Nicci Gilbert

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Nicci Gilbert
Birth name Nichole Gilbert
Born (1970-07-08) July 8, 1970 (age 46)
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Genres Soul, gospel, R&B, pop
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, actress
Instruments Vocals, drums, keys
Years active 2002–present (solo)
1994–1997 (group)
Labels SONY MUSIC 1994-1998 MCA (2002-2005)
Brownstone Recordings (2005-present)
Associated acts Brownstone, Michael Jackson, Faith Evans, Keke Wyatt, Syleena Johnson, Angie Stone
Website Nicci Gilbert on Twitter

Nichole "Nicci" Gilbert (born July 8, 1970) is an American R&B singer. She is mainly known for being the former lead vocalist of an American female R&B girl-group Brownstone who rose to fame in the mid 1990s best known for their 1995 hit single "If You Love Me", which was nominated for a Best R&B Performance Grammy Award. "Grapevyne" and "Pass the Lovin'" also brought them some success, as well as their rendition of "I Can't Tell You Why", a song originally recorded by The Eagles.

Following the disbandment of the group in 1997, saw Gilbert's theatrical film debut in Woo (1998). Gilbert returned to the music industry after a five year hiatus as a solo singer and released her debut album "Grown Folks Music" (2003) through MCA Records.

In 2012, she starred as a cast member and executive producer in the TV One's R&B Divas: Atlanta, which features the lives of five 1990s chart-topping R&B singers. She was featured in 2 seasons of the show. She also performed with the group at events such as Essence Music Festival.

Early life[edit]

Nicci Gilbert was born as Nicole Gilbert on July 8, 1970 in Detroit, Michigan, United States to African and American parents. Gilbert grew up in Detroit, where her mother Helene was a jazz singer. Gilbert's mom did a lot to encourage her interest in music, and when she was in high school, Gilbert performed Madonna's "Crazy for You" in a talent show.

After graduating from high school, Gilbert studied music and drama at Eastern Michigan University. But she ended up dropping out after two years so that she could move to L.A. with a friend and be closer to the music industry. It was a risky move, but one that eventually paid off for her. At first, Gilbert struggled in L.A., where she appeared in various talent shows while paying her bills with non-musical "day gigs" (including a job at Taco Bell). But things started to pick up for Gilbert when, in 1993, she formed Brownstone's original lineup with Monica Doby and Charmayne Maxwell.[1]


1993-1997: Brownstone[edit]

Main article: Brownstone (group)

In 1994, Brownstone signed with R&B/pop superstar Michael Jackson's MJJ Music, which was distributed by Epic Records and Sony Records.[2] Their debut "Pass the Lovin" was released in the United States on August 2, 1994.[3] The song failed to make impact on the Billboard Hot 100, however the single peaked at number fifty-eight on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart[4] and number forty-two on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart.[5] Their debut album From the Bottom Up was released on January 10, 1995 and reached its peak at number twenty-nine on the Billboard Hot 200 chart.[6] Their next single, If You Love Me, became a smash hit charting at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100[7] and number two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart in the United States.[4] Grapevyne and I Can't Tell You Why were released as the third and fourth single from album but weren't successful as "If You Love Me" charting at numbers forty-nine[8] and fifty-four on the Billboard Hot 100.[8] From the Bottom Up also contained Brownstone's hit remake of the Eagles' "I Can't Tell You Why," which was originally a pop/rock tune but received an urban contemporary makeover from Gilbert and her colleagues.

Band member Monica Doby had to leave the group due to health problems, she was replaced by Kina Cosper and in 1997, Brownstone unveiled their new lineup on the trio's sophomore album Still Climbing released on June 24, 1997, which turned out to be their final album.[1] The album was preceeded by two singles "5 Miles to Empty" and "Kiss and Tell" to promote the album. "5 Miles to Empty" peaked at number thirty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100 but the second single failed to chart on the Hot 100.[8] Much to the disappointment of Brownstone's fans, the group broke up that year.[1]

1996-1998: TV acting career and Film debut[edit]

In 1996, Gilbert branched out into acting and having roles on various television programs including Martin and Living Single. She appeared on the Fox hit show Martin as "Alesha" in the episode "Martin, I Want to Sing"[9] and as "Helen Robinson" on Living Single in the episode "School's Out Forever".[10]

In 1998, Gilbert appeared on Sister, Sister as Nurse Shelley in the episode "In Sickness and Health".[11] Months later, Gilbert made her theatrical film debut in romantic comedy Woo as Crayola. The film was met with very negative reviews from audiences and critics.[12]

