Bobby Brown Early Life
Born February 5, 1969, in Boston, singer Bobby Brown became famous in the 1980s and early 1990s. His parents were Herbert, a construction worker, and Carole Brown, a teacher. He grew up in Roxbury’s Orchard Park Projects and was involved in petty theft and gangs which saw him get shot in the knee at a party once. When he was 11, he saw his friend die after being stabbed. He joined a church choir at a young age inspired by singer James Brown. Bobby Brown previously married to Whitney Houston, is one of the brightest R&B stars of the late ’80s and early ’90s, Bobby Brown was the performer who popularized new jack swing, a blend of classic soul, synth-funk, and hip-hop rhythms that often featured rap breaks in between the conventionally melodic verses and choruses. Guy’s Teddy Riley may have been new jack’s greatest innovator, but Brown was its greatest hitmaker, crossing over to pop audiences with his blockbuster Don’t Be Cruel album and thus making new jack swing the dominant trend in R&B through the early ’90s which, in turn, helped kick-start the solo careers of his former bandmates in New Edition).
As R&B tastes changed, Brown became better known for his private life than his music; a sometimes rocky marriage to Whitney Houston and a series of run-ins with the law kept him in the tabloid headlines for most of the ’90s and 2000s, even though he wasn’t actually recording much music.
Bobby Brown Biography and Profile
Bobby Brown (Robert Barisford Brown), born February 5, 1969, is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, dancer and actor. Brown, alongside frequent collaborator Teddy Riley, is noted as a pioneer of new jack swing; a fusion of hip hop and R&B. Brown started his career in the R&B and pop group New Edition, from its inception in 1981 until his exit from the group in December 1985.
Starting a solo career, Brown enjoyed commercial and critical success with his second album Don’t Be Cruel (1988) which spawned five Billboard Hot 100 top 10 singles including the number one hit “My Prerogative”, and the Grammy Award-winning “Every Little Step”. In 1989, Brown contributed two songs to the soundtrack of Ghostbusters II. In 1992, Brown married singer Whitney Houston, with whom he had a daughter named Bobbi Kristina Brown. The couple’s drug abuse and domestic disputes made them tabloid fodder.
Brown’s next album Bobby (1992) spawned several hit singles including “Humpin’ Around”, “Get Away,” and “Good Enough.” However, sales of Bobby did not match its predecessor. Some surmise that this may have been due to Brown’s recent marriage to Houston , and his decision to take a break from the business for reasons involving his marriage and impending new-fatherhood.
Bobby Brown Musical Career
Robert Barisford Brown is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, dancer and actor. Brown, alongside frequent collaborator Teddy Riley, is noted as a pioneer of new jack swing; a fusion of hip hop and R&B.
Bobby Brown and New Edition
New Edition was founded in 1981 by 12-year-old Brown and childhood friends Michael Bivins and Ricky Bell. Ralph Tresvant joined the group at the suggestion of Bell who sang with Tresvant as a duo. Brown was also familiar with Tresvant since they were children. In 1982, they became a quintet when their manager Brooke Payne insisted on bringing in his nephew Ronnie DeVoe, to complete the group. After performing in several talent shows in the Boston area in 1982, they signed a deal with fellow Bostonian Arthur Baker’s Streetwise Records, who released their debut album Candy Girl.
The title track, on which Brown sang co-lead alongside Bell and Tresvant, was a top-20 hit on Billboard’s R&B Singles Chart in 1983. Brown’s first full lead vocal performance was on the New Edition ballad “Jealous Girl,” which was a minor hit when it also charted in 1983. The group became pop sensations with their self-titled second release. The album included the crossover hits “Cool It Now” and “Mr. Telephone Man,” which Brown also co-led.
Despite the group’s success, however, Brown felt the group was never rightfully paid the money they felt they had earned from their success, later saying, “The most I saw from all the tours and all of the records we sold was $500 and a VCR.” Brown also allegedly grew jealous of the attention given to fellow New Edition member Ralph Tresvant, and during some of their tour performances would often step out of his position and perform out of turn, singing and performing seductively, which caused concern within the group’s management team. Brown was featured on two more New Edition albums before leaving the group in early 1986.
