Ephraim Lewis was born in England, the last of eight children to Jabez Lewis, a Jamaican immigrant. Ephraim's father Jabez was an avid church-goer, attending the same church as the legendary Sam Cooke's father.
Ephraim's father had dreams of stardom for his children from an early age and as such, formed the Lewis Five, an imitation of the Jackson Five. The group featured Ephraim's brothers Derek, Tony and Sylvester and had Ephraim as lead singer. Because of Jabez fervent religious beliefs, the group was allowed to only do gospel.
The brothers eventually went their separate ways and in 1984, Ephraim's mother died of a brain hemmorhage, killing much of the family's musical ambitions. Ephraim, 16 at the time, left the house for good and tried to make ends meet on his own.
On his own, Ephraim continued his musical ambitions while trying to make ends meet, living in London and Stoke where he would work fast food joints and gas stations. Finally, Kevin Bacon and Jonathon Quarmby of Axis Studio caught wind of Ephraim's talents and took him under their wing in 1990. The two became actively involved in Ephraim's life, serving as his producers and as a substitute family for the one Ephraim left behind.
The two men put considerable investment into Ephraim's musical career and it finally paid off as Elektra signed Ephraim as their main act out of their London branch. Ephraim made his first album, Skin, with much help from Bacon and Quarmby and, upon hearing it, Elektra put millions of dollars into its promotion.
Many people compared Ephraim to Michael Jackson, not because of similar sounds or styles, but because both had such incredible talents. The album failed to gain commercial success, selling less than 150,000 copies worldwide, and its two singles, 'It Can't Be Forever' and 'Drowning In Your Eyes' failing to break into the Top 50 on the US R&B charts. Despite these setbacks, Ephraim seemed on the brink of talent. Elektra seemed to believe this as well as they continued to invest in Ephraim and he began work on a second album.
Ephraim seemed to be coming into his own in 1993 as he'd broken away from the poverty he'd grown up in and become financially comfortable. In addition, after breaking up with his girlfriend and beginning to date Paul Flowers, Ephraim seemed comfortable with his personal life as well.
All that was left was to make Ephraim a star, and to do that, Elektra sent him to Los Angeles where he was to team up with composer Glen Ballard, a hit-maker who had worked with Michael Jackson, Natalie Cole and Chaka Khan. Things went smoothly and Ephraim was gearing up to return home on March 18, 1994. Unfortunately, he would never make it home.
The details around Ephraim's death are highly controversial, with reports ranging from him being on a metamphetamines binge, causing him to enter a state of psychosis, to someone slipping a hallucinogenic drug into his drug at a club. Whatever it was that had happened to Ephraim, it caused him to act in a strange state as he climbed the balcony naked from his room to the top floor. Here, details are equally mixed as some reports say that Ephraim jumped/fell from the balcony while others state that police tasers knocked Ephraim over the balcony.
Ephraim fell from the balcony, smashing his head on the pavement below and was braindead. That night, the plug was pulled and the bright light in the music industry burnt out.
It was a month later that Ephraim's body was transported back to England and a funeral was held, bringing over 500 mourners. Where Ephraim's career would have gone can only be left to speculation, but where it had been alludes to the music industry's loss of another great singer.
Thanks to the Unofficial Ephraim Fansite for all the great information!