' interest in music began as a teen in Boise, playing in punk and blues bands as well as receiving classical training in clarinet and saxophone in high school. After graduation, Stigers moved to New York to pursue rock music, but soon found himself more at home in the city's blues and jazz clubs. He attracted label attention as the saxophonist/vocalist of a jazz trio, signing a deal with Arista and releasing two albums for the label: 1991's self-titled, multi-platinum debut and 1995's Time Was. His smooth, ballad-heavy blend of soul and rock translated into commercial appeal, particularly on his cover of
's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" on the Bodyguard soundtrack.
Released in 1999, Stigers' third album, Brighter Days
, featured appearances by Jackson Browne
and Benmont Tench, as well as songs co-written by Carole King
and Jules Shear
. The album's single "To Be Loved" also appeared on the Dawson's Creek soundtrack, ensuring his continued popularity. In addition, Stigers moonlighted as a jazz vocalist, performing and recording with artists like Gene Harris
and the Doky Brothers
In 2001, Stigers issued an album of jazz standards, Baby Plays Around
, which was recorded for the Concord Jazz label and featured backing by Randy Brecker
and Chris Minh Doky, among others. Five more jazz-oriented albums for Concord followed: Secret Heart (2002), You Inspire Me (2003), I Think It's Going to Rain Today (2005), Real Emotional (2007), and Lost in Dreams (2009). In 2012, Stigers released the country-tinged album Let's Go Out Tonight, featuring covers of songs by such artists as Steve Earle, Hayes Carll, and Richard Thompson, among others. Another collection of sharply chosen covers and originals, Hooray for Love, appeared in the spring of 2014.