R. Kelly (born Robert Sylvester Kelly, 8.1.1967)
R. Kelly is an American R&B performer who rose to fame in the 1990s but whose reputation has been marred by allegations of having sex with a minor, among other charges.
R. Kelly was born in Chicago, Illinois. The third of four children, he was raised in a single-parent household. His mother died of cancer in 1993.
R.Kelly: An Introduction to Music
Encouraged by a music teacher's comments regarding his talent, R. Kelly began playing keyboard at bus stations and street corners. Finally, he formed a band with a friend, Marc McWilliams. The group, MGM, released their debut single, 'Why You Wanna Play With Me?' on Tavdash Records in 1989.
MGM changed their name to Public Announcement and were signed to Jive Records in 1991. Their debut album Born Into the '90s was released in 1992. Billed as R. Kelly & the Public Announcement, the album spawned hits such as 'She's Got That Vibe' and 'Dedicated'. In 1993, Kelly left the group to concentrate on solo work.
R. Kelly: Solo Career
R. Kelly's debut solo album was released in 1993. 12 Play's lead single, 'Bump N' Grind' was Kelly's first number one single.
Kelly started to find working producing a number of upcoming R&B stars, such as Aaliyah and Changing Faces. He remixed Janet Jackson's 'Any Time, Any Place' in 1994 and worked on 'You Are Not Alone' for Michael Jackson. However, it was determined that he had plagiarized the melody for the song from its original 1993 composition, by a long-standing songwriting duo Eddy and Danny Vas Passel.
Kelly's second album R.Kelly continued his popularity, releasing the singles 'You Remind Me of Something' and 'Down Low', which was a duet with The Isley Brothers. The basketball player and star of the film Space Jam, Michael Jordan, asked Kelly to record a song for the film. The result was 'I Believe I Can Fly', one of his most successful releases. The single reached number two in the US and number one in the UK. The following album, R, sold over eight million copies and featured a duet with Celine Dion, entitled 'I'm Your Angel'.
Kelly's next album, released in 2000, was TP-2.com. The album included a collaboration with Jay-Z, 'Fiesta'. Another collaboration between the pair, 'Guilty 'Til Proven Innocent' was released on Jay-Z's Dynasty album. They worked together again on an album and promotional tour entitled The Best of Both Worlds.
The release of Tp-2.com's follow up was beset by problems when many of the tracks were bootlegged. Kelly re-worked the album, originally entitled Loveland and re-named it Chocolate Factory. The album was another commercial success and sold over three million copies.
Kelly's next long-playing release was the two-disc album Happy People / U Saved Me, which hit the stores in 2004. Later that year, Kelly and Jay-Z were reunited and their Unfinished Business album was a number one hit in the US.
Kelly's next solo album, TP-3: Reloaded was released in 2005. The biggest hit from the album was 'Trapped In The Closet', a five-part mini opera that Kelly has stated was inspired by Desperate Housewives. Kelly has since written and recorded over twenty sections of the song, all of which have been released on DVD.
In May 2007, R. Kelly released Double Up, though the album was leaked on the internet over a week before its official release. Double Up included a duet between Kelly and Usher as well as 'Rock Star', which featured Ludacris and Kid Rock.
R. Kelly: Personal Life
It has been reported that R. Kelly entered into a marriage with the R&B star Aaliyah when she was only 15 years old. Both singers have dismissed the rumours.
R. Kelly has three children with Andrea Lee, a dancer. The pair married in 1996 but are said to be arranging a divorce.
In 2002, the Chicago Sun-Times broke a story claiming that they had been sent a tape showing R. Kelly engaging in sexual activity with a 14 year-old girl. Both parties deny being the people shown in the video. In June 2002, R. Kelly was indicted for soliciting a minor for child pornography. The trial is ongoing and no verdict has yet been reached.