R&B vocalist Howard Johnson started out in Miami, holding forth in local bars and clubs until the appearance of a life-changing business contact. That was Sandy Torano, a guitarist and producer associated with performers such as the Commodores and Phyllis Hyman. Johnson was his choice for a new vocal group and thus began the singer's recording career. It was 1977, the group was called Niteflyte, and the label was Ariola. The project lasted for only two albums but created enough of a buzz for A&M to sign Johnson to a solo contract.