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Babyface Biography

Home > Music > B > Babyface > Biography

Birth Name: Kenneth Brian Edmonds
Born: 1958/04/10
Birth Place: Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Years Active: 1977-present
Genres: R&B, Soul, Pop, New Jack Swing

Kenneth Brian "Babyface" Edmonds (born April 10, 1958) is an American R&B and pop singer, songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist, record producer, film producer, and entrepreneur. Edmonds played with funk performer Bootsy Collins, who tagged him “Babyface” while he was still a teen. In the late 1980s, he contributed to the creation of new jack swing, writing and producing music for the likes of Bobby Brown, Karyn White, Pebbles, Paula Abdul and Sheena Easton.

He released his debut solo album, “Lovers,” in 1986, reaching #28 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. In 1989, Edmonds co-founded LaFace Records with Antonio “L.A.” Reid.

His second album, “Tender Lover,” was released in 1990 and reached #14 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. The 3× platinum album contained the Top 10 hit, “It's No Crime,” which reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart and later single “Whip Appeal,” which reached #6 in the same chart.

“I’m Your Baby Tonight,” produced in 1990 for Whitney Houston, was his first #1 Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. 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 #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

His third album, “A Closer Look,” was released in 1991 and was the last album to be released via SOLAR Records, as a joint-venture with Epic Records. “For the Cool in You,” Babyface’s fourth album, was released in 1993, peaking at #16 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. This album contained three Top 30 hits, “When Can I See You,” which reached #4, the #15 hit “Never Keeping Secrets” and “And Our Feelings” which peaked at #21.

He co-wrote, co-produced, and provided backing vocals on Madonna's 1995 #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 #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 Whitney Houston, Brandy and Mary J. Blige.

His fifth solo album, “The Day” was released in 1996 and peaked at #6 on the Billboard 200 chart and #4 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Guests on the 2× platinum certified album included Mariah Carey, Jody Watley, Stevie Wonder, Kenny G, LL Cool J, among others. At the 40th Grammy Awards in 1997 the album received four nominations including Album of the Year, Best R&B Album and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for the second single “Every Time I Close My Eyes.” The third single, a collaboration with Stevie Wonder titled “How Come, How Long” received a nod for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. The singles “This is for the Lover in You” and “Every Time I Close My Eyes” both reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

He received three consecutive Grammy Awards for Producer of the Year in 1995, 1996 and 1997. In 1998 he released a holiday album, “Christmas with Babyface.”

Released in 2001, “Face2Face,” featured production from The Neptunes and an appearance by Snoop Dogg and Heavy D. It peaked at #8 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #25 on the Billboard 200.

“Grown & Sexy,” his tenth album, was released in 2005 and reached #10 on the Billboard 200 and #3 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. “Playlist” followed in 2007 featuring cover versions of songs by James Taylor, Jim Croce, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Dan Fogelberg, Dave Loggins and David Gates. “Fire and Rain,” originally performed by Taylor, became a hit on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, peaking at #10.