R. Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly on January 8, 1967, in Chicago, Illinois, singer-songwriter R. Kelly has enjoyed tremendous success on both the pop and R&B music charts. Kelly grew up in a Chicago housing project, where he was raised by his single mother, and began singing in his church’s choir as a young child.
One of five children, Kelly was later able to attend Kenwood Academy. There, he was persuaded by his music teacher, Lena McLin, that he truly had a gift for performing.
“She’s my second mother,” Kelly later explained to Ebony magazine. “She took me under her wing in high school. She told me I would be a big star.”
In an era of declining songwriting skills and auto tune crooning R. Kelly embodies the best traditions of American music as a vocalist, songwriter and producer. He uses classic materials to create music as contemporary as Siri’s iPhone voice. Despite selling millions of recordings and writing classic songs for himself and many others, this Chicago based singer-songwriter continues to push his art forward with Write Me Back, a dynamic twelve song collection that is part of his extraordinary 2012 — The Year of the R.
The tasty array of musical influences R. Kelly transforms and reinvents ranges through the history of classic soul. “Love Is,” “Share My Love” and “Lady Sunday” evoke the lush, danceable sound of Philadelphia. “Feeling Single” and “Believe That It’s So” effortlessly mash up echoes of Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder.
“All Rounds On Me” has a blues feel that Ray Charles would envy, while “Fool For You” has that classic Motown Sound. “Green Light” will make fans of the Isley Brothers happy, while “Party Jumpin’” captures the seriously fun late night spirit of a live Sam Cooke show. Both “When A Man Lies” and “Believe In Me” are powerhouse songs poised to join the canon of R. Kelly standards.
Robert Sylvester Kelly Full Biography and Profile
R. Kelly, the three-time Grammy winning king of R&B, makes music of epic proportions. After 18 years of stardom, the multi-instrumentalist, producer and vocalist continues to forge an artistic path that caters to fantasy and captures the hearts of adoring fans, which is in essence, how an artist sells over 50 million records worldwide, and wears the crown of a king.
The charts are telling of the Chicago native’s storied success— six #1 albums, 11 #1 singles, and 12 consecutive platinum albums. Yet, beyond the numbers is his vital contribution to the soul music continuum.
R. Kelly’s musical tome is ripe with scintillating delivery and stirring rhythms that outlast thinner melodies by fleeting one-hit sensations. In one moment, he is the virtuoso that delves into slow, deep delicious seduction, and the next finds him the sexy showman at the center of the party, in full body-rocking up-tempo flavor.
From the tantalizing eight-times platinum R., to the Grammy-award winning anthem “I Believe I Can Fly,” to his recent hit single “I’m a Flirt” with Bow Wow that garnered a 2008 ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Award, R. Kelly is the essence of true R&B.
The genius of R. Kelly rests in his willingness to break from traditional formula and constantly push the envelope. He flips the method of the moment with undeniable swagger and bold hip-hop sensibility. As a skilled collaborator, he pairs vocals with countless artists — Snoop Dogg, T.I. and Usher among them.
With Usher, he performed “Same Girl,” which was a Rolling Stone Best Song of the Year in 2007. Always willing to venture in new directions, his latest duet pairs him with the coquettish persona of Keri Hilson.
As a songwriter, R. Kelly revisits simple, but profound aspects of the human experience – love, lust, desire, joy and pain that define classical art and drama. He applies his concept to rich, full vocals that exude his intended effect. This precise craftsmanship led to a 2006 Stevie Wonder Award for Outstanding Achievements in Song Writing at the Soul Train Awards.
It is this uncanny ability to compose classics and deliver electrifying live performances that define everything that is essential R. Kelly. It’s why he is the recipient of multiple Billboard, BMI and American Music Awards.
A prolific artist, he churns out albums on a yearly basis from his Chocolate Factory studios in the heart of Chicago, drawing from the spirit of his musical forefathers Curtis Mayfield and Donnie Hathaway. While, R. Kelly proudly hails from the so-called Second City, with his boundless talent, he is second to none.
- Robert Sylvester Kelly Biography and Profile (R. Kelly / Biography)