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R. Kelly Biography

Robert Sylvester Kelly, known professