Tevin Campbell

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Tevin Campbell
Campbell in 1996
Campbell in 1996
Background information
Birth nameTevin Jermod Campbell
Born (1976-11-12) November 12, 1976 (age 46)
Waxahachie, Texas, U.S.
OriginDallas, Texas, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actor
Years active1988–present

Tevin Jermod Campbell (born November 12, 1976) is an American singer and songwriter. He performed gospel in his local church from an early age. Following an audition for jazz musician Bobbi Humphrey in 1988, Campbell was signed to Warner Bros. Records. In 1989, Campbell collaborated with Quincy Jones performing lead vocals for "Tomorrow" on Jones' album Back on the Block and released his Platinum-selling debut album, T.E.V.I.N. The album included his highest-charting single to date, "Tell Me What You Want Me to Do", peaking at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. The debut album also included the singles "Alone With You" (produced by Al B. Sure and Kyle West, with background vocals by K-Ci and JoJo from Jodeci), and "Goodbye".

His double-Platinum-selling second album, I'm Ready, released in 1993, included two high-charting songs penned by Babyface; "Can We Talk" peaked at number 9 on the Hot 100 and number 1 on the Billboard R&B charts, and the album's title track "I'm Ready", which also peaked at number 9 on the Hot 100. In 1996, Campbell released his third album, Back to the World, which was not as commercially or critically successful as his first two releases. His fourth and most recent album, Tevin Campbell, was released in 1999, but performed poorly on Billboard's album charts.

Apart from music, Campbell commenced an acting career, by appearing in the sequel to Prince's Purple Rain named Graffiti Bridge and made guest appearances on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Moesha television programs, voiced fictional pop star Powerline in Disney's A Goofy Movie and was cast as Seaweed in the Broadway musical Hairspray in 2005.

Campbell earned 5 Grammy Award nominations, and he has certified sales of 5 million records in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.[1]

Early life[edit]

Campbell was born in Waxahachie, Texas, the second child of Rhonda Byrd, a former postal worker who eventually became his manager.[2] He has an elder sister, Marche, and a younger brother, Damario.[3] His father left the family shortly after the birth of his brother.[2] Campbell and his father would not meet again until he was 15 years old.[2] With his mother being a member of the choir at Jacob's Chapel, a Baptist church in Waxahachie, Campbell began singing gospel music at an early age, first in the choir and then as a soloist.[2] At the age of 12, a family friend had him singing to jazz singer Bobbi Humphrey who arranged for him to perform at a videotaped showcase in Manhattan.[2] When the tape found its way into the hands of manager Benny Medina, he flew to Texas and signed Campbell shortly thereafter.[2] The family then relocated to Encino, Los Angeles where Campbell attended a private school in Sherman Oaks neighborhood.[2]


Medina consulted Quincy Jones to work with Campbell.[2] In 1989, he made his debut on Jones' single "Tomorrow (A Better You, Better Me)" which reached number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart in June 1990.[4] This was a vocal version of a 1976 instrumental by The Brothers Johnson. It was the lead single from Jones' critically acclaimed ensemble LP Back on the Block which won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1991.[5] After working with Jones and writers and producers including Siedah Garrett,[6] Campbell worked with producers Narada Michael Walden, Al B. Sure, Babyface, and others to record additional music.[7]

Campbell's first solo hit was "Round and Round", which charted at number 3 on the R&B chart in November 1990[8] and 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1991. "Round and Round" was produced by Prince and was featured in Prince's film Graffiti Bridge.[9] After his appearance in the 1990 film Graffiti Bridge, Campbell made a guest appearance the following year on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, playing fictional teen idol, "Little T", a celebrity crush and date of Ashley's in the first-season episode, "Just Infatuation". He was also referenced in two later episodes. Will threatened to destroy Ashley's Tevin Campbell posters after she used Will's autographed Willie Mays baseball, cleaning off Mays' signature, for batting practice and schemed to use Tevin as part of a publicity stunt to promote Ashley's music career. The song, "Round and Round" earned Campbell a Grammy Award nomination at the 33rd Grammy Awards for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance but lost to Luther Vandross for "Here and Now".

1991–1992: T.E.V.I.N. and early success[edit]

Campbell followed the success of his first two singles by releasing his debut album, T.E.V.I.N., in November 1991 which featured the R&B hit singles and Campbell's number 1 R&B hit: "Tell Me What You Want Me to Do" followed by "Alone with You", and "Goodbye". T.E.V.I.N. reached number 38 on Billboard 200 chart and 5 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album eventually was certified Platinum by the RIAA for selling 1 million copies in the United States. T.E.V.I.N. earned Campbell a Grammy Award nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 35th Grammy Awards but lost to Al Jarreau for his album Heaven and Earth. The album was produced by Jones, Al B. Sure! and Narada Michael Walden among others.

