Published in The Hamilton Spectator on November 13, 1995 to advance a show at Hamilton Place

ALL-4-ONE: ONE-4-ALL

 

BY NICK KREWEN

 

 

JAMIE JONES figures that his group, R&B vocal crooners ALL-4-ONE, are just about even with country star JOHN MICHAEL MONTGOMERY.

The two American acts from totally opposite genres have the unusual distinction of cutting different versions of the same song twice, with each enjoying massive hits as a result. Popular Kentucky singer Montgomery topped the country charts first with "I Swear", which held the #1 spot for over a month and copped songwriters FRANK J. MYERS and GARY BAKER numerous awards and healthy paycheques.

All-4-One's version of the devotional ballad landed on pop charts a few months later, hitting #1 for an incredible 11 week run, and catapulting sales of the quartet's self-titled debut album towards the 5 million mark. All-4-One also earned an American Music Award for Favorite New Soul and R&B Artist, as well as a couple of Grammy nominations.

History almost repeated itself earlier this year, as John Michael Montgomery's version of "I Can Love You Like That" was king of the country charts for a month again. However, All-4-One's version of the romantic ode stalled at #5.

"He made `I Swear' first, but we had `I Can Love You Like That' first," states Jones, who recalls the first time All-4-One met Montgomery during a show in Fresno, California.

"He was going on at 8 o'clock, and we went on at 7. So people there heard `I Swear' twice."

With milkshake-smooth voices and clean cut harmonies, the California-based vocal quartet of Jones, TONY BOROWIAK, DELIOUS KENNEDY and ALFRED NAVAREZ have accomplished some impressive goals in their brief three years together.

High school pals Borowiak and Navarez were thrown together with talent show contestant Jones and Karaoke specialist Kennedy when producer GARY ST. CLAIR -- a member of Jones' congregation in his local church -- heard the teenagers sing and urged them to learn the old TYMES hit, "So Much In Love."

"He said if you guys learn this, I can get you a record deal with Blitzz Records," recalls Jones. "And he was telling the truth."

Although frequently compared to that other barbershop-biased megagroup, BOYZIIMEN, Jones defends his group's wholesome musical approach and image.

"From the beginning, we wanted to make music that everyone could listen to, and not just a certain audience," he says. "We're all pretty much nice guys anyway, and we just want to do good music.

"In regards to BoyzIIMen, we both sing. People are going to say what they want to, and as far as we see it, BoyzIIMen sell a lot of records and have a lot of great fans. If you want to compare us to a great group, that's fine. That must mean we're great, too."

If greatness is measured by industriousness, then Jones and the rest of All-4-One have been on a tear. Hot on the heels of recording their sophomore album, And The Music Speaks, the band remained in the studio to finish a Christmas album called An All-4-One Christmas, and also found time to contribute a version of the title track of Tapestry Revisited, the tribute album in honor of CAROLE KING's ground breaking 1970 effort.

"It was very hard, although it turned out very well, " says Jones, 21. "It was very nerve-wracking. We'd be up in the studio until 4 a.m., back up at 9 a.m. to do press, and then back to the studio."

Fatigue is probably the only complaint Jones has about All-4-One's skyrocketing success.

"You don't sleep anymore," he says. "You do a lot more work than you think it is. You think you're just going to hop in the music business, and then sing, make some money and be known all over the world, and not work for it, but you work for it."

As for his bachelor status, Jamie Jones says he's got a girlfriend, although he'd be the last to admit it to his fans.

"Most girls don't know we have girlfriends, and I don't say anything because we basically sell more albums and make more fans when we're single than we do when we're taken," says Jones.

He swears.

-30-

DISCOGRAPHY

1994 -- All -4-One -- Atlantic

1995 -- And The Music Speaks

1995 -- An All-4-One Christmas

1999 -- On And On

AS COLLABORATORS

1995 -- Various Artists, Tapestry Revisited

1995 -- Various Artists, Soul Train 25th Anniversary Hall Of Fame

1996 -- Various Artists, 1996 Grammy Nominees

1996 -- Various Artists, Space Jam

AWARDS

1994 -- Grammy, Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals -- "I             Swear"

ALL-4-ONE FACTS

1995, 1999 Nick Krewen, Octopus Media Ink.

 

THANKS: Joanna Dines, Wade Hemsworth, Glen Nott

 

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