Songs have now become a regular unit of our lifestyle. Many times, friends are made based on the songs in the playlist of our favorite songs. Whether it be listed by genre or by artist, songs are now mood creators. They are now spread all over the world, in various languages, in their own particular style, and as a way to express your feelings. Songs express patriotism, and it expresses sorrow, happiness, excitement, what not and what forth. An author of a song is known for the genre he writes upon. Some songwriters specify a particular genre and get their popularity through it. Let's today know about one such American songwriter Bobby Brown, known famously as Bobby Brown, his complete name is Robert Barisford Brown. Alongside Teddy Riley, frequent collaborator Bobby Brown is also recognized as a pioneer of the new jack swing, which is a mixture of R&B and hip hop.
Bobby Brown's birth and his introduction to singing
He was born on 5th February 1969, in the city of Boston in the United States of America. He is a renowned singer, songwriter, rapper, lyricist and dancer. He was the eighth son after seven children to Carole Elizabeth and Herbert James Brown. His father Herbert was a construction worker. And his mother, Carole, did the job of a substitute teacher. Bobby, as a kid, was found to be having ADHD. At the age of 32, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He, however, developed alcoholism at a very young age. Bobby Brown has got up in the Roxbury's Orchard Park Projects. He got his first experience on stage when his childhood role model, James Brown, his father, performed in Boston when he was just three years old. After this performance, young Brown decided and dreamt of becoming a singer. He then joined up with the church choir and started identifying and developing his singing abilities. Besides his father, the musical influencers of Brown include Michael Jackson, Rick James, Prince and Marvin Gaye.
Bobby and the New Edition
Brown's first entirely led by his vocal performance was on the ballad "Jealous Girl" of New Edition. This also got in the chart of R&B, but as a minor hit in 1983. His career in music was initiated at a very young age. In 1981, along with his childhood friends Michael Bivins and Ricky Bell, as a 12-year-old kid, he founded the New Edition. They were joined by Ralph Tresvant, post suggestion from Bell, to sing Duo with Tresvant. Brown Knew Him since they were kids. The very following year, this group became the quintet when Ronnie DeVoe was entered into the group of four through their manager Brooke Payne's insistence. This was how they formed a quintet. But before this, too, they had stage performances. They performed in several talent shows in 1979 in the region of Boston. Post this; the trio signed a deal with a Bostonian resident, who went on to release their debut album Candy Girl. He was Arthur Baker of the Streetwise Records. The title track of this album was a top 20 hit on the R&B Singles Chart, in which Bobby had sung and was co-leaded alongside Bell and Tresvant. The group became a pop sensation, with their self-titled second release as a group, which included crossover hits such as "Cool It Now" and "Mr. Telephone Man", where Brown co-led.
Bobby Exits from the New Edition
Bobby's career was initiated since the inception of the R&B and pop group New Edition in 1978 until he exited it in December of 1985. There were some issues in the group, despite the group's success. He felt that the group did not pay him enough money for the work made to do. Bobby also alleged that he was jealous of the attention given to the new group member of New Edition, Ralph Tresvant. He further reacted by stepping out of position and doing out of turn, performing seductively and singing. His behaviour caught the attention of the group's management. Though, he was part of the two more albums of New Edition before leaving the group at the beginning of 1986. There was a rise of controversy, too, in the way he was removed from the group. Some also say that Brown was terminated from the group. Evidence of action done, in the music documentary, via the management shows that Brown was voted out, with Tresvant against the decision.
After his exit from the New Edition, Bobby got into a contract with an MCA (this group has long back promised Brown a solo deal if he chose to leave the group New Edition). He then got his debut album under the label MCA, released in 1986. Its name was "King of Stage". Bobby also had a few number one R&B hit ballads, such as "Girlfriend", but the album did not turn out well to the public.
Bobby Singing Singles
He began his solo venture and met commercial and critical success post launch of his very second album. To work on this album, he was laid low for a period of more than one year. He then began to associate with some of the top R&B producers and some lyricists of that time, with the help of Louil Silas, who was the MCA representative. This benefitted Brown to release what went on to become his most successful solo album, "Don't Be Cruel". Along with the hit Grammy Award-winning "My Prerogative" and "Every Little Step", this album was in the top 10 singles of the Billboard Hot 100. This album topped the pop and R&B charts, and thus, the sale of this album rose drastically to twelve million copies worldwide; hence it became the bestselling album of 1989. The song of this album, "Every Little Step", won Bobby the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance of Grammy Award. Don't Be Cruel also made Brown two American Music Awards recipients, one being the People's Choice Award and the other being Soul Train Music Award.
