Celebrating Black Music Month: Trendsetting R&B Male Groups/Artists: Brian McKnight

Continuing our celebration of Black Music Month, this week Singersroom digs into the 90’s vault for the best and most memorable R&B male artists and groups. From Jodeci to Silk and Brian McKnight to Usher, discover what made these artists hot and find out what they are up to today. Brian McKnight – The Consistent Soul Man Since 1992, Brian McKnight has been one of the most consistent, soul delivering, trendsetting, ballad crooning, and award winning R&B male artists of our time. Picking up where greats like Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, Donny Hathaway and Barry White left off, Brian McKnight has been one of the most consistent if not thee most consistent R&B male artist of the 90s and 00s. Capturing the soulfulness of his mentors, McKnight has sold well over 16 million albums since signing his first record deal at the age of 19 with Mercury Records. “It’s always been my goal to try and bring back real R&B music,” Brian says. “When I was growing-up it was all about the seventies soul men. From the first time I ever stepped into a studio, my daydream was to pick-up where Marvin Gaye left off.” An Upstate New York native, Brian McKnight was encouraged by his older brother Claude’s now popular group, Take 6 to take on the task of becoming a recording artist. After signing a deal with Mercury Records, McKnight issued three albums including 1997’s “Anytime” which earned the singer a Grammy nomination. Shortly thereafter, moving on to Motown Records where he released six albums including the multi-platinum album “Back at One.” Hailed as a classic, “Back at One,” also the title of the lead single became McKnight’s biggest album to date, reaching the no.1 spot on the R&B and mainstream Billboard charts. After spending just over eight years at Motown, McKnight released his most recent album “TEN,” accurately named as it became his tenth album overall and first on Warner Bros. Records, landing yet again at the top of the charts. However, for McKnight “TEN” was a new beginning, a project he helmed completely on his own. “I wasn’t very happy with the situation at my former label and perhaps that attitude was reflected in the material,” Brian confesses. Having penned and completing about thirty-three new songs before signing on the dotted line, McKnight was more than ready. “Right now, I am optimistic of what I can do in my new situation.” McKnight also pulled in Bryan Michael Cox and Tim & Bob for the album, which was released in 2006. In the new millenium, McKnight continues to shine, his ability to stay relevant and ability to evolve with the changing times has and will keep him around for a long time. Even though he is sometimes overlooked by up and coming singers, make no mistake that Brian McKnight has paved the way for many R&B male artists today. He admits though, “It would be a mistake for me to try and compete with Chris Brown or Ne-Yo, I’m not going to be dancing on BET, but at the same time I believe my material will appeal to everyone from teenagers to older folks.” Currently working on a variety of projects as previously reported on Singersroom, including a talk show, radio show and soundtracks for two Tyler Perry projects, the veteran soul singer could not be happier with the outcome of his latest album. “When I finish a record, I listen to it from beginning to end.” With a career spanning over 15 years, a feat in itself, Brian McKnight has mastered the art of issuing real and soulful R&B music successfully and without jeopardizing integrity that remains relatable to all generations much like Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye and Barry White.

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