2002-2005: Return to Music, Debut album and Stage Debut[edit]

After taking a five year hiatus Gilbert returned to the music industry signed with MCA Records in 2002. "My Side of the Story" was released as the lead single from the album "Grown Folk Music" impacting radio on October 28, 2002. In 2003, the label became defunct. During an interview in 2011 with You Know I Got Soul when asked about her album Gilbert states "this was around the time where things pretty much ended for MCA. I asked for my masters and they gave them to me. I own the masters to the album and it’s available on iTunes."[13] The album was later released on March 8, 2005 but failed to make impact on charts in the United States.[14]

In 2004, Gilbert starred in Tyler Perry's stage play Meet the Browns as Vera Brown.[15] It was released to DVD through Lionsgate on June 28, 2005.[16]

2010- Present: Soul Kittens Cabaret, R&B Divas Atlanta, From The Bottom Up and New Music[edit]

On October 11, 2010, a trailer for the stage musical "Soul Kittens Cabaret" directed by Gilbert, was released to YouTube via American Technologies.[17] The musical features R&B singers Faith Evans, Fantasia Barrino, Monifah, Syleena Johnson and Gilbert. It was released to DVD on January 11, 2011.[18]

In 2012 she was cast in TV One's R&B Divas which features the lives of five 1990s chart-topping R&B singers including Gilbert, Faith Evans, Keke Wyatt, Monifah and Syleena Johnson. The show documents the singers living in Atlanta, Georgia as they work towards rebuilding their careers. The first episode aired on August 20, 2012.[19] Throughout the show, R&B Divas singers collaborated on a charity album commemorating the life of Whitney Houston, featuring the single "Love Yourself" which is also featured in the TV show's introduction. Proceeds of the album went towards benefiting organizations committed to improving the lives of women.[20] In 2015 She partnered with Queen Latifah to produce a series for BET Networks called "From The Bottom Up" a series she created and Executive produced for two seasons in 2015 to present.

On April 7, 2017, Gilbert released a single called "Fly" through Brownstone Records.[21]




Year Title Role Notes
1998 Woo Crayola
2011 Soul Kittens Cabaret Carmen Director


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Martin Alesha 1 episode (Martin, I Want to Sing)
1996 Living Single Helen Robinson 1 episode (School's Out Forever)
1998 Sister, Sister Nurse Shelley 1 episode (In Sickness and Health)
2012-2013 R&B Divas: Atlanta Herself Main cast, casting director
2013 Divas and Cocktails Herself Main Cast, casting director
2015-2016 From the Bottom Up Executive Producer Executive Producer, Creator


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Meet the Browns Vera Brown


  1. ^ a b c "Nicci Gilbert Biography". Billboard. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  2. ^ "Michael Jackson: Member of First Band He Signed to Own Label Dies in Mysterious Fall". Showbiz 411. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Pass the Lovin' - Amazon Music". Amazon Store (U.S.). Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  4. ^ a b "Billboard Chart History - Brownstone - Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  5. ^ "Billboard Chart History - Brownstone - Hot Dance Club Songs Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  6. ^ "Billboard Hot 200 March 11, 1995". Billboard. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  7. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 February 25, 1995". Billboard. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c "Billboard Chart History - Brownstone - Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  9. ^ "Martin - Martin, I Want to Sing TV Episode 1996". IMDb. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  10. ^ "Living Single Schools Out Forever TV Episode 1996". IMDb. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  11. ^ "Sister Sister - In Sickness and Health TV Episode 1998". IMDb. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  12. ^ "'Woo' Loaded With Attitude, Vulgarity". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  13. ^ "YouKnowIGotSoul Interview With Nicci Gilbert of Brownstone (Part 1 of 2)". You Know I Got Soul. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  14. ^ "Nicci Gilbert - Grown Folk Music". Amazon Store (U.S.). Retrieved 8 March 2005. 
  15. ^ "Meet the Browns (Video 2004)". IMDb. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  16. ^ "Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns: The Play DVD". Amazon Store (U.S.). Retrieved 28 June 2005. 
  17. ^ "Soul Kittens Cabaret". YouTube. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  18. ^ "Soul Kittens Cabaret DVD". Amazon Store (U.S.). Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  19. ^ "Exclusive: 'R&B' Divas' With Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert, Syleena Johnson To Premiere on TV One". June 25, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Inside R&B Divas". August 18, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Fly - Single by Nicci Gilbert". iTunes Store (U.S.). Retrieved 7 April 2017. 

External links[edit]