Donny Edward Hathaway (1945 – 1979) was an American soul singer, keyboardist, songwriter, and arranger. Hewas born in Chicago but he lived in the Carr Square, St Louis, Missouri housing project, with his grandmother, Martha Crumwell. His mother, Drusella Huntley, had sent the three year old boy to live with Martha when she separated from Donny’s father, Hosea Brown—a traumatised serviceman—and couldn’t support Donny on her own. Donny started at St Louis’ Vashon High School when he was 14. Recognised for his prodigious musical talent, he began taking music theory classes at Washington University.
On graduation from high school, Donny attended Howard University where he met his wife, Eulaulah. After 3 years, he stopped going to university because he had so many offers to perform. By 1973, when he was 28, Donny had recorded five albums and won a Grammy. Donny Hathaway was only 35 when he died; he fell to his death from the 15th floor of the Essex Hotel in Manhattan.