Between interviews and television appearances following the release of T.E.V.I.N., he contributed to three special projects: Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration, a Grammy Award-winning album produced by Mervyn Warren of Take 6; A Very Special Christmas 2 album, featuring Campbell's rendition of "Oh Holy Night"; and Barcelona Gold, the 1992 Olympics album which includes his hit "One Song".

1993–1995: I'm Ready and prominent success[edit]

The singer's second album, the 1993 release of the album I'm Ready, was also produced by Jones and Medina. "I wanted to make a more mature-sounding album to reflect my current state of mind," Campbell explained to J. R. Reynolds in Billboard magazine. "I'm Ready says a lot about who I am as a person because of the things I've been through during the last four years or so. I hope people will see that I'm not the same young kid that I was on my first album." The album was produced by Babyface among others.

I'm Ready, released October 1993, yielded the US top ten pop and number 1 R&B hit "Can We Talk" in December 1993; "I'm Ready", a US top ten and top five R&B hit;[10] and "Always in My Heart" which charted at the US Hot 100 top twenty and number 3 on the R&B chart.[11] He also scored a Top 30 R&B hit with a fourth single, "Don't Say Goodbye Girl".[12] The album was released on October 26, 1993, and went on to reach number 18 on the Billboard 200 and number 3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album was certified double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling 2 million copies in the United States. To date I'm Ready is Campbell's biggest selling album and many considered this album to be the high mark of his career despite the fact he was only 16 when he recorded the album. The album was nominated for 3 Grammy Awards: Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "Can We Talk" at the 36th Grammy Awards (which he lost to Ray Charles for "A Song for You") and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "I'm Ready" (which he lost to Babyface for "When Can I See You") along with Best R&B Album for I'm Ready (which he lost to Boyz II Men for their album II) both at the 37th Grammy Awards .[10]

In November 1994, Campbell was featured on the soundtrack to the film, A Low Down Dirty Shame singing "Gotta Get Yo' Groove On" produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. In September 1994, Campbell also scored an R&B hit with the single "U Will Know" as part of the R&B super-group Black Men United, a group that also included singer Usher. During the time span of 1993 to 1995, Campbell performed as an opening act on select dates during the summer of Janet Jackson's Janet World Tour. In 1995, Campbell voiced the character Powerline in Disney's animated film A Goofy Movie, performing the songs "I 2 I" (also styled as "Eye to Eye") and "Stand Out" for the film's soundtrack.[13] Campbell appeared alongside female recording artist Brandy on the September 28, 1995 episode of NY Undercover called "Digital Underground.Com" singing "The Closer I Get to You".

1996–1998: Back to the World and after[edit]

The year 1996 saw the release of his third album, Back to the World. The album saw production by Sean Combs. It reached number 46 on the Billboard 200 chart and 11 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. In terms of sales, Back to the World was a disappointment compared to his first two albums T.E.V.I.N. and I'm Ready because it only reached Gold status. The album's first single, "Back to the World", reached number 47 on the Billboard 200 chart and 14 on the R&B charts becoming a moderate hit. However, the other two singles did not even reach the Hot 100, "I Got It Bad" and "Could You Learn to Love" only managed to reach the R&B charts with very low peak positions. Also in 1996, Campbell sung a cover of the song, "The Impossible Dream", on the compilation album Rhythm of the Games: 1996 Olympic Games Album. Campbell also contributed to the RCA Victor Records tribute album called The Songs of West Side Story in dedication to the original West Side Story musical and its 1961 film adaptation. Campbell sung the song "One Hand, One Heart" on the album which also featured contributions from Selena, Aretha Franklin, Phil Collins, Patti LaBelle, Natalie Cole, Sheila E. and All-4-One.[14]

1999–2002: Self-titled fourth album, arrest and hiatus[edit]

On February 23, 1999, Campbell released his fourth album which is also self-titled. It found Campbell venturing into the neo-soul venue. The project was rushed and as a result, it charted below the R&B Top 30, with only one single charting, a Top 30 song called "Another Way".[10] The album has collaborations with Wyclef Jean, Faith Evans, David Foster, and SWV lead singer Coko. In 1999, Campbell made another guest appearance on the hit show Moesha starring Brandy in the episode, "The Rite Stuff".

