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Sylvester Facts

Sylvester Facts: A closer look at the life of the Disco Queen

A Brief Biography of Sylvester

Sylvester James, Jr., popularly known as Sylvester, was an American singer-songwriter and disco artist whose music captured the hearts of many people in the 1970s and 1980s. He was born on September 6, 1947, in Watts, Los Angeles, California. Sylvester’s journey to stardom wasn’t easy; he was raised in a strict Pentecostal household, which prohibited him from expressing himself through music. However, he discovered his passion for music in his teenage years and moved to San Francisco to pursue it.

Age and Relationships

Sylvester spent most of his life single, but he had a few relationships over the years. One of his partners was Michael Lyons, whom he met in the late 1970s. Michael was a hairdresser and became Sylvester’s lover and primary collaborator. Sadly, Michael died of AIDS in 1990, just when the disease was starting to ravage the gay community. Sylvester also dated a few other men, but his relationships were relatively private.

Sylvester passed away from AIDS in 1988 at the age of 41. He was one of the first notable victims of the disease, and his early death shocked his fans worldwide.

Children and Height

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Sylvester didn’t have any children. He also wasn’t interested in adopting any children. However, his music lives on through generations that continue to discover and enjoy disco music. Sylvester was known for his flamboyant wardrobe, high-pitched voice and energetic dance moves. At 6 feet tall, he stood out in a crowd, and his presence could light up any room.


Sylvester’s career began in the late 1960s, where he recorded soul music. He was a member of the gospel choir, The Heavenly Tones, and The Disquotays, before forming his new band, Sylvester and the Hot Band, in which he recorded a few records.

His breakthrough came when his manager signed him to Fantasy Records, with which he recorded his most significant hit, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).” The song, released in 1978, became an instant disco anthem, reaching the top 10 on the U.S. Billboard Dance chart and catapulting Sylvester to super-stardom.

Sylvester is also known for his role in the San Francisco music scene in the 1970s. He was a prominent figure in the gay disco scene and performed regularly at the city’s most famous LGBT clubs. He was an advocate for gay rights and liberation and was seen as a beacon of hope for the LGBT community.

Top Songs

Sylvester had a string of chart-topping hits throughout his career, with the most memorable and influential being:

– You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
– Dance (Disco Heat)
– Can’t Stop Dancing
– I (who have nothing)
– Too Hot to Sleep

These songs took him to the peak of his career and cemented his legacy as the “Disco Queen.”

Net Worth

Sylvester’s estimated net worth was $4 million at the time he passed away. His earnings were from the sale of his albums, concerts, merchandise, and other ventures. Despite his success, Sylvester remained modest and grounded, never letting his fame get to his head.

Sylvester’s Influence on the Music Industry

Sylvester was an influential figure in the 1970s disco era, and his music has remained relevant decades later. His powerful voice, unapologetic spirit, and bold fashion choices made him an icon not only in the LGBTQ community but also in the larger pop culture world.

His music has influenced and inspired many contemporary recording artists, including Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, and Madonna. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Madonna said that Sylvester’s music was an inspiration to her. She said, “Sylvester, for me, was the sound of joy and freedom … He was an inspiration, both as an artist and as a human being.”


Sylvester James’ legacy will forever live on as the Disco Queen. His music continues to inspire and entertain people worldwide, and his pioneering efforts in the fight against discrimination and the liberation of the LGBTQ community have ensured that generations after him will enjoy the freedom he and others fought so hard to achieve. Sylvester may have left this world too early, but his impact and influence on the music industry will forever live on as one of the greatest artists of our time.

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