He was once hailed as the new voice of ghetto soul. No more - Avant can now be hailed as the new voice of modern soul. Born and raised in Cleveland, this church-honed singer attended Cleveland School of the Arts and later became the first act signed to Magic Johnson's MCA-distributed label, Magic Johnson Music (MJM). My Thoughts, Avant's debut on the label, reached No. 1 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart and spawned numerous hit singles, including "Separated" and "My First Love," a cover of the 1983 R&B classic featuring KeKe Wyatt.