Peabo Bryson

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Peabo Bryson
Bryson in 2000
Bryson in 2000
Background information
Birth nameRobert Peapo Bryson
Born (1951-04-13) April 13, 1951 (age 71)
Greenville, South Carolina, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, composer
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
Years active1965–present

Robert Peapo "Peabo" Bryson[1] (born April 13, 1951) is an American singer and songwriter. He is known for singing soul ballads (often as a duet with female singers) including the 1983 hit "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love" with Roberta Flack.[2] Bryson has contributed to two Disney animated feature soundtracks. Bryson is a winner of two Grammy Awards.[3]

Early years and career[edit]

Born Robert Peapo Bryson in Greenville, South Carolina,[4] Peabo Bryson spent much of his childhood on his grandfather's farm in Mauldin, South Carolina. His love for music stemmed from his mother, who often took the family to concerts of well-known African-American artists at the time.

Bryson marked his professional debut at age 14, singing backup for Al Freeman and the Upsetters,[5] a local Greenville group. It was Freeman's difficulty in pronouncing Bryson's French West-Indian name, Peapo, that led Bryson to perform as Peabo. Two years later, he left home to tour the Chitlin' Circuit with another local band, Moses Dillard and the Tex-Town Display.[6] Bryson's first break came during a recording session at Atlanta's Bang Records. Although Bang was not impressed with Dillard's band, the young backup singer caught the ear of the label's general manager, Eddie Biscoe. Biscoe signed Bryson to a contract as a writer, producer, and arranger and encouraged Bryson to perform his own songs. For several years, Bryson worked with hometown bands and wrote and produced for Bang.[5][citation needed] In 1976, he launched his own recording career with "Underground Music" on the Bang label. His first album, Peabo, followed shortly thereafter. Although only a regional success, Bryson signed to Capitol Records in 1977.

Bryson's greatest solo hits include 1977's "Feel the Fire" and "Reaching for the Sky", 1978's "I'm So into You" and "Crosswinds", 1982's "Let the Feeling Flow", 1984's "If Ever You're in My Arms Again" (his first Top 10 pop single, at No. 10 in the US), 1989's "Show and Tell", and the 1991 hit "Can You Stop the Rain".[6] In 1985, he appeared on the soap opera One Life to Live to sing a lyrical version of its theme song.[7] Bryson's vocals were added to the regular theme song in 1986 and his voice was heard daily until 1992. He recorded the successful album of romantic love duets with Roberta Flack (Born to Love) in 1983.[6] In partnership with Regina Belle, Bryson recorded two hit duets: "Without You", the love theme from the comedy film Leonard Part 6, recorded in 1987 and "A Whole New World", the main theme of the Disney's animated feature film Aladdin, recorded in 1992. Bryson and Belle recorded four duets over the years: "Without You" (in 1987), "I Can't Imagine" (in 1991), "A Whole New World" (in 1992) and "Total Praise" (in 2009).[6]

Among his romantic love songs and duets are:

Bryson won two Grammy Awards: in 1992 for his performance of the song "Beauty and the Beast" with Celine Dion and in 1993 for "A Whole New World" with Regina Belle.

In early 1998, Bryson contributed his voice to Barney's Great Adventure: An Original Motion Picture Musical Soundtrack, with the song "Dream (Twinken's Tune)".

Bryson performed in theater and operatic productions, most notably the tenor role of "Sportin' Life" in the Michigan Opera Theater of Detroit's version of Porgy and Bess. His tax problems caught up with him on August 21, 2003, when the U.S. Internal Revenue Service seized property from his Atlanta, Georgia, home. He is reported to owe $1.2 million in taxes dating back to 1984. The IRS auctioned many of his possessions, including both Grammy Awards, electronic equipment, his grand piano and multiple pairs of shoes.[9]

In 2002, Bryson's "Beauty and the Beast" music video was included on the platinum and Blu-ray edition of Beauty and the Beast. His "A Whole New World" music video was included on the platinum edition DVD release of Aladdin. Bryson's CD, Missing You, was released on October 2, 2007 on Peak Records, a division of Concord Music Group.

September 4, 2016 was declared "Peabo Bryson Day" in Charleston, South Carolina and North Charleston, South Carolina, during the LowCountryJazzFest. The annual jazzfest is presented by, founded by Dr. Thaddeus Bell.

In 2018, Bryson released his new album Stand For Love, which was produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The project was released on Jam & Lewis' newly reactivated label, Perspective Records.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Before marrying his present wife, singer and member of English R&B group The 411 Tanya Boniface, Bryson was engaged several times[11] to Juanita Leonard, the former wife of boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard.[12] In the 1990s, he became engaged to Angela Thigpen, former Miss Virginia Teen USA and later a model/actress.[13] Bryson and Boniface have a son, Robert, born January 1, 2018.

Bryson also has a daughter, Linda (born c. 1968),[12] from a previous relationship, along with three grandchildren.[14]

Tax problems caught up with Bryson on August 21, 2003, when the U.S. Internal Revenue Service seized property from his Atlanta, Georgia, home. He is reported to have owed $1.2 million in taxes dating back to 1984. The IRS auctioned many of his possessions, including both Grammy Awards, electronic equipment, his grand piano and multiple pairs of shoes. However, his Grammy for "A Whole New World (Aladdin's Theme)" was purchased by a close friend of the family who vowed to return it to Bryson.[9]

On April 29, 2019, it was reported that Bryson had suffered a heart attack, and had been taken to Atlanta hospital where he was said to be in a stable condition. He has since made a full recovery.[15][16]


Studio albums


  1. ^ Peabo Bryson - Biography @AllMusic. Retrieved 2 July 2022.
  2. ^ Moniuszko, Sara M. "Singer Peabo Bryson, known for Disney hits, stable after heart attack". USA TODAY.
  3. ^ Grein, Paul (April 21, 2021). "These 16 Songs Have Won Film Music's 'Triple Crown' — Golden Globe, Oscar & Grammy". Billboard.
  4. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Peabo Bryson Biography". allmusic. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  5. ^ a b dnathan (April 14, 2022). "Soulful Salutations! Peabo Bryson - Classic Soul 1978 Interview". Retrieved September 7, 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 196. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  7. ^ "Ask Us". Soap Opera Digest. 34 (22): 105–106. June 2, 2009.
  8. ^ Billboard Magazine (PDF). November 5, 1988. p. 68.
  9. ^ a b Plunkett, John (January 12, 2004). "Peabo Bryson's Grammys, other possessions, auctioned to pay $1.2 million tax debt". Jet Magazine. Archived from the original on November 27, 2004. Retrieved March 7, 2007.
  10. ^ Mitchell, Gail. "Peabo Bryson Gets Ready to 'Stand for Love' on New Album Coming Aug. 3". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  11. ^ Bryson, Peabo Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Peabo Bryson Reveals He Will Marry Juanita Leonard." Jet Magazine (July 8, 1991), Vol. 80 (12), p. 14. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  13. ^ Harper, Jane. "Whatever Happened To..." The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA) September 28, 1998. Link to article Retrieved July 24, 2010.
  14. ^ Halliburton, Karen (October 1, 2018). "Peabo Bryson's fire still roars". Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  15. ^ "Peabo Bryson: "I'm Getting Stronger By The Day"". May 8, 2019. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  16. ^ "Peabo Bryson on heart attack: I was on the other side long enough to make friends". July 18, 2019. Retrieved October 16, 2019.

External links[edit]