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Keni Burke

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Kenneth M. Burke (born September 28, 1953 in Chicago, Illinois), better known as Keni Burke, is an American , , , and singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist who began his career as a member of the 1970s soul outfit, the Five Stairsteps.

As a member of the Five Stairsteps, Burke wrote the group’s first minor hit “You Waited Too Long” in 1966, but the group would see their biggest success with the million-selling song “O-o-h Child” in 1970. The group went on to sign with George Harrison’s Dark Horse Records in 1975, and had their next hit with the Burke-penned “From Us to You”, from their 1976 album 2nd Resurrection. The group disbanded soon after.

Skilled as a guitarist and bassist, Burke continued to work for the Dark Horse label as a session musician, while burgeoning a solo career of his own. In 1977, he released his self-titled debut album, which featured the songs “Keep on Singing”, “Shuffle”, and “From Me to You”.

During this period he contributed instrumentation to songs by a diverse range of artists such as Sly & The Family Stone, Natalie Cole, Billy Preston, Terry Callier, Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, Dusty Springfield, Diana Ross, and Gladys Knight.

In 1981, Changes, Burke’s best-selling album to date, was released, containing the singles “Hang Tight” and his signature hit “Rising to the Top”—a big success in Chicago. The song has become a popular sampling choice for hip hop artists, having been borrowed by artists such as Big Daddy Kane (“Smooth Operator”), LL Cool J (“Around the Way Girl”), Pete Rock & CL Smooth (“Take You There”), Mary J.

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