Vel Lewis (legal name is Velbert Lewis, Jr.) is an American contemporary jazz musician born on November 30, 1954, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His primary instrument of choice is the Hammond organ; however he also plays piano, synthesizer keyboards, drums, and electric bass guitar.
He began his music career in 1965 as a 1st soprano vocalist with the Philadelphia All-Boys Choir under the direction of Dr. Carlton J. Lake. He attended Settlement Music School for vocal/piano training. He also began studies on concert flute. In 1966, he switched from flute to organ, and advanced to 1st soprano soloist in the Philadelphia All-Boys Choir Small Ensemble group. In 1967, he traveled with the Philadelphia All-Boys Choir Small Ensemble to Montreal, Canada and appeared at Expo ’67 as lead soloist. In 1968, he continued organ studies on the Hammond organ with Mr. Milton Myers, then with Dr. E. Woodley Kalehoff, Sr., White House pianist to U.S. President Harry Truman in 1969 for three years. He attended Overbrook High School between 1969 and 1972. During these years, he performed on a televised jazz program playing organ with drummer Gerry Brown and bassist John Lee, and recorded Hammond organ on gospel recording sessions for ABC's Peacock Record label with producer Ira Tucker, Sr. for albums by groups known as The Sensational Nightingales, The Gospelaires, and The Dixie Hummingbirds. In 1972, he was under recording contract with Philadelphia International Records, performing with a vocal group known as "The Futures". The group was known for their single, "Love Is Here".
In 1973, he performed and traveled with another vocal group known as "The Delfonics" and co-wrote and sang the opening lead vocal on a song released in 1974 on the Warner Bros. Reprise label entitled "Tell Me Why" by The Life Group, also known as "Life". In 1990, he co-produced songs with Tom Borton on Borton's albums "Dancing With Tigers" and "The Lost World", released on the Mesa/Bluemoon Records label.
In 1995, he began composing music as a songwriter for Los Angeles Post Music, a production music library founded by Tom Borton. LA Post Music's tracks appear on popular TV shows "Sex And The City", "Friends", "Mad About You", and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". Between the years 2003 through 2005, he performed on a World Tour with legendary singer Dionne Warwick. In 2005, he released his first solo debut album "All Wound Up" under the stage name of Shady Grady.