In July 1999, Campbell was arrested after soliciting a lewd act from an undercover police officer during a sting operation in Van Nuys, California. The sting operation was reportedly conducted in an Elementary School area where there had been numerous complaints from the public about cruising and solicitation. According to police reports, Campbell was also in possession of a small amount of marijuana at the time of his arrest.[15]

During 2000, Campbell stayed out of the public eye.[citation needed] In 2001, Campbell released the compilation album, The Best of Tevin Campbell.[citation needed]

2003–2008: Broadway and shelved album[edit]

Through 2003 to 2004, Campbell had still not made a public appearance and kept a low profile. However, in 2005, Campbell made an appearance on Broadway for the musical Hairspray as the character, Seaweed J. Stubbs.[16] Campbell later reprised his role of Seaweed in the Broadway play in the Melbourne and Sydney productions in Australia.[17] He worked with the production up until 2011. During 2006 to 2007, Campbell made few public appearances, due to his commitment to Broadway. In May 2008, Campbell released an internet album entitled, 2008, Never Before Heard through Rambo House Media and the album was released to iTunes and Amazon as a means of test marketing some material originally recorded in 2002. After six months of availability, Campbell decided to no longer allow the unpublished material to be downloaded online, and the music can no longer be heard or purchased on these sites. As of 2019, it is unknown if Campbell will ever re-release said unpublished material.

2009–2013: Singing career[edit]

In early 2009, record producer Narada Michael Walden said that Campbell was working on new material to be released in early 2009. However, nothing was ever released. Also in 2009, Campbell made an appearance at the BET Awards 2009 as he paid tribute to The O'Jays with Trey Songz, Tyrese, and Johnny Gill. In May 2010, Campbell performed on The Mo'Nique Show. He said that many people wanted him to work again on music and he was thinking about a comeback. In November 2010, he was featured on the remake of a song by Quincy Jones called "Secret Garden". The remake featured Usher, Robin Thicke, Tyrese Gibson, LL Cool J and Barry White. TV One's show Life After featured Campbell's life and career, as well as updates on his comeback. From 2011 to 2012, Campbell made small appearances here and there. In 2013, Campbell performed a concert called Tevin Campbell in Cape Town and was a part of Divos Tour 2013 both in South Africa as well as traveling to London to perform at The O2 Arena and also performed at the One Man, One Nation, One Celebration memorial service in honor and tribute to Nelson Mandela held at FNB Stadium.[18]

2014–present: Music comeback[edit]

On June 14, 2014, Campbell performed a concert at B.B. King's Blues Club & Grill in New York called An Evening with Tevin Campbell and received positive reviews.[19] It was officially announced that he was working on a new album with collaborations from producer Teddy Riley, singer Faith Evans and rapper T-Pain.[20] On July 5, Campbell performed at the 2014 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.[21] The performance garnered great reviews. Campbell appeared on a track called "Let it Flow" with Naturi Naughton from the Full Force album With Love from Our Friends which was released on August 26, 2014.[22]

In November, it was announced that Campbell had signed with Spectra Music Group.[23] On August 14, 2015, Campbell appeared at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California for a rare performance of his song "I 2 I" from the A Goofy Movie soundtrack at the end of A Goofy Movie cast reunion held during the fourth annual D23 Expo.[24][25][26]

On September 29, Campbell was featured on a remake of the song, "Maybe Tomorrow", originally recorded by The Jackson 5. The song was featured on jazz musician Aaron Bing's ninth studio album, Awakening. On November 29, 2015, Campbell performed his song "Can We Talk" while Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds played piano as a part of a tribute dedicated to Edmonds who was honored with the Legend Award at the 2015 Soul Train Music Awards. The tribute included Brandy, Fantasia Barrino, Boyz II Men, Bobby Brown and Babyface himself, which included some of the hit songs that he wrote.[27]

Campbell released a new single from his fifth album entitled, "Safer on the Ground" via iTunes and Google Play. The song served as a "buzz" single and was available for free streaming a day earlier on SoundCloud.[28][29] When asked about the new album in an interview with Jet magazine website, Campbell told the interviewer that the song reminded him of a modern-day "Tell Me What You Want Me to Do". In the interview, Campbell also stated that the song is a love song about a broken heart, but to him it represents being humble and safe, speaking of the disappointment with music business during the early stages of his career. Campbell stated that he doesn't agree with the new sound of current R&B music and wants his music to be "authentic".[30][31]

March 19, 2019, in a surprising video post on social media, Tevin revealed he would appear on the fourth season of the OWN scripted drama series Queen Sugar, while on the show's production set, teasing his followers without giving away too much information, saying, "...stay tuned to...SEASON 4 BABY!".[32] The news came after months of director Ava DuVernay planning to add Campbell on the show as a way to rebuke slander of his name by the millennial generation.[33][34] In the video, he thanks her for keeping her word and also thanks the cast and crew for making him feel at home.



