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El DeBarge Biography

Home > Music > D > DeBarge, El > Biography

Birth Name: Eldra Patrick DeBarge
Born: 1961/06/04
Birth Place: Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Years Active: 1979–present
Genres: R&B, Soul

Eldra Patrick "El" DeBarge (born June 4, 1961) is a American R&B/pop falsetto singer and was the focal point and lead singer of the family group DeBarge throughout the early to mid-1980s.

As a solo artist, he is best known for the hits "Who's Johnny" and "Love Always" and for his collaborations with Tone Loc, Quincy Jones, Fourplay and DJ Quik.

After success in the early 1980s with his family in the group DeBarge, El left the band in pursuit of a solo career. In 1986 he released his self-titled debut solo album “El DeBarge.” "Who's Johnny" was the first single released from that album and was featured in the comedy film “Short Circuit.” The single was a major success, peaking at #3 in the U.S.

It took over three years for El to release his second (and last for Motown) solo album in 1989, titled “Gemini,” but the album and the singles released failed to chart due to waning interest.

After leaving Motown he signed with Warner Brothers in 1992 and released his third solo album “In The Storm.” The album featured several duets like the one with his musical protege Chante Moore on the song "You Know What I Like", which peaked at number 14 on the Billboard R&B charts.

Two years later, in 1994, El collaborated with hit producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and released his fourth solo effort “Heart, Mind and Soul. “"Can't Get Enough", "Slide," and a duet with Babyface titled "Where Is My Love" (with Stevie Wonder playing harmonica on the track) were released as singles.

He went through legal troubles involving cocaine possession at the beginning of the 2000s which included a stint in prison. A new album, titled “Second Chance,” was released on November 30, 2010. The first single, "Second Chance", became popular on many urban contemporary radio stations, and it reached number 41 on the Billboard R&B charts. The single has been nominated for two Grammys (2011) in the categories of Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song.