Brown later said he felt that the group’s management treated them “like little slaves by people who were only interested in money and power, and not in the welfare of New Edition.” Some controversy arose over the way Brown was removed from the group. Some say Brown asked to be let out of New Edition, but a VH-1 Behind the Music documentary on the group claimed Brown was voted out by the group via their management team, with the members—most prominently Tresvant—against the decision.
Bobby Brown and New Edition Songs
Brown had dreamed of becoming a singer ever since he saw James Brown perform at the age of three. He started out singing in church choir, where he distinguished himself with his beautiful and passionate voice. At the age of 12, he formed a group with his friends Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ralph Tresvant and Ronnie DeVoe. Calling themselves New Edition, they rehearsed with a focus and discipline very rare for a group of pre-teen boys.
After winning several talent shows, New Edition was discovered by producer and talent scout Maurice Starr, who landed them a recording contract with a small label called Streetwise in 1983. That year they released their debut album, Candy Girl, a sugary sweet collection of songs that made the group an overnight sensation. The title track, “Candy Girl,” was highly reminiscent of The Jackson 5’s “ABC.”
‘Cool It Now’ to ‘Mr. Telephone Man’
In 1984, New Edition switched to MCA Records and released a self-titled follow-up album that eclipsed the success of Candy Girl with hit singles such as “Cool It Now” and “Mr. Telephone Man.” However, despite the enormous success of their music, the members of New Edition still only received the small salary stipulated in their exploitative contract with MCA. “The most I saw for all the tours and all of the records we sold was $500 and a VCR,” Brown said.
Believing that they were being treated “like little slaves by people who were only interested in money and power, and not the welfare of New Edition,” Brown left the group in 1986 to pursue a solo career.
Bobby Brown Solo Career
Following his exit from New Edition, Brown signed a contract with his former group’s label, MCA (which had earlier promised Brown a solo deal if he had decided to leave New Edition), and also signed with manager Steven Machat, who had also worked with New Edition. The label released his debut album King of Stage in 1986. Brown had a number-one R&B hit with the ballad “Girlfriend,” but the album otherwise failed to perform well.
Brown laid low for more than a year while working on his follow-up album. With the help of Machat and MCA representative Louil Silas, Brown began working with some of the top R&B producers and songwriters of the time, including Babyface, Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Teddy Riley.
‘Don’t Be Cruel’ to ‘Humpin Around’
In December 1986, Brown released his first solo album, King of Stage. While the album sold modestly and scored one major hit with the ballad “Girlfriend,” it failed to generate the level of excitement and acclaim for which Brown had hoped. Seeking to reinvent himself as an adult artist, Brown spent the next two years working closely with the acclaimed R&B songwriters and producers Teddy Riley, L.A. Reid and Babyface.
The result of their collaboration, released in the summer of 1988, was a radically new R&B album called Don’t Be Cruel that took the music world by storm, selling seven million copies and on the way to becoming the bestselling album of the year. Brown’s high-powered, sexually charged music and live performances earned him comparisons to his childhood idol Michael Jackson. In 1990 Brown recorded “On Our Own,” the smash-hit theme song for the movie Ghostbusters II, and in 1992 he released his third album, Bobby, featuring the singles “Humpin’ Around” and “Good Enough.”
Bobby Brown Rejoined New Edition
In 2005, he rejoined New Edition once more, broke off with fellow members Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant as the touring act Heads of State, and starred in the BET reality program Being Bobby Brown. Shortly after the show’s brief run, he and Houston divorced. A few months after Houston’s February 2012 death, Brown released his fifth solo album, The Masterpiece.
