Some people are born talented and R. Kelly is one of them. He is a natural performer who has been pursuing music from a young age. Kelly’s singing ability was first noticed by her teacher, Lena McLin. In an interview with Ebony Magazine, the Storm is Over Now singer had this to say about her,
“She's my second mother. She took me under her wing in high school. She told me I would be a big star.”
McLin’s prediction came true and R. Kelly became so popular that he was labeled as ‘Most Successful R&B Artist in History’ by Billboard. Known for his gospel-tinged vocals, he has spawned many chart-topping singles over the years, including Bump n’ Grind, You Remind Me of Something, I Can’t Sleep Baby (If I) and I Wish. Kelly now has plans to play a series of special shows just for you. So, if you want to catch him perform live then get your R. Kelly tickets here.
Early Life & Influences
- Kelly is said to be inspired by Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Isley Brothers and Sam Cooke. He is also a big fan of Donny Hathaway and stated,
"A guy like Donny Hathaway had a focused, sexual texture in his voice that I always wanted in mine. He had smooth, soulful tones, but he was spiritual at the same time.”
Robert Sylvester Kelly or R. Kelly was born in 1967. He was brought up by his single mother in Chicago. At age eight, Kelly started to perform in the church choir and later attended the Kenwood Academy where he discovered his singing voice. He soon participated in a high school talent show where he sang the Stevie Wonder song, Ribbon in the Sky. It was during this time, R. Kelly decided to pursue music.
Kelly then started street performing in his teens under the Chicago L tracks and before long, he was seen taking part in the singing competition, ‘Big Break.’ He won the contest and later formed the group, MGM with the show’s contestants, Vincent Walker, Shawn Brooks and Marc McWilliams. The quartet then recorded their first song, Why You Wanna Play Me in 1990 and later disbanded. After a year, Jive Records signed him and he soon teamed with the Illinois based band, Public Announcement.
In 1992, R. Kelly churned out his debut studio record in collaboration with Public Announcement titled, ‘Born into the 90s.’ The record received minimal success on the music charts but managed to sell over one million copies in the United States. It featured singles, Honey Love and Slow Dance (Hey Mr. DJ) both of which peaked at the top spot on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The former even received an American Music Award nomination for ‘Favorite Soul/R&B Single.’
Breakthrough & Recognition
- Kelly then started to work on his first solo record. On November 9, 1993, ’12 Play’ came out. The album helped him to extend his popularity outside of the US as it went gold in the United Kingdom and reached the twentieth spot in the country. It was also certified six times platinum by the RIAA and stayed at the first spot on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for nine consecutive weeks. Moreover, it received five stars out of five from AllMusic.
After a gap of two years, R. Kelly’s sophomore self-titled studio effort hit the markets. The album featured sixteen songs including one with the two-time Billboard Music Award winning rapper, The Notorious B.I.G., titled, (You To Be) Be Happy. It was his first record to debut at the top spot on the Billboard 200 and went on to sell in excess of five million copies in the US.
Kelly continued to produce hit music and in 1996, he recorded a song, I Believe I Can Fly for the Michael Jordan film, ‘Space Jam.’ The track is still popular to this day and was included in Rolling Stone’s list of the ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time.’ It has also been covered by artists like, Marion Meadows, Etta James, Faith No More and Jessica Simpson. In addition, the song has won three Grammy Awards out of five nominations in the categories of, ‘Best Male R&B Vocal Performance,’ ‘Best R&B Song’ and ‘Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.’
He then contributed to another song, Gotham, for the film, ‘Batman & Robin,’ before spawning his third studio record, ‘R.’ It sold more copies than his last two albums as it was certified eight times platinum by the RIAA and received a lot of critical acclaim. The record yielded seven singles including, a duet with Celine Dion titled, I’m Your Angel. The song became a top 5 hit in Europe and topped the Billboard Hot 100.
- Kelly then kicked off the new millennium in a big way by releasing his second number-one studio album, ‘TP-2.com.’ The record was influenced by soul, R&B and hip-hop sound and was awarded gold certification in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It also won him numerous accolades including, American Music Award, MOBO Award, NAACP Image Award, Source Award and Soul Train Music Award.
In the mid 2000s, Kelly became an even bigger R&B sensation when he dropped three albums, ‘Unfinished Business,’ ‘TP.3 Reloaded’ and ‘Double Up’ all of which topped the Billboard 200 consecutively. All these records went on to sell millions of copies in the United States and were approved by the fans all over the world.
Album Releases and Notable Work
- Kelly has released fourteen studio albums so far, including five records since 2010. His latest, ‘12 Nights of Christmas’ was released in 2016. It is his first holiday album which contained twelve songs on the track-list including, My Wish for Christmas, Home for Christmas and Greatest Gift. It climbed the eleventh spot on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and received three stars out of five from AllMusic.
The eleven-time Soul Train Music Award winning R&B icon is also credited for churning out three compilation albums, out of which ‘The R. in R&B Collection, Vol. 1’ was awarded platinum certification by the RIAA. He has also spawned six video records.
- Kelly Tour Tickets
- Kelly’s impact on R&B music cannot be ignored. He was called the ‘Most Successful R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Past 25 Years’ by Billboard and has gone on to sell in excess of one hundred million albums worldwide. On top of that, he is a Guinness World Record holder and has worked with some of the best in the business including, Jay-Z, Ronald Isley, Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones.
Kelly is now scheduled to perform shows in Houston, New Orleans, Dallas and Oklahoma City. So, get your R. Kelly tour tickets here and get ready to sing and dance along to his hits live.