Campbell is an altino countertenor who possesses a four-and-a-half-octave vocal range. His vocal range spanned from E2 to a D6 in his song "Tell Me What You Want Me to Do".

Public image[edit]


Campbell dealt with speculation of his sexuality for years, primarily since the time he was a child through his teen and young adult years, without directly addressing anything.[35] In 2018, he stated that he couldn’t figure out why people were still so interested in whether or not he was gay.[36]

There have been rumors that Quincy Jones sexually assaulted him as a minor, which Campbell denied.[37] In 2020, he threatened to file a lawsuit against Jaguar Wright for claims that he had become a sex worker.[38]

Campbell added the rainbow flag emoji to his Twitter profile in 2019, along with a Scorpio symbol and a bald eagle emoji.[39] Campbell later opened up speculation about his sexuality on Twitter on March 8, 2022 by responding to a Twitter user who was talking about what they said their mother thought about the sexuality of some well-known musicians; Campbell responded with the words “Tevin is”, a rainbow flag, and a chill emoji.[40] The singer later deleted the tweet. On August 17, 2022, Campbell came out as gay in an interview with the People Every Day podcast.[41][42][43][44][45]


Studio albums


Year Title Role Notes
1989 Wally and the Valentines Russell Valentine NBC TV Movie[46]
1990 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Little T Show starring Will Smith
Graffiti Bridge Tevin Film written and directed by, and starring Prince
1995 A Goofy Movie Powerline Disney film
New York Undercover Himself (musical guest) Fox show
1996 Moesha Kevin Show starring Brandy
1997 The Parent 'Hood Himself The WB sitcom
2019 Queen Sugar Cousin Junior OWN Television Drama (Season 4)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Result Award Category Recipient
1990 Won Young Artist Award Favorite New Recording Artist "Round and Round"
1991 Nominated Grammy Award Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance – Male "Round and Round"
1991 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Young Actor Guest-Starring or Recurring Role in a TV Series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
1993 Nominated American Music Award Favorite Male Artist – Soul/Rhythm & Blues Himself
1993 Nominated Soul Train Music Award Best R&B/Soul Album – Male T.E.V.I.N.
1993 Nominated Grammy Award Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance – Male T.E.V.I.N.
1994 Won Soul Train Music Award Best R&B Single, Male "Can We Talk"
1994 Nominated Soul Train Music Award R&B Album of the Year - Male I'm Ready
1994 Nominated Grammy Award Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance – Male "Can We Talk"
1995 Nominated Grammy Award Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance – Male "I'm Ready"
Nominated Grammy Award Best Rhythm & Blues Album I'm Ready
1995 Nominated American Music Award Favorite Male Artist – Soul/Rhythm & Blues Himself
2022 Honored Black Music Honors R&B Icon Award[47] Himself