Bobby Brown Film and TV Career
Bobby Brown made his acting debut with a cameo appearance in the 1989 film, Ghostbusters II, playing the Mayor’s doorman. The following year, he appeared in the HBO kids show, Mother Goose Rock ‘n’ Rhyme playing all three characters of Three Blind Mice. In 1995, he made another guest appearance in the film, Panther, and had a major role in the Martin Lawrence film, A Thin Line Between Love and Hate. Brown made other guest appearances in the films, Two Can Play That Game, Gang of Roses, Nora’s Hair Salon and Go for Broke.
In 2005, Brown signed a deal with Bravo to overlook the direction of the reality series, Being Bobby Brown, but it was said that he had to convince producers that his then-wife Whitney Houston would appear on the show. Houston later told Oprah Winfrey that she agreed to do it because she “loved him” and “did whatever he asked because I was his wife.”
In June 2007, Brown took part in the ITV television series “24 hours with…”, a chat show format as celebrity and interviewer spend an intense 24 hours locked in a room together. The show’s host, Jamie Campbell, asked Brown questions about his career and private life, and infamously joked about making “sexual moves” towards the singer. Brown was furious and threatened to beat Campbell up live on air. Brown’s later tenures in reality shows included appearances on Real Husbands of Hollywood, Celebrity Fit Club and Gone Country.
Bobby Brown Family
Bobby Brown Parents: Herbert Brown, Carole Brown
Bobby Brown Siblings: Leolah Brown, Tommy Brown
Bobby Brown Spouses: Alicia Etheredge (m. 2012), Whitney Houston (m. 1992–2007)
Bobby Brown Children: Son, Landon Brown (b. June 22, 1986) with 1st ex-girlfriend, Melika Williams, daughter, La’Princia Brown (b. September 17, 1990) & son, Bobby Brown Jr. (b. November 26, 1992) with 2nd ex-girlfriend, Kim Ward, daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown (March 4, 1993 – July 26, 2015) with ex-wife, Whitney Houston and son, Cassius Brown (b. May 30, 2009) and daughters, Bodhi Jameson Rein Brown (b. July 9, 2015) & Hendrix Estelle Sheba Brown (b. July 21, 2016) with wife, Alicia Etheredge-Brown.
Bobbi Kristina’s Death
Tragedy struck again in July 2015 when his only daughter with Houston, Bobbi Kristina, died at the age of 22, after being in a medically induced coma for six months. Brown had just become a father again earlier that month when his wife gave birth to their second child, a baby girl, whom they named Bodhi Jameson Rein.
Four years after Bobbi Kristina Brown’s death, she remains on her father’s heart. Musician Bobby Brown took to Instagram Friday to remember his daughter, who died in 2015 at age 22.
“Every day I hold you close to my heart,” the New Edition alum wrote in the note to his “Baby Girl.” Bobbi Kristina’s mom is Whitney Houston, who died in 2012.
“I think about so many of the things you used to do, from a little girl to a beautiful young lady,” Bobby continued. “I just smile! It reminds me of how much I miss my little girl more and more every day.”
He added she is “so loved and so missed.”
Bobby Brown’s Changed Life
In many respects, Bobby Brown’s life reads like a classic cautionary tale about the perils of fame and fortune. For several years from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, he was one of the most popular entertainers alive, a young man many hailed as the second coming of Michael Jackson. Nevertheless, today Brown’s name may be more closely associated with drugs and his troubled relationship with Whitney Houston than with his music.
Brown’s life may yet become a tale of redemption, however; drug-free after years of therapy, he released a single, “Get Out the Way,” in early 2011. “I’m doing wonderful,” Brown said. “I’m just moving forward with my life and trying to stay positive at all times.”
Bobby Brown reunited with the other members of New Edition to play the Essence Music Festival. He also performed solo at the Gathering of Juggalos, a music festival organized by the band Insane Clown Posse. Brown, however, soon faced some personal challenges. That December, he lost his father after a battle with cancer. Brown was also reportedly deeply upset by the death of his ex-wife Whitney Houston in February 2012.
Robert Barisford Brown and Profile