Listen to this story
One-half of the dynamic songwriting and producing team, Terry Lewis, has been making top hits since the 1980s. Lewis, along with fellow talent Jimmy Jam, has more Billboard No. 1 hits than any other songwriting/production team in history.
Lewis was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on November 24, 1956. While participating in an Upward Bound program in high school, he was able to meet Jimmy Jam who became a lifelong friend. Together, the two formed the band Flyte Tyme. The name was later shortened to the Time in 1981. From there the two launched Flyte Time Productions company, which helped to start their career as producers.
In 1983, the Time began a tour supporting Prince, but it was short-lived. The duo had the opportunity to produce tracks for the S.O.S. Band during a tour break in Atlanta that led to them being fired by Prince for failing to attend the show after a snowstorm. Although the tour was off, Lewis’s career as a producer was just beginning.
One of the songs produced for the S.O.S Band, “Just Be Good to Me,” became a hit which allowed them to start producing songs for other R&B artists including Gladys Knight and Patti Austin. However, in 1985 a collaboration with Janet Jackson was able to catapult the duo into the success they were seeking.
Lewis helped to co-write hits for Jackson which include top “Miss You Much,” “Escapade,” and “That’s the Way Love Goes.” His writing and production talents have earned him 5 Grammy wins and more than 20 nominations. Lewis has also been able to work with other artists including Yolanda Adams, Chaka Khan, Ledisi, Mariah Carey and many others. He also married and fathered a child with R&B singer Karyn White.
Terry Lewis has maintained a successful music career over the years. In addition to being a Grammy Award Winner, Lewis shares a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording with Jimmy Jam. The duo has penned more than 40 Top Hits in the U.S., and in 2017, Lewis was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. They were also the Legend Award Honorees for BET’s 2019 Soul Train Awards.