  1. ^ "Tevin Campbell's certifications by RIAA". RIAA. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Wright, Christian (March 1, 1994). "Tevin 17". Vibe. Retrieved April 29, 2022 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ "19 and Ready". Ebony. December 1, 1994. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  4. ^ "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs: Tomorrow (A Better You, Better Me)". billboard.com. Archived from the original on July 3, 2013. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  5. ^ "This Year's Grammys". The New York Times. 1991-02-22. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  6. ^ "Back on the Block credits". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  7. ^ "T.E.V.I.N. credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  8. ^ "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs: "Round and Round"". billboard.com. Archived from the original on June 23, 2013. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  9. ^ "Hot 100 Airplay: "Round and Round"". Billboard.com. Archived from the original on June 23, 2013. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  10. ^ a b c "Tevin Campbell: Billboard Chart History". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2008-07-27.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Rhythmic Top 40: "Always in My Heart"". billboard.com. Archived from the original on July 3, 2013. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  12. ^ Discussed as an example of black-male sensitivity (albeit only lyrically) in Cassandra Chaney and Krista D. Mincey, "Typologies of Black Male Sensitivity in R&B and Hip Hop", Journal of Hip Hop Studies 1/1 (2014), online at https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/jhhs/vol1/iss1/9/
  13. ^ "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Recurrents: "U Will Know"". billboard.com. Archived from the original on June 23, 2013. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  14. ^ "AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  15. ^ "Singer Tevin Campbell Arrested On Solicitation, Marijuana Charges In Los Angeles". Jet. 1999-09-13. Archived from the original on 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  16. ^ David, Cara Joy (2005-12-06). "R&B Singer Tevin Campbell Joins the Cast of B'way's Hairspray". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  17. ^ "Hairspray The Musical - Australia". Hairspraythemusical.com.au. 2010-08-04. Archived from the original on 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
  18. ^ "Throwback Thursday: Tevin Campbell - L'ART MagazineL'ART Magazine". lartmagazine.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  19. ^ "Tevin Campbell Wows New York City". BET.com.
  20. ^ "Look Who We Found! Tevin Campbell Is Working On A New Album". June 28, 2014.
  21. ^ "Tevin Campbell Aims to Reignite Career at First Essence Festival Performance". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  22. ^ "Full Force to return with new All-Star album". Soultracks.com. June 25, 2014. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  23. ^ Group, Spectra Music. "Five Time Grammy Nominee Tevin Campbell Joins The Spectra Music Group". PRLog.org. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  24. ^ "Powerline Performed During The 'Goofy Movie' Reunion At D23". Uproxx.com. August 15, 2015. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  25. ^ "Powerline performed at 'A Goofy Movie' cast reunion and it was glorious". Mashable.com. March 15, 2015. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  26. ^ "WATCH: Tevin Campbell surprise #D23EXPO Goofy Movie performance of EYE TO EYE". Mouseinfo.com. August 15, 2015. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  27. ^ "Watch: Brandy, Boyz II Men, Tevin Campbell & More Perform Babyface Tribute at 2015 Soul Train Awards". youknowigotsoul.com. August 15, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  28. ^ "Tevin Campbell's New Single "Safer On The Ground" | Available April 15th". UrbanBridgez.com. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  29. ^ "New Music: Tevin Campbell - Safer on the Ground". YouKnowIGotSoul.com. April 13, 2016. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  30. ^ "Catching Up With: Tevin Campbell - JetMag.com". Jetmag.com. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  31. ^ MaGee, Ny (April 18, 2016). "Tevin Campbell Talks Long Hiatus and New Music". Eurweb.com. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  32. ^ "Queen Sugar - "Ava DuVernay is a doer, she kept her word."..." Facebook.com. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  33. ^ "Black Twitter Shows That Love For Tevin Campbell Is Still Burning Strong". Essence.com. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  34. ^ DuVernay, Ava (August 17, 2018). "Rebuking any Tevin Campbell slander from millennials and plotting to write him into an episode of Queen Sugar SOMEHOW. On general principle.pic.twitter.com/mcNCGBnvDv". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  35. ^ "Tevin Campbell Says Call Him Gay All You Wan't, but You Can't Say "That Boy CANT Saing"". 11 October 2018.
  36. ^ "Tevin Campbell is Trying to Figure Out Why Folks Are Still So Pressed over Whether or Not He's Gay. He is - Blavity".
  37. ^ "Tevin Campbell Responds to Rumors of Sexual Assault at the Hands of Quincy Jones". 9 February 2018.
  38. ^ "Tevin Campbell Threatens to Sue Jaguar Wright After She Said He Was a Sex Worker". 3 October 2020.
  39. ^ "Tevin Campbell Seemingly Reveals He's Gay In A Now-Deleted Tweet". March 14, 2022.
  40. ^ "Is Tevin Campbell Gay? Here's What He Said About it". March 12, 2022.
  41. ^ "R&B Star Tevin Campbell Opens Up About His Life — and Sexuality: 'I've Embraced Me'". Peoplemag. Retrieved 2022-08-18.
  42. ^ "Tevin Campbell says he's embraced identity as gay man". jamaicaobserver. Retrieved 2022-08-19.
  43. ^ "Tevin Campbell Publicly Comes Out as a Gay Man". okayplayer. Retrieved 2022-08-19.
  44. ^ "Tevin Campbell Shares How He's 'Embraced' His Identity As a Gay Man". billboard. Retrieved 2022-08-19.
  45. ^ "Singer Tevin Campbell recalls being closeted in the '90s: "You just couldn't be gay back then"". queerty. Retrieved 2022-08-19.
  46. ^ "Wally and the Valentines". IMDb.com. 15 July 1989. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  47. ^ Grein, Paul (June 14, 2022). "Karyn White, Tevin Campbell & More Honored at 2022 Black Music Honors". yahoo.com. Retrieved 2022-07-14.

External links[edit]