When you talk about the whole package, R&B singer Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds should be one of the first artists that come to mind. Not only has this veteran crooner sold millions of records, his music and lyrics was and still is the stepping stone to a lot of the success of today’s top selling artists, including Brandy, Boyz II Men, Toni Braxton, TLC and many more. Read as Babyface tells Singersroom Exclusive how some of his hit records came about.
Singersroom: So I’m going to mention a few of your biggest records and I want you to tell me how those songs were written.
Singersroom: Toni Braxton â Breathe Again
Babyface: “Breather Again” was written in Atlanta Georgia inside a studio with Coco (SWV). It was at LA [Reid’s] house, we had a studio we built there in the guest house. We were trying to come up with more songs for her record. It was kind of one of those songs that I kind of sat down and started playing these cords and the words and melodies just kind of floated out. It was really written quickly; probably a couple of hours.
Singersroom: Boyz II Men â I’ll Make Love To You
Babyface: “I’ll Make Love To You” was kind of the follow up to “End Of The Road.” I think I wrote it in an apartment here in LA. Once I finished it, the hard part is like when you do one big song like “End Of The Road,” it’s tough to try to out do it but it was something that was in that line. When I first submitted it, I think the guys liked it but then at one point the record was voted off there album. At the last minute they voted it back in again.
Singersroom: Bobby Brown â Humpin’ Around
Babyface: That was written in Atlanta. It was the second album we had worked on with Bobby and at that point Bobby was spending most of his time with Teddy Riley. It was kind of difficult for us to get him in the studio and I think he was not totally feeling us at that point. But we finally got him in and recorded that song in a studio that he ultimately bought.
Singersroom: En Vogue â Whatever
Babyface: That was one that was written here in Brandon’s Way (Studio in Hollywood). It was the first time I had the chance to work with them and It was a record that I kind of put together for them specifically. I remember having a lot of fun with them and wishing I could have got with them earlier to do more things.
Singersroom: Brandy â Sittin’ up in My Room
Babyface: That was all part of a number of songs written at the same time. I was at a studio working with Forest Whitaker on a project so I ended up writing “Sittin’ up in My Room” there. Did the demo at a house I hand in LAâ¦.Brandy came over and we put down the idea. It was amazing how quick she did it. I think I listened to some Aaliyah records to start that song idea. Forest ended up using it for a scene in his movie.
Singersroom: Tevin Campbell â Can We Talk
Babyface: “Can We Talk” was written here in LA as well. Originally when I was writing it, I think I was writing it for Usher and then Quincy Jones called me and wanted me to do something. I happened to finish writing that record and I wanted to do something for Quincy so ultimately that’s how Tevin got that record.
Singersroom: Looking at your list of huge R&B records, are you satisfied with where R&B is presently?
Babyface: I think that R&B is getting betterâ¦I think it’s going back to more melodies, variety and music. I think for a minute it was heading in the wrong direction but we’re back in the right direction again. Looking forward to it!
Singersroom: So, are you getting ready for this Soulsummers.com show in Orlando?
Babyface: I guess I’m ready. I always try to be.
Singersroom: So it’s a mother’s Day celebration, tell me something that you’ve done for your mom that you will never forget on Mother’s Day.
Babyface: There are probably a few but I took her on a trip to Hawaii and gave her one of her first diamond watches. She’s not really into jewelry, well atleast back then, but she was very happy about it. It was king of a trip with her and her sisters as well.
As the years go by it gets kind of harder to impress her but at this point it’s mainly just being there with her.
—— By: Interview By Gary Gentles