He went on a four-month world tour to promote "Don't Be Cruel" alongside Al B. Sure! In 1988. This tour ended up in the 1991 Spring. But this tour got his problem with the local laws, for onstage imitation of sexual acts. Next, in the Ghostbusters II soundtrack, Bobby contributed two songs in 1989. He made a cameo appearance in Ghostbusters II, his debut in the acting arena. In this movie, he is the doorman of the Mayor. When Bobby was ranked number two as a singer, the first track of this album, "On Our Own", came in the top ten. He appeared on HBO, a show for kids, in the next year. And, also he acted in the Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme playing the three characters of Three Blind Mice.
At the 1990 MTV Awards, Bobby performed "Tap into My Heart" and was about to announce his new album Mystical Magic. But, due to some unknown reason, the album was never released. He further got featured on the number one hit of the 1990's "She Ain't Worth It". This song was by Glenn Medeiros and was Brown's second on the pop chart to hit the number one spot. Brown also joined Babyface that year for his single's remix "Tender Lover". He then teamed up with the New Edition's member Ralph Tresvant for his "Stone Cold Gentleman", which was in the top five of the R&B list. Bobby's appearance in the 1990's MTV Video Music Awards was his first reunited appearance with the New Edition. This performance was recorded in 1991, as "Word to the Mutha!" of Bell Biv DeVoe's. This performance included Brown, Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill.
He named his next album himself, "Bobby" in 1992. Although the release of this album happened in the last days of the New Jack swing area, it got huge success and sold more than 3 million copies, giving out hits such as "Humpin' Around", "Get Away", and "Good Enough". "Humpin' Around" granted Bobby the opportunity to win his second Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, Grammy Award. He received his third American Music Award in January 1993.
Bobby's Personal Life
In 1992, Bobby got in the wedding to the superstar singer Whitney Houston. Their relationship started with a meeting at the Soul Train Music Awards in 1989, which converted into a friendship after Houston's invitation to Bobby for her birthday. Then in 1991, Bobby proposed to Whitney, and they married at Houston's estate. The couple also had a daughter who was named Bobbi Kristina Brown. But due to their drug problems and further domestic disputes, they got trapped in public gossip. Whitney filed for legal separation in 2006. And later on, she applied for divorce. Their divorce was finalized, with the daughter's custody to Whitney, in 2007. In his life, Brown has fathered seven children, one with Melika Williams, two with Kim Ward, one with Houston, and three with Alicia Etheredge. He had been married to Alicia Etheredge, his manager and partner, for two years when they had their first son, and they got married in June 2012.
Whitney and Brown recorded together, and their song was released as singles from Bobby's album. The song was "Something in common". Although the sales of Bobby did not match its predecessor, it was in 1993 when Bobby received his third American Music Award. It was in 1994, when "Two Can Play One Games" became Bobby's single hit in the United Kingdoms. It was done by the dance producer K-Klass, and they remixed it and made it a single in the UK at number 3 in 1995. In the year 1995, Brown also faced a life-taking accident when he was with Steven Sealy. Sealy was targeted to be shot in a drive-by. Unfortunately, Sealy, the boyfriend of Brown's sister, got killed, and Bobby didn't get harmed.
Bobby in the Cinema
Bobby Brown is a multi-talented artist. He made another guest appearance in 1995 in the film Panther. He also appeared in films such as Two Can Play That Game, Martin Lawrence's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Nora's Hair Salon, Go for Broke, Gang of Roses, and many more. He wrote to his debutant group New Edition for a tour from 1996 to 1997 and to create an album of reunion. A full fledge reunion of Brown with the New Edition happened in 1996, with the release of the album, "Home Again". In it, Brown gave in lead vocals to two hit singles, "You Don't Have to Worry" and "Hit Me Off". But, the dispute took place during the promotion tour of this album between Brown and the other New Edition members in 1997. Brown, consequently, admitted his drug addiction and alcoholism struggle during the tour.
After this, he came out with his fourth solo album, which was also a hit. The album only was an overall success, with just one from that, "Feeling Inside", did not get too much success. Brown was in conversation with the rapper Tupac Shakur to get in collaboration for Shakur's new Makaveli Records. Or beside the proposed Death Row East. However, before the song or the cooperation takes place, Shakur demised. After Forever, Brown left MCA and was not much into singing. He came back in 2002, the twenty-first century, in two tracks from The Benzino Project, as a featured artist. Here, he featured with rapper Ja Rule as a duet in the song "Thug Lovin". He then signed with Murder Inc. Records but was with them for a brief period, as the label had already started to dissolve.
