The personification of the word 'gospel,' Lee Genesis was born [Lee Antley] in Brooklyn, New York, the son of rigorous preacher parents who encouraged him to stand up and sing on soap boxes at the tender age of three. Lee would "set up shop on the box" and let the 'good word' be told via song on the local street corners and on Sunday mornings in one of Brooklyn's foremost Pentecostal Churches. Lambert's Chapel United Holy Church was founded in 1959, by his parents. Lee's mother was the congregation's powerful Preacher and his father was the brilliant Musical Director. His dad had also been one of the famous Selah Jubilee Singers recorded extensively in the '30s and '40s and it was he who took the time to train the young Lee in the powerful and charismatic vocal techniques so necessary to preaching the Gospel.
Ordained as a minister at 15 and then trained as an accountant in college, Lee landed a "real" job with the New York Stock Exchange but in his late-twenties began auditioning for show opportunities on the side in order to escape the ministry's thrall and the unexciting life of calculation. With years of prior experience singing, recording and touring with Pentecostal gospel groups [often as composer, pianist, and director], "Reverend Lee" dove headlong into a pop/R&B/Broadway singing career.
"When I was 32, I just came out into the world, and it was like being 18 or 19," he says, "I got ripped off by record companies, 'cause I believed everything people told me.'"
A natural talent, with an awesome vocal range and a mesmerizing charisma, Lee could and would easily "stop the show" and did so regularly in many of New York's most celebrated clubs including Trude Heller's, The Top Of The Gate, Dangerfield’s, Mikells, The Copacabana, The New York Coliseum, Folk City, Tramps, Fives, Oh Ye Fiddlesticks, Pal Joey's, The African Room and The Improvisation. He performed sometimes with his own bands, but often with distinguished jazz artists such as John Forster [Charles Mingus' pianist] or the legendary pianist, Red Garland. He opened for Dakota Staton and also for Bette Midler and Barry Manilow at the legendary Continental Baths! He toured the Catskills and traveled on to Los Angeles, hitting the Los Angeles Playboy, Ye Little Club, The Etc. Club and Paradise Gardens. This was followed by a U.S. tour with a rock 'n roll show band, and then back to New York City where he landed a role in Somerset, a television soap opera series.
Lee's path also propelled him to Broadway where he effortlessly landed leading roles in The Me Nobody Knows, Inner City Blues, Mary Jane and finally, Godspell where he acquired his "Genesis" name after taking suggestions from the Godspell cast members.
"They were throwing names at me, kidding, like--Zachariah, Leviticus. Then someone said 'Genesis,' and I said, 'Hey, this is a beginning for me!' So I took it and I've had it ever since."
Broadway's Godspell show eventually toured outside New York and landed Lee in Boston for an eleven month run where Genesis kicked back and discovered how much he loved that city. He stayed in Boston for several years after Godspell closed and appeared at all the major clubs in the area-- The Boston Playboy Club, The Paradise, The Starlight Roof, Pooh's Pub, Jacks, the Duplex and Nantucket's Chicken Box with various bands. One great band was called "Life," but more importantly, Lee started his own wonderful band called Heat which knocked everyone's socks off in Boston for some time. Heat got to open for the great R&B songstress Jean Carne, for DeBarge and for Billy Cobham as well as for the funky R&B chart-toppers from New Bedford, Tavares. Genesis also performed and recorded with several major Boston-based jazz groups such as The George Russell Orchestra, The John Payne-Louis Levin Band, Stanton Davis' Ghetto Mysticism, Baird Hersey's Year of the Ear, and Jaki Byard & The Apollo Stompers. Genesis was in demand, no matter where he went.
George Russell used to call him his "secret weapon" since when Lee would come out for his solo; he'd automatically get the audiences screaming on their feet!
With the George Russell Orchestra, Genesis toured to cool events like the Newport Jazz Festival at Saratoga in 1978 and the Pori Jazz Festival in Finland as well as the North Sea Jazz Festival in 1982. There also was an acclaimed appearance at New York's Village Vanguard with this important jazz innovator's band in the '80s as well as an appearance in Russell's Time Line, a 3-hour commissioned piece for the 125th Anniversary Celebration of the New England Conservatory of Music in 1992. In that piece, Genesis was juxtaposed in a musical duet with Jimmy Giuffre. "Among the most affecting were the dovetailing of Lee Genesis' voice and Giuffre's bass flute on "Motherless Child,” wrote Bob Blumenthal in The Boston Globe and "The baroque falsetto embroideries of jazz vocalist Lee Genesis were spectacular" wrote Richard Dyer also of The Boston Globe in a separate review.
In addition, Baird Hersey's band landed Genesis in front of cheering audiences at the West Berlin Jazz Festival in 1980 as well as at Alley's Pub in New York City.
Having moved back to New York City in the early '80s, Genesis performed in many New York clubs, opened for the great LaVern Baker and Grace Jones and recorded lead vocals and performed with a group called CITI, a roller disco group on De-Lite Records/Polygram. With partner artist Robert Leach, Genesis also performed for several important AIDS programs for New York's Bailey House and for the Agency for Child Development, a New York City day care art program.
Since 1992, Genesis has been heavily involved either as Director of Music or Praise Leader for television evangelist Reverend Ike in New York, utilizing his powerful gospel roots and musical skills to rock out his Sunday morning church services. For Lee, this was a return to his early roots in the church.
Since the mid-'90s, Genesis has taken on the role of producer and composer as well as vocalist--developing and recording hot dance tracks with noted DJ producers such as Bob Sinclar (France), Tommy Musto (USA), David Morales (USA), Joey Negro (UK), Junior Vasquez (USA), Roland Bartha (Austria), Victor Simonelli (Italy), Matthias Heilbronn (USA), Georgie Porgie (USA) and many others. Genesis is also co-executive producer for renowned house recording diva Barbara Tucker’s “Love Vibration” CD project, gospel singer Yolanda Wyns’ “A Live Recording of Praise & Worship” CD project and House releases for gospel recording artist Latasha S. Jordan, the latter in partnership with Al Hemberger of The Loft Recording Studios in Bronxville, New York.
Now, in 2007 Lee Genesis is finally releasing his very own first CD entitled The Soul of Lee Genesis, [in partnership with co-executive Al Hemberger and co-producer Matt Noble at the Loft Recording Studios]. The CD is a showcase of the soulful varieties of music this artist has been holding in his heart for much too long. Two of the cuts are straight out of his "house" years; there is also one high energy rock track, one gentle gospel ballad, and several cuts featuring hot, hot rhythm & blues. The throbbing beats together with Genesis' soulful gospel/R&B sound are infectious. Sue Auclair Promotions