R & B superstar R. Kelly (born Robert Sylvester Kelly) will publish his memoir with SmileyBooks, the publisher announced today.
A three-time Grammy Award winner whose remarkable career spans two decades filled with achievements, R. Kelly has thrilled audiences and sold more than 34 million records worldwide, including six No. 1 albums, twelve platinum-plus selling albums, and eleven No. 1 singles. Over the years, he has collaborated with and written songs for music icons from all genres, including Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Pussycat Dolls, Usher, and Celine Dion. Most recently, he earned rave reviews for his Ladies Make Some Noise Tour, and on December 1, Kelly released his tenth studio album, Untitled, including the chart-topping “Number One,” and his new hot single “Echo.”
“We are thrilled to be the conduit through which R. Kelly will tell his own story,” said Tavis Smiley, founder and publisher of SmileyBooks. “He has earned the right to tell his story his own way.”
In the memoir, Kelly, writing with celebrity author David Ritz, will detail the agony of losing his mother, whom he adored. He will reveal how the same creative soul that came up with such inspiring ballads as the iconic “I Believe I Can Fly” and “You Are Not Alone,” which became a No. 1 hit for Michael Jackson, could also generate such sexy R & B mega-hits as “Bump N’ Grind,” “Ignition,” and “When a Woman’s Fed Up.” And he will discuss the six-year legal ordeal that nearly ruined his life, but finally ended in vindication when he was found innocent of child pornography charges in 2008.
“I’m writing this book as Robert, not R. Kelly,” the singer says. “I’m tired of being misunderstood. I will show you the tears, fears, and sweat. I will open my heart and reveal the good in my life as well as all the drama. I want to tell it like it is.”
The collaboration between Kelly and Ritz is destined to captivate readers, says SmileyBooks President Cheryl Woodruff.
“You have the creative passion of R. Kelly, revealed in his groundbreaking Trapped in the Closet series, coupled with writer David Ritz, who has collaborated with the musicians Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, B.B. King, and Aretha Franklin. It’s a great pairing.”
Kelly’s book joins a SmileyBooks roster that includes the latest offering from New York Times bestselling author Cornel West, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, A Memoir, as well as Jeff Johnson’s Everything I’m Not Made Me Everything I Am. Other SmileyBooks authors include Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Tom Burrell, Sophia Nelson, and New York Times bestsellers Iyanla Vanzant and Tavis Smiley.
R. Kelly’s memoir, as yet untitled, is scheduled for release by SmileyBooks in early 2011.