Edmonds in May 2013
|Birth name||Kenneth Brian Edmonds|
|Born||April 10, 1959|
|Origin||Indianapolis, Indiana, United States|
|Genres||R&B, soul, new jack swing, soft rock, hip hop soul|
|Occupation(s)||Singer-songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist, record producer, film producer, entrepreneur|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, keyboards, mandolin|
|Labels||Chi Sound, Solar, Epic, Arista, Mercury, Motown, Def Jam|
|Associated acts||Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston, the Deele, Az Yet, Manchild, TLC, After 7, Jon B.|
Babyface (born Kenneth Brian Edmonds; April 10, 1959) is an American R&B musician, singer-songwriter, and record producer. He has written and produced over 26 No. 1 R&B hits throughout his career, and has won 11 Grammy Awards.
Edmonds was born on April 10, 1959, in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Marvin and Barbara Edmonds. Barbara was a production operator at a pharmaceutical plant. Edmonds, who is the fifth of six brothers (including future After 7 band members Melvin and Kevon Edmonds, the latter of whom went on to have a modestly successful solo career), attended North Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, and as a shy youth, wrote songs to express his emotions. When he was in eighth grade, Edmonds' father died of lung cancer, leaving his mother to raise her sons alone. At this stage, Edmonds became determined to have a career in music.
Edmonds later played with funk performer Bootsy Collins, who tagged him "Babyface" because of his immature face while he was still a teen. He also performed in the group Manchild (which had a 1976 hit "Especially for You" with band member Daryl Simmons), as he was a guitarist for the band. Then, as a keyboardist in the light-funk and R&B group the Deele (which also included drummer Antonio "L.A." Reid, with whom he would later form a successful writing and producing partnership). One of his first major credits as a songwriter for outside artists came when he wrote the tune "Slow Jam" for the R&B band Midnight Star in 1983. The tune was on Midnight Star's double-platinum No Parking on the Dance Floor album, and while it never was a single, it received massive radio airplay and the song is still played on quiet storm radio stations. Babyface remained in the Deele until 1988, when both he and Reid left the group.
Writing and producing
In 1989, Edmonds co-founded LaFace Records with Reid. Three of the label's early artists TLC, Usher, and Toni Braxton were successful, the former becoming one of the best selling female groups in music history. Braxton's eponymous 1993 debut album went on to sell over eight million copies, and earned her the 1994 Grammy Award Best New Artist. TLC's first two albums on LaFace—1992's Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip and 1994's CrazySexyCool combined to sell more than 15 million copies in the U.S. CrazySexyCool won the 1996 Grammy Award for Best R&B album.
Edmonds works with many successful performers in contemporary music. “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” produced for Whitney Houston, was his first No. 1 Top 40 hit in the US. He also wrote and produced Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" and "I'll Make Love to You," both of which established records for the longest stay at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He co-wrote, co-produced, and provided backing vocals on Madonna's 1994 Bedtime Stories, which featured the 7-week No. 1 hit "Take a Bow," and shared billing with Eric Clapton on the chart-topping Grammy winner "Change the World" from the Phenomenon soundtrack. He also wrote and produced the No. 1 hit "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" for Whitney Houston as well as the rest of the critically acclaimed 10 million selling Waiting to Exhale soundtrack in 1995, which spawned additional hits for Houston, Brandy and Mary J. Blige.
Additionally, Edmonds has produced and written music for many artists including Carole King, Jessica Mauboy, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Faith Evans, Al Green, Beyoncé, Diana Ross, Sheena Easton, Toni Braxton, Michael Jackson, Michael Bolton, Paula Abdul, Eric Clapton, Pebbles, Tevin Campbell, Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston, Brandy, Mary J. Blige, Tamia, Shola Ama, 3T, Sisqó, Dru Hill, Fall Out Boy, Céline Dion, Samantha Jade, Honeyz, Katharine McPhee, Mariah Carey, Vanessa L. Williams, Chanté Moore, En Vogue, Kenny G, Kristinia DeBarge, Lil Wayne, Japanese singer Ken Hirai, P!nk, Marc Nelson, TLC, Ariana Grande, Jessica Mauboy, Xscape and Phil Collins among others. He received three consecutive Grammy Awards for Producer of the Year in 1995–1997.
Acting career and film producing
In 1994, he appeared and performed on an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 entitled "Mr. Walsh Goes to Washington (Part 2)".
In the mid-1990s, Edmonds and his then wife Tracey Edmonds expanded into the business of motion pictures, setting up Edmonds Entertainment Group and producing films such as Soul Food (1997), Josie and the Pussycats (2001), and also the soundtrack for the film The Prince of Egypt, which included contributions from numerous artists, including Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. They also executive produced the BET reality series College Hill. Edmonds also worked with David Foster to compose "The Power of the Dream," the official song of the 1996 Summer Olympics, performed by superstar Céline Dion. Linda Thompson provided the lyrics.
Soda Pop Records
|Soda Pop Records|
|Founder||Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds (CEO)|
|Genre||R&B, soul, new jack swing|
|Country of origin||United States|
Edmonds founded his record label Soda Pop Records in 2009. Since founding the label he has signed R&B icons K-Ci & JoJo, releasing their first album for the label entitled My Brother's Keeper. In 2013 Babyface secured a distribution deal with E1 Music for the label.
- Current artists
- K-Ci & JoJo
Babyface married his first wife during his young adult years. Later on, in 1990, Babyface met Tracey Edmonds when she auditioned for the music video "Whip Appeal". They married on September 5, 1992 and they have two sons, Brandon and Dylan Michael. In January 7, 2005, Tracey filed for divorce in Los Angeles County Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences. In October 2005, Babyface and Tracey finally announced that they were ending their marriage of thirteen years.
In 2007, Babyface began dating his backup dancer Nicole "Nikki" Pantenburg (former dancer and personal friend of Janet Jackson). In September 2008, Babyface and Nicole welcomed a daughter, Peyton Nicole Edmonds. The pair married on May 17, 2014.
On December 2, 2012, Babyface worked at a local Nathan's for charity. All proceeds went to Toys for Tots.
In 1999, a 25-mile (40-km) stretch of Interstate 65 that runs through Indianapolis was renamed Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds Highway.
- with Manchild
- Power and Love (1977)
- Feel the Phuff (1978)
- with the Deele
- Lovers (1986)
- Tender Lover (1989)
- A Closer Look (1991)
- For the Cool in You (1993)
- The Day (1996)
- Christmas with Babyface (1998)
- Face2Face (2001)
- Grown & Sexy (2005)
- Playlist (2007)
On August 30, 2006, Babyface was honored as a BMI Icon at the 6th annual BMI Urban Awards. Throughout his career, Babyface has won the BMI Pop Songwriter of the Year trophy seven times and a total of 51 BMI Awards, which includes Song of the Year for his Toni Braxton hit, "Breathe Again," in 1994.
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