He’s been called the “King of Stage” and “The King of R&B” among other illustrious monikers. However, by any title, singer, songwriter, producer, actor and performer Bobby Brown is a certified superstar! Since his solo debut in 1985, Bobby has earned himself a legion of fans internationally, selling millions of recordings globally in the process.
Bobby’s career, on the other hand, has been anything but laid back. The impetus for life as an entertainer for the Roxbury, Massachusetts native was obviously established at the tender age of three, when Bobby’s mom pushed him on stage during the intermission of a James Brown concert in Boston.
However, it was a little more than a decade later in 1981, when Bobby formed a vocal group with four other Roxbury buddies called New Edition, that he actually began his trek toward superstardom. The kid group took second place in a local talent show and got the attention of producer Maurice Starr, who developed the act and supplied them with their first hit, “Candy Girl,” on the independent Streetwise label.
After signing to MCA in 1983, the group proceeded on a hit streak that included gold and platinum albums and the singles “Cool It Now,” “Count Me Out,” and “Mr. Telephone Man.” In 1986 Bobby embarked on a solo career with the album King Of Stage, which gave him his first #1 R&B single with “Girlfriend.” But it was the 1988 LP Don’t Be Cruel that forever altered Bobby’s life. The LP went to number one on the Billboard charts and generated four Top 5 singles, “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Roni,” “My Prerogative” and “Every Little Step,” which earned Brown a 1989 Best R&B Vocal Performance Grammy Award. The album pulled down a Soul Train Music award for R&B/Urban Contemporary Album of the Year, Male in 1989 and American Music Awards for Favorite Soul Album & Favorite Male Pop Vocalist in 1990, among a trophy case of other honors.
Don’t Be Cruel‘s phenomenal success (a collection of remixed versions of the singles, “Don’t Be Cruel”, “Dance …Ya Know It!” reached #9 on the Billboard pop chart) jettisoned Bobby Brown whose rep as a dynamic stage performer precedes him into a whirlwind headlining world tour, a well received cameo in the 1990 movie “Ghostbusters II” and a hit single, “On Our Own,” from the soundtrack album.
His follow-up recording was, 1992’s Bobby, which continued the his success streak with the hit singles “Humpin’ Around,” “Good Enough” and “Something In Common”, a duet with his ex-wife, the late Whitney Houston. Bobby also contributed to Ja Rule’s single, “Thug Lovin” in 2002 which won Brown a Source Award for R&B/Rap Collaboration of the Year for 2003.
Brown is ready to return to take his rightful place among today’s R&B artists with his new CD “The Masterpiece.” Brown is developing a new reality television show in which he will appear with his fiancée Alicia Etheredge. This will follow-up on his appearances in “Gone Country,”“Celebrity Fit Club” and “Being Bobby Brown”.
Bobby has simply confirmed what core fans already knew, that Bobby Brown is the real thing, a true artist with a career’s worth to give.
Bobby Brown spoke to Aries of UrbanBridgez.com in support of our Black Music Month Interview Series. In this interview Bobby speaks about his new release “The Masterpiece,” being out on the road currently with NE, the Matt Lauer interview, Whitney Houston, his thoughts on the current state of R&B, where he got his tough skin from and much more!
UrbanBridgez.com: So how excited are you that The Masterpiece is finally in stores? Tell everybody why they should go pick it up now!
Bobby Brown: I’m very excited The Masterpiece is now in stores. You know it’s been 14 years, so people need to really go cop that. Download it from iTunes or whatever, either way pick it up!
UrbanBridgez.com: You’ve been working on this album for sometime, how did you finally decide which 10 tracks you wanted on the album?
Bobby Brown: Really it was simple actually. Just with the names of the songs alone that doesn’t anybody know. Like Get Out The Way, Damage and Can’t Give Up. The Masterpiece is basically just about my life, how I’ve been through struggles and been able…God has built a Masterpiece of me. It’s really self explanatory after you hear it.