Comeback in New Edition
He again performed with all the six members of the New Edition in a performance in 2005. Despite previous problems, Brown rejoined New Edition on the 25th Anniversary Special of BET in 2005. Ralph Tresvant, Brown and Johnny Gill made a splinter group named Heads of State in order to compete with Bell Biv DeVoe. He, along with his wife, Whitney Houston, also starred in a reality show in 2005, the name of the show was "Being Bobby Brown". Further, for a reality series named Being Bobby Brown, Brown negotiated with Bravo television in 2005, along with the Bravo television network. But, Bravo put up a condition that if Whitney Houston, Bobby's superstar wife, is ready to be the cast, only he will commit to the deal. Fortunately, Whitney agreed to be a part of this series. And Bravo's condition got fulfilled, and the show received his green signal. Whitney proved popular in this series, as she gained a large amount of screen time, and hence the show received immense success ratings. However, the series showed them as a couple not in their best conditions every time. Despite this huge mess in the front, they gave Bravo the highest ratings on any ongoing show. And it also did not become an obstacle in Whitney's continuous hit motion pictures and television projects. This show lasted for just a season. The further conditions to deal for season two were not fulfilled, as Whitney denied her appearance in season two. Thus, the show ended in 2006.
In 2006, vocals to Damain Marley's song, "Beautiful", were given by Brown. This song was from "Welcome to Jamrock" Marley's album. It was in June of 2007 when Brown was a part of 24 Hours With…., an ITV television series. In this chat format show, an interviewer and a celebrity are locked up in a room altogether for 24 long hours. In the session, the interviewer with Brown, Jamie Campbell, asked him questions, and he was asked about his career and his private life too. She also mocked him for his sexual moves made toward the singer. However, living on the air, Bobby loses control of himself and ends up threatening the host to beat her. In the later part of his career, his appearances include shows such as Celebrity Fit Club, Gone Country, and Real Husbands of Hollywood.
In the year 2008, Bobby decided to publish a book on himself. It was named Bobby Brown: The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But. It was written by Derrick Handspike. But, he decided to stop the project when the controversial comments he had made about his wife, Whitney Houston, got passed to the media. The book, however, after the death of Houston in 2012, got released by Handspike. As his former wife, Whitney, Brown lost his parent's support one after the other very soon, and they died within a year. His mother's demise was in 2011, and his father, Herbert "Pops", in 2012. A month after Bobby's father's death, the news of Whitney's death arrived. He struggled to perform at a New Edition show due to the recent demise of Whitney, and he ended up in tears, shouting "I love you, Whitney".
Post the demise of the group's idol Michael Jackson, all the six members of New Edition joined to perform the five hits medley of Jackson in his honour at the 2009 BET Awards. This group performance spread gossip about a full-fledged reunion of the New Edition, and it was declared positively in the following year. Further, in 2010, with singer Macy Gray, Bobby featured in a duet on Gray's Album, "The Sellout", the song was "Real Love". However, this collab was not planned, as Gray said. Despite featuring in some duets in the past much time, Bobby's love for his album did not satisfy, so he released his fifth album in June 2012, "The Masterpiece". The album hit the Billboard R&B album chart at number 41. He also performed with Avant, El DeBarge and Keith Sweat at the Valentine's Day Music Festival in 2017. Brown took part, as a wild card entry, in The Masked Singer season 5. Here, he got overheated and fell short of breath due to his costume after performing in Rick James's song, "Give It to Me Baby". However, in the later phases, he got eliminated. New Edition and Bobby performed together, recently in the Culture Tour, which began in early 2022 latest. In May 2022, his biography began to be aired on A&E. In this documentary style and the reality television series on life, he played the responsibility of an executive producer.
Bobby, in his career, has been known for his Roger Rabbit dace (i.e., a man running backwards). This dance was seen, supported with Gumby-style hi-top fade, in the music video of his song "Every Little Step". In his long career, Brown got into jail and has had legal problems many times since 1989. And for various offences, including misconduct, beating, drinking and driving, causing damage to property, drug and drug trafficking, unpaid or missing child support payment, and some sexual acts.
Bobby's Albums and Movies
Some of his famous Studio albums include All for Love (1985), King of Stage (1986), New Edition (1984), The Masterpiece (2012), The Candy Girl (1983), Don't Be Cruel (1988), Bobby (1992), Forever (1997), Home Again (1996), With New Edition and many more. His famous tours include the Heartbreak Tour with New Edition and Al B. Sure! (1988), Forever Tour (1997-1998), Heads of State Tour (2008-2014), Humpin' Around the World Tour (1992-1993), New Edition Reunion Tour (1996), Don't Be Cruel Tour (1988-1991), RBRM Tour (2018), The Culture Tour (2021-2022). One of the most versatile artists of the time, Brown has also been an actor in films such as Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme (1990), Be Somebody… or Be Somebody's Fool! (1984), A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996), Gang of Roses (2003), Panther (1995), Two Can Play That Game (2001), Ghostbusters II (1989), Go for Broke (2002), Nora's Hair Salon (2004), Nora's Hair Salon 2: A Cut Above (2008), Krush Groove (1985), The Untitled Action Bronson Show (2018), Crank Yankers (2019), and the most recent to be is The Masked Singer (2021).