As early as age 5, Perri had a vision of herself being a superstar, recording artist performing on stage in front of crowds. The impassioned teenager went about fulfilling the vision by starting teenage singing groups, competing in local talent shows and later performing in the Bay Area nightclubs.
Pebbles the singer (who is the cousin of R&B singer Cherelle) got her start in the early ’80s as a backup singer for percussionist/band leader Bill Summers and the funk outfit Con Funk Shun, helping co-pen one of the latter band’s hits, “Body Lovers.” By the end of the decade, however, McKissack was ready to strike out on her own.
By the age of 21, Perri had her first record deal with MCA Records and had coined the childhood nickname Pebbles. A series of chart topping hits would soon follow.
The singer’s self-titled 1987 debut featured contributions from both L.A. & Babyface as well as Charlie Wilson, André Cymone & Paul Jackson Jr. The first release for the album, was a tune originally penned for Vanessa Williams, entitled “Girlfriend.” The single went to #1 on the R&B charts and was followed by the #1 “Mercedes Boy.” The album released two more hits “Take Your Time” and “Do Me Right.”
Pebbles‘ follow-up recording, 1990‘s “Always,” fared nearly as well, going gold. The album featured production from L.A. & Babyface, Organized Noize, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Chucky Thompson, Tony Rich and Mario Winans. The album spawned another two #1s, “Giving You the Benefit” & the classic ballad, “Love Makes Things Happen” a duet with Babyface. two more singles were released, including “Backyard” a hot dance record that features Salt-N-Pepa and the title track ballad featuring vocals by Cherrelle and Johnny Gill, “Always.”
In 1989, Perri married co-founder of LaFace Records, Antonio “LA” Reid. Along with her new marriage, Perri’s professional endeavors became increasingly fruitful. Though she is not officially mentioned as one of the pioneers of the LaFace empire, Perri was instrumental in helping to brand LaFace Records as the “Motown of the South.” Her unique abilities helped to craft and launch producers, writers and acts that are still going strong today. Perri’s input alongside of L.A. and Babyface, proved to be golden and the effects can be seen, heard and felt throughout the history of the brand.
With a focus on discovering and cultivating new musical talent, Perri went on to discover and produce the #1 selling female group in history, TLC through her label Savvy Records. Guiding TLC‘s career and serving as their manager, the trio became one of pop’s biggest hit-making groups by 1994, thanks to their 11-time-platinum smash CrazySexyCool. Perri also helped to refine artists such as Toni Braxton and Tony Rich.
Pebbles returned back to her solo career in 1995 with her third release overall, “Straight from the Heart.” The album featured contributions from such producers/songwriters as Diddy, Kyle West, Mario Winans and Organized Noize. The album featured the hot lead single “Are You Ready“, which peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart. Part II of the single, which is a ballad is just as hot as the original. The second single, a cover of the Michael Jackson hit “I Can’t Help It“, was released from the album as well.
That year Pebbles also appeared on the track “Freedom” from the Panther soundtrack with a A-list of R&B & Hip-Hop female artists.
In 2008 Pebbles released her last album, a gospel record entitled “Prophetic Flows Vol I & II.”
With album sales totaling more than six million records worldwide and numerous nominations including the Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, ASACP Songwriter Awards, NAACP Image Award and many more, “Pebbles” firmly secured her place as one of the elite artists of her time.
The Sounds & Visuals of Pebbles