UrbanBridgez.com: Your video for “Don’t Let Me Die” recently debuted and it’s a great video with you and your fiancé Alicia. What made you want to go with that one for the lead single?
Bobby Brown: It was just the beauty of it, you know. We filmed that video in Jamaica and it was just alot of fun. Being in Jamaica and us being there and me being able to really just show her how much I care for her. So I thought that would be a really good song to come out with first.
UrbanBridgez.com: What are your overall plans with this album as far as promoting and getting the word out to the masses of the release due to you being on an Indie now?
Bobby Brown: I actually plan to do alot, right now I’m on tour with New Edition and I’ll be promoting in every city as much as possible. But I’m really looking forward to people just hearing the record, once you hear the record everybody will jump on it.
[Download] “The Masterpiece” Now from iTunes!
UrbanBridgez.com: Last time we spoke you mentioned working with Jazmine Sullivan, is that something you still plan on doing in the near future?
Bobby Brown: Yeah hopefully, she’s really cool I like her alot. I’m looking forward to it.
UrbanBridgez.com: You’re currently on tour with NE and anybody that has seen a NE or Bobby concert knows you guys give a real show! What makes this tour different then any other NE tour and why should fans come out?
Bobby Brown: This tour is about bringing the brothers all back together. Us on stage man, is just so much fun. I’m just happy to be out there with the boys. We’ll be out till October, so people have to come out and check us out when we come to your city.
UrbanBridgez.com: You recently did the big interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show with your family, now that it’s all said and done, were you pleased with the outcome of it?
Bobby Brown: Yeah, I got things off my chest. He got the opportunity to ask me about certain things and current events. It was also really good for my family, you know.
UrbanBridgez.com: What if anything has Whitney’s death taught you as far as moving forward with your own life & future?
Bobby Brown: Well it really hurt me, but I’m over 7 and a half years clean. So really I just want to stay that way and work, work, work!
UrbanBridgez.com: Your kids seem to all plan to work in the entertainment business in one way or the other, do you have any fears for them considering the trials and tribulations you’ve faced in this industry?
Bobby Brown: No, they’ve been apart of it. They’re strong kids, I’m always going to be there to watch over them. To make sure that they don’t make mistakes. Long as they finish school, they can come and be apart of it (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: You clearly have very tough skin due to the fact that people always seem to have something negative to say about you, but yet you rarely respond and you just let them go with it. How do you do that, I think I would be snappin off left and right?
Bobby Brown: Yeah that’s my mother man. My mother always told me, just stay down to earth and don’t let what people say bother you. You know, I just hold my head up despite of everything. I know who I am, so it makes no difference to me what people think.
UrbanBridgez.com: R&B is at such a crossroad right now in regards to the direction it’s been headed in current years, what’s one of your biggest issues in the direction it’s been headed?
Bobby Brown: I think R&B is coming back man, I think it’s needed out there for the masses. Everybody needs to be talking about love and not booty shake here and booty shake there and suck you right here. I mean music just needs to go somewhere else now. I’m glad I’m apart of trying to take it somewhere else.
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s your opinion on current various successful R&B artists, now recording more pop/dance albums than R&B when it was R&B music that led to their success to begin with?
Bobby Brown: Well R&B ain’t nothing but Pop music anyway. Popular music isn’t anything but R&B music. Hey, to each it’s own. If you want to crossover, crossover. I think everybody wants their music to be heard by the masses. R&B is just the worlds music.
UrbanBridgez.com: When are we going to see you in some new films, you have played some great roles in the past?
Bobby Brown: As of right now, I don’t have any roles coming up. I’ve been looking at some scripts. I’ve been thinking about doing this or that, but as of right now I’m just concentrated on promoting this album and staying on the road doing the touring. And later on down the line I will absolutely be doing more acting.
UrbanBridgez.com: Is there anything else you would like to leave with your fans?
Bobby Brown: I thank you for 29 years of devoted love and let’s keep it going!