Keith Sweat was born in Crescent City, Florida. He is the son of hairdresser Juanita Sweat and factory worker Charles Crier. Charles died in 1973, and Juanita raised their five children alone.  He worked as a night stock boy atMacy’s and then a mailroom clerk at Paine Webber. In just four years he worked his way up to a lucrative brokerage assistant job on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Sweat worked for the commodities market in the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Sweat sang at nightclubs throughout New York City until he was discovered and offered a recording contract with Elektra Records in 1987.
He has three daughters, Keyshia (1990) and Keia (1992)Amaya (1999) . He named his record label, Keia Entertainment, after his younger daughter.From 1992 until 2002, he was married to Real Housewives of Atlanta co-star Lisa Wu Hartwell. With her, he had sons Jordan (1995) and Justin (1998).
Keith’s uncle was also the late Keith “Sabu” Crier of the disco/R&B.