out of the group and so with other opportunities on the table I decided to leave rather than fall out with the family. I had been talking with Dick Griffey (founder/president of Solar Records) and he wanted me to work with Shalamar and some of the other groups on his roster, so that was the direction that I went.

RT: Tell us about the Solar days?

LS: Those were great times for the most part. Both creatively and commercially, the work I did with Shalmar, The Whispers, Carrie Lucas and Midnight Star, among others. I also worked with Teddy Riley on the Blackstreet project and with New Kids on the Block. But eventually after so many years working on projects back-to-back, I needed a break to rejuvenate.

RT: What are your thoughts about the current music scene?

LT: Today it’s more important than ever to be on top of your game creatively and with the business of being in music. As an artist or producer, you have got to be on top of the bigger picture and recognize that it’s a global game now. The old models don’t necessarily work today – in order to make it today you must keep pulse with the international scene – everything from Latin music to Korean dance club. Now it’s about being prepared for a global presence in this business.

RT: What’s been the family’s reaction to the upcoming “Unsung” special?

We all loved it! It’s a good thing to be respected for all the work that we’ve done.  The project captures the truth of our past and we’re glad to be remembered for the work that we’ve accomplished.

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BEST BETS – MUSIC

EMBRACEABLE – NICOLE HENRY

I hate that it took me so long to discover this amazingly gifted songbird. On her 4th, independently distributed CD, Embraceable, Henry’s strong, and highly interpretive vocals bring magic to an interesting mix of song styles. On every track, she easily conveys the message of her music with a verve that evokes the style of a young Nancy Wilson. You will find yourself listening to this CD over and over again.

Grade: A

AUOTOMOTIVE SPIN

2011 BMW 335i Sedan

From front to rear, the 2011 BMV 335i Sedan is a driver’s dream. Much like you would expect from the prestigious car manufacturer, this ride scores high points in terms of performance, comfort and value for your money. The BMW 335i Sedan is spectacular ride that provides its drivers with a memorable experience.

Wow Factor: Beginning with its elegant, exterior styling, the BMW 335i Sedan will immediately gain attention from car admirers.  After you sit behind its wheel, drivers will be further wowed by its sophisticated interior and trademark on-the-road performance.

Ride: The 335i Sedan is a driver’s dream. Outfitted with a tight engine and supremely reliable powertrain, the 335i can do just about everything most drivers need or can imagine. My ride’s six-speed manual control was smooth and consistent and its tight steering and suspension responded excellently on a variety of road conditions.

Comfort: With its fine leather seats, handsome wood trims, and accessible and easy-to-read handles and controls, the interior of the BMW 335i has been designed to provide both driver and passenger with supreme comfort. I was equally impressed with this ride’s cargo space, which easily accommodate variety of my transport needs.

Spin Control:  With its design upgrades and improved fuel-efficiency (19city/28hwy), the BMW 335i Sedan more than lives up to its reputation as one of the best vehicle s in its class. Although its price point, (base price: $41,000), might be intimidating to some, I think this ride is a good investment for drivers who place a high premium on quality and luxury.

Grade:  B+

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