Eric Benét Jordan (born October 15, 1966), known professionally as Eric Benét, is an American R&B and neo soul singer-songwriter, who has received a total of four Grammy nominations to date for his musical work.
Benét was his mother’s maiden name, and he was born in Mobile, Alabama and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is the youngest of five siblings.
Benét sang with a Top 100-style group called Gerard in the late 1980s. Benét, his sister Lisa, and his cousin George Nash Jr. formed a band called Benét and released a self-titled album in 1992, and it went on to sell over 100,000 copies. Two years later, Eric Benét broke onto the music scene with his solo career and signed with Warner Bros. Records, releasing his debut solo album, True to Myself in 1996. His sophomore album, A Day in the Life, was released in 1999 and featured his smash hit “Spend My Life With You (featuring Tamia)”, which rose to #1 on the US Billboard R&B charts (for 3 weeks), was certified gold, and nominated for a 2000 Grammy Award for “Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group”. The album also won a Soul Train Music Award for “Best R&B/Soul Album, Male”.
Benét’s career, however, was interrupted by a series of personal tragedies. His father died of cancer. His girlfriend Tami Marie Stauff died on April 24, 1993 from injuries suffered in an automobile accident; their daughter, India, was born in 1991 leaving Eric a single father to a one year old.
He married actress Halle Berry in January 2001, but by early October 2003 they had separated, with the divorce finalized in January 2005. On July 31, 2011, he married Prince’s ex-wife, Manuela Testolini, who gave birth to their first child, a baby girl Lucia Bella, in December 21, 2011.
In 1994, Benét signed with Warner Bros. Records, releasing his solo debut album, True to Myself in 1996. Individual songs from the album were successful, including the top-ten R&B hits “Spiritual Thang”, “Femininity” and “Let’s Stay Together”, which originally appeared on the soundtrack of the film A Thin Line Between Love and Hate.
In between albums, Eric collaborated with his then-labelmates Somethin’ for the People on their 1997 album This Time It’s Personal singing leads on the single “Act Like You Want It”. His next album, A Day in the Life, was released in 1999. Its first single, “Georgy Porgy (featuring Faith Evans)” received significant airplay, but the second single, “Spend My Life With You (featuring Tamia)”, became a smash hit. “Spend My Life With You” rose to number one on the American R&B charts, was certified gold, and nominated for a 2000 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group. The album, A Day in the Life also won a Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Album, Male.
Benét also recorded for Earth, Wind, and Fire’s 30th anniversary CD. He contributed vocals to the post-Katrina charity single, “Heart of America” along with Michael McDonald, Wynonna Judd, and Terry Dexter. He has also lent his vocals to many jazz albums for such artists as Wayman Tisdale, George Duke, Chris Botti, Jeff Lorber, Boney James, etc.
Benét recorded his following album Better and Better in 2001, but Warner Bros. rejected to release this album and forced him to stay in the R&B genre. Due to the controversy about music style and creative freedom, Benét changed to Reprise-distributed label Friday Records and recorded his next album, Hurricane. Thus Hurricane became his third (released) studio album on June 21, 2005 in the US. “I Wanna Be Loved” was the song that received the most airplay. The single reached number two on the Urban Adult Contemporary chart.
His fourth album Love & Life was released on September 9, 2008. It debuted at number eleven on the Billboard 200 and number two on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, making this his own highest peak position since A Day in the Life in 1999. The first single “You’re the Only One” is also his first top 20 hit on the R&B chart in two years.
Lost in Time was Benét’s fifth studio album which was released in the US on November 30, 2010. The first single “Sometimes I Cry” reached number one on the Hot Adult R&B Songs Chart. With its musical direction representing Benet’s homage to the sweet soul sound of the early to mid-1970s, the album featured duets with Faith Evans; Chrisette Michelle; Ledisi; and Eddie Levert of The O’Jays.
On June 5, 2012 Eric then released his latest album The One. It was the first album released on Benét’s newly formed record label Jordan House Records, which he created in partnership with EMI. “Real Love” was the first single off The One and was the #1 added song to Urban AC when shipped to radio in October 2011.
In 2013 Eric Benet’s 6th studio album, The One, won him the SoulTracks Readers’ Choice Award for Best Male Vocalist. The One delivered 3 big hit tracks including ‘Runnin,’ ‘Real Love,’ and ‘Harriett Jones.’
In April 2014, Benet signed R&B singer-songwriter Calvin Richardson and Goapele to his imprint along with BMG/Primary Wave Music to release their upcoming albums in the US.
In 2014 Eric Benet released an international album, The Other One, teaming up with the European production collective, The Afropeans to revisit his 2012 album The One. He then released an album exclusively distributed in Japan, titled, From E to U, Vol. 1– an album of classic cover songs.
Listen to some of his songs below