R. Kelly – His Music, His Life, His Biography
Robert Sylvester Kelly (born January 8, 1967) is an American singer-songwriter, R&B and soul musician, songwriter, record producer, and former professional basketball player. Kelly’s success in music has been primarily in the R&B genre, with his career starting during the late 1980s and continuing through the 2000s decade; he is often referred to as the King of R&B or King of Pop-Soul.
R. Kelly was born Robert Sylvester Kelly on January 8, 1967, in Chicago, Illinois. He has enjoyed tremendous success on the pop and R&B charts. Growing up in a housing project near Chicago, Kelly sang in the choir of his church when he was a young child. One of five children, Kelly attended Kenwood Academy.
In that class, Kelly was convinced by his music teacher, Lena McLin, that he had a gift for singing. “She’s my second mother,” Kelly told Ebony. “She took me under her wing in high school, telling me I would become a star.”
Collaborations and Romance
Besides making his own music, Kelly collaborated with such artists as Gladys Knight, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson, who made a hit of Kelly’s song You Are Not Alone. Along with producing Aaliyah’s hit Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number in 1994, Kelly helped develop the then teenaged Aaliyah.
The two were romantically involved, even though she was nearly 12 years older than he was and were even married for a short time, but her family divorced the union. She had lied about her age, saying she was 18, when she was actually 15.
Several years after that, in 1996, Kelly wed dancer Andrea Lee and they went on to have three children together before splitting in 2009. At an interview with the talk show Sister Circle, which she shared tears, Lee spoke about domestic abuse. Kelly remained an impressive force in the R&B and pop music scene.
The 1998 album, R., a collaboration with Celine Dion called I’m Your Angel, sold more than 7 million copies. Around this time, he was successful on other fronts, too In 1999, he and Sean Puffy Combs both hit the charts with Satisfy You. Two years later, he teamed up with Jay-Z to create another top ten hit with Fiesta.
R&B Star: “Bump N’ Grind” to “I Believe I Can Fly”
After singing on the streets for a period of time, R. Kelly scored a huge break in 1990 when he obtained a recording contract with Jive Records. One year later, he released Born into the 90’s with Public Announcement, his backup group.
The album immediately proved to be a hit with two top-ranked R&B singles, Honey Love and Slow Dance (Hey Mr. DJ). Almost as quickly as his album found success, Kelly became notorious for his sexually charged lyrics.
1993, a monumental year for Kelly. He went No. 1 on the charts with 12 Play, had a single that bumped and grinded to the top spot on the pop charts with Bump N’ Grind, and suffered a great personal loss when his mother died that year.
Hailed as the King of R&B, R. Kelly was a contender for the title king of the ballad in 1996 when he wrote, sang and produced I Believe I Can Fly, which was featured on the Space Jam soundtrack and won him three Grammy Awards the following year. Kelly also composed Gotham City, a song for the Batman & Robin soundtrack.
In 2002, Kelly and Jay-Z released a collaborative album called The Best of Both Worlds. But the album became overshadowed by a sex scandal involving Kelly. The video reportedly showing Kelly having sex with a minor was given to a journalist who then gave the tape to police, who declined to charge him.
In 2002, Kelly was charged with twenty-one counts of criminal activity related to child pornography. He was again charged the following year with the same charges, but these were later dismissed.
Even with the various scandals, Kelly still managed to sell records at an astounding rate.
R. Kelly 2004 album, Happy People/U Saved Me sold over 2 million copies, and he introduced the first two parts of his popular related song series, Trapped in the Closet in the record TP.3 Reloaded in 2005. Additionally, he remained sought-after, collaborating with other major artists such as Snoop Dogg and Ja Rule.
In 2008, R. Kelly finally stood trial, and by this time several of the accusations against him had been dismissed. First, the woman allegedly in the video refused to testify and some of her family members declared it was not her. After many weeks of testimonies, the jury reached the verdict that Kelly was not guilty of the 14 charges against him.