It’s amazing to me how one obscure, decades-old song can make such a lasting impression on R&B fans.
Credit the power of good music, I guess.
I’ve been writing this column for the better part of a decade now, and this is the most frequent message I’ve gotten in my inbox:
“Whatever happened to The “Destiny” Guy?”
Uh no, not Mathew Knowles. Lord no.
In this case, the child of Destiny in question is R&B crooner Myron, whose single “Destiny” was Gorilla Glue’d to BET’s Midnight Love playlist. He entered the game with boatloads of potential, then quickly, and quietly, vanished into the night.
Here’s why Myron was so ahead of his time.
Now, if you’re a fan of these “What Ever Happened to” pieces, I’m sure you know the template for the Rhythm & Blues Singer Backstory (TM):
[Artist name here] grew up in the church where [he/she] sang for Da Lawd
[Artist name here] starting performing at nightclubs and/or talent shows to gain buzz
[Artist name here] finally relocates, gets big break, becomes a superstar
Myron Davis is no exception.
Born the son of a Cleveland preacher, Myron grew up in his father’s church, playing drums while is mother played the organ. His musical talents manifested at school too, where he performed in a jazz ensemble. That opened the door for him to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1994.
Just a couple of years later, he’d get his big break, thanks to this woman:
Back in the 90s, even the most ridiculous movies had fantastic soundtracks. Exhibit A: Whoopi Goldberg’s bland basketball film “Eddie.” Ugh. Side note — did you know that Whoopi started dating Frank Langella during the filming of “Eddie?” Yes, Whoopi Goldberg dated Skeletor. That’s gotta be one of the signs of the apocalypse.
But the movie’s greatest contribution wasn’t that unholy union, it was its fantastic soundtrack — an opportunity that opened doors for Myron.
Myron contributed his song “Sistas” to the soundtrack, and while it wasn’t a hit on its own, he did help write the soundtrack’s biggest success, Dru Hill’s debut single “Tell Me.” Those victories paved the way for Myron’s major label debut on Island Black Music/Def Jam.
Destiny was released in 1998, featuring the laziest album cover in R&B history. Dude got dressed for his photo shoot, went back to bed and this is what we got. But he’s got a DEATH GRIP on that chain, playa. I dare you to pry it from his cold hands.
The album’s first single, “We Can Get Down” was undeniably infectious but, of course, my most vivid memory was that the video featured one of my 90s-era baes, Spinderella.
“We Can Get Down” didn’t gain much traction, but of course it was the album’s smooth title track that remains revered to this day:
“Destiny” truly was ahead of its time. The neo-soul movement was just beginning to bubble and hadn’t yet reached the widespread acclaim it would achieve just a few years later. Had “Destiny” landed about two years down the line I guarantee it would have gained an even greater following.
Myron’s album, despite being tightly crafted and thoroughly entertaining, flew under the radar of most fans. And seemingly, Myron soon vanished as well.
But that’s not quite true.
Myron continued to write and produce, working with artists like Ron Isley, Pink and Kelly Price. He also released two independent albums — Free in 2003 and Myron & The Works in 2008. I can’t vouch for the quality of either album, but I did check out “Ball of Clay,” featuring Robert Glasper and Meshell Ndegeocello, on the latter and it’s as fun and funky as you’d expect.
Outside of music, Myron has continued to nurture his creative side, writing and directing a stage play, as well as directing a documentary and short films.
Should He Come Back?: This is a tough one. If this was 2002, I’d give an enthusiastic YES. Myron’s brand of soulful, moving R&B would have been eagerly embraced and rewarded with retail success. 2015 is a different ballgame. While his sound certainly would put him atop the indie R&B food chain, he’d face the same struggles as 1998 — critical acclaim but frustratingly little mainstream support.
Myron had so much more to offer his fans. But if his “Destiny” was just one acclaimed single, so be it.
That’s nothing to be ashamed of. Decades later R&B fans are STILL talking about his signature song. Scores of artists dream of that kind of impact. Myron lived it.