Tony Rich

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Tony Rich
Birth name Antonio Jeffries Jr.
Also known as The Tony Rich Project
Born (1971-11-19) November 19, 1971 (age 45)
Origin Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Genres R&B
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist, record producer
Instruments Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboard, Piano, Drums
Years active 1993–present
Labels LaFace, Rich Media, Hidden Beach
Website [1]

Antonio Jeffries Jr. (born November 19, 1971), better known as Tony Rich and The Tony Rich Project, is a Grammy-award winning R&B singer-songwriter best known for his hit single "Nobody Knows."

Biography[edit]

Early career[edit]

Rich first attracted attention through the production team of Tim & Bob. The duo convinced Perri "Pebbles" Reid (then the wife of L.A. Reid, co-founder of LaFace Records) to listen to Rich over the phone. Rich was hired as a house songwriter for LaFace Records, penning hit singles for artists such as Toni Braxton, Boyz II Men, TLC, A Few Good Men and Johnny Gill. As incoming Vice President of A&R, Eddie F then convinced L.A. Reid to sign him as an artist. Later, Rich mixed elements of jazz, rock and soul music into his own tracks.

The Tony Rich Project[edit]

After signing with LaFace Records as an artist, Rich began work on his debut album. The set's lead single "Nobody Knows" was released in November 1995, and became a hit single, making it to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 the following year.[1] Under the moniker "The Tony Rich Project," he released his debut album Words in early 1996. Both the album and single went platinum. The album's follow-up single "Like a Woman" garnered moderate success giving Rich another Top30 AC single. He also contributed the track "Highway" to the soundtrack to the 1996 action film Fled[2] and "You're a Winner" to the Rhythm of the Games: 1996 Olympic Games Album compilation.

The following year, Rich received four Grammy Award nominations including Best New Artist, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance ("Nobody Knows"), Best R&B Album ("Words"), and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance ("Like a Woman"). He ended up winning the award for Best R&B Album.

A third single, "Leavin'" was released in 1997 from his debut album and peaked at #88 on the Hot 100 and #53 on the R&B chart. Also that year, he did some songwriting/production work on albums by Sam Salter, Michael Bolton, 4.0, and Aaron Neville.

He made his feature film debut, portraying the legendary Edward Duke Ellington in the 1997 crime drama Hoodlum.[3] Collaborating with Elmer Bernstein, he recorded the track "Harlem is Home."[4]

After the success of his debut, Rich began work on his next album. The album's first single "Silly Man" was released in 1998 and gained some airplay. His sophomore album Birdseye was released on August 8, 1998 and peaked at #66 on the Billboard R&B chart. It was critically praised, but failed to generate much commercial success. Due to some label issues/mergers, his album was caught in limbo.[5] That same year, he was commissioned to produce a few remixes for the Spice Girls hit single "Viva Forever" in addition to doing some appearances/production work on albums by CeCe Winans and Eric Clapton.

With his Birdseye album's cycle cut short, he took some time off to get re-married and had the birth of his son.[5]

In 1999, he recorded a remake of the classic song "If This World Were Mine" with Grenique for the Marvin is 60 compilation tribute album.[6] For the next few years, he would write and compose songs for a number of gospel artists such as Anointed, Hensley King, Richie Stephens, The Wordd and Denzil Dennis. He also contributed a few tracks to the Guy reunion album Guy III of which "Why You Wanna Keep Me from My Baby" was released as a single and peaked at #50 on the R&B charts.[7]

In 2003, Rich returned with his third album Resurrected which marked his first release as an independent artist.[8] Carrying a very different style, the album featured Rich influenced by Rock music, focusing on his guitar work, in addition to his recent collaborations in Gospel music. The set's lead single "Traveling Alone" became an Urban AC hit, and the album had a follow-up single with the track "Red Wine."

In 2006, Rich released his fourth album, Pictures which featured the theme of snapshots of a relationship. It garnered a positive response from his fans, who marked the return to a R&B-focused genre than his previous release. Also this year, he collaborated with Shelia Evans for a spoken word album A New Understanding of Peace.[9]

In 2007, he signed with Hidden Beach Recordings, and began work on his fifth solo album Exist. The first single from the album "Part the Waves" was released as a digital single, and the album soon followed on September 23, 2008.[10]

Following the promotion of the album with some tour dates and televised performances, he worked again with CeCe Winans for her album Songs of Emotional Healing in 2010.[11] The next year, his album track "Sweet Addiction" was featured on Hidden Beach Recordings' Hidden Beach Valentines Vol. 1: Love, Passion & Other Emotions compilation.[12]

In 2009, he began preparations to release a new studio album titled Speak Me with Hidden Beach Recordings. However, it wasn't until 2013 that the album was then scheduled to be released on March 19, 2013. The album's lead single "Fade Away" was pushed to Smooth Jazz / Smooth AC radio. The album was later pushed back to a summer release[13] but eventually shelved.[14] However, snippets of the album were made available through Hidden Beach Recordings' Soundcloud account.[15]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
US
[16]
US
R&B

[16]
UK
[17]
1996 Words
  • Released: January 16, 1996
  • Label: LaFace
31 18 27
  • US: Platinum
1998 Birdseye
  • Released: August 8, 1998
  • Label: LaFace
66
2003 Resurrected
  • Released: July 15, 2003
  • Label: Rich Projects / Compendia
2006 Pictures
  • Released: May 2, 2006
  • Label: Rich Media / I.M.
A New Understanding of Peace (with Sheila Evans)
  • Released: December 5, 2006
  • Label: Sefat Mustard Seed
2008 Exist 31
2013 Speak Me

Compilations[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
US
[16]
US
R&B

[16]
UK
[17]
2005 Nobody Knows: the Best of
  • Released: April 26, 2005
  • Label: Sony BMG

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak chart
positions
US US AC US R&B US Main T40 US Adult Top 40 US Rhythmic
1996 "Nobody Knows" 2 2 11 2 7 1
"Like a Woman" 41 30 42 28 24
1997 "Leavin'" 88 53
1998 "Silly Man"
2003 "Traveling Alone"
"Red Wine"
2008 "Part the Waves"
2013 "Fade Away"
"Breaking Glass"

References[edit]

External links[edit]