Jerry Lawson – “The King of A Cappella” – is the subject of a new documentary, “Just A Mortal Man – The Jerry Lawson Story” premiering nationwide on PBS Plus and the WORLD Channel starting February 10th.
Lawson founded and fronted The Persuasions; arguably the greatest a cappella group in history who paved the way for groups such as Boyz II Men, Pentatonix and Take 6. From humble beginnings in rural Florida, Lawson moved to NYC at age 18 to pursue his love of singing. It was there he connected with four young men on the basketball court to form their legendary group.
Discovered by Frank Zappa in the early ‘70s, The Persuasions, with Jerry as lead singer and arranger, went on to record 24 albums over 40 years and record and tour the world with such luminaries as Ray Charles, Liza Minnelli, Stevie Wonder and Joni Mitchell.
“I first heard Jerry Lawson and The Persuasions on the radio in NYC back in the early ‘70s,” says Director/Producer Miles Merritt. “Their resonant sound blew my mind. It was hard to believe these five guys were actually singing a cappella.”
In the documentary film, Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men says, “It was [Jerry’s] trailblazing, his musical prowess, that helped shape contemporary a cappella.” In 2004, Jerry left the group to pursue a solo career.
“Through his unique musical style, charismatic personality and genuine humility, Jerry was able to bridge cultures and to bring joy to countless people around the world,” Merritt adds. “He may have thought of himself as “just a mortal man” but he was a giant – an amazing, though often unheralded talent, whose musical legacy continues to inspire new generations of singers today.”
For more information and to watch the trailer and learn more, visit https://www.pbs.org/show/just-mortal-man-jerry-lawson-story/.