Raised in Akron, Ohio, Hewett moved to Los Angeles in 1976, where he met John and Alonzo Daniels, owners of an historical club in the LA Crenshaw district, called Maverick’s Flat. It was at Maverick’s that Hewett first met Jeffrey Daniel and Jody Watley (eventually Shalamar). Hewett and the Daniels brothers formed a show group called “Beverly Hills” and through Daniels bookings toured throughout Europe, the UK, Scandinavia and Asia for all of 1978 till the middle of 1979. After returning from overseas, Hewett started recording for Jeffrey Bowen, a Motown producer (The Temptations, Commodores, Bonnie Pointer) who was working on a solo project on guitarist Eddie Hazel (Parliament-Funkadelic). Hewett never completed the project because towards the end of 1979, he got a call from Jeffrey Daniel, who was on the road with Shalamar in the middle of a promotional tour. They had suddenly found themselves in need of a lead singer and Daniel made Hewett an offer that he accepted. Within three days Hewett flew to New Jersey, where he met up with Watley and Daniel, rehearsed the lip synch and choreography to the current Shalamar single “Take That To The Bank”, and found himself in front of a TV camera on a local dance show in Paterson, New Jersey. They completed the promotional tour and returned to Los Angeles and immediately started recording the Big Fun LP with their producer, Leon Sylvers. The trio went on to record songs such as “Second Time Around”, “Make That Move”, “A Night to Remember”, “Dancing in the Sheets” and the ballad “This Is for the Lover in You”. Hewett was the group’s lead singer from 1979 until 1985.
When Shalamar broke up in the mid-1980s, Hewett went on to a successful solo career. However, in 1985 before signing his solo deal with Elektra Records, he was arrested and indicted in Miami with his fiancée Mori Molina for possession with an intent to distribute cocaine. Molina, who was indicted in Tampa as well as Miami, was convicted and served prison time; but after a four-day trial, in which Molina testified that Hewett had nothing to do with the crime, Hewett was acquitted of all charges. In spite of his legal battles, Hewett signed his solo deal with Elektra Records and in 1986, before the Miami trial, released his first solo album, I Commit to Love (R&B number 12), a solid urban album that yielded two R&B hits, “I’m for Real” (R&B number 2) and “Stay” (R&B number 8). The album also included “Say Amen”, a gospel tune that became a surprise hit on the Gospel as well as Urban charts and is one of Hewett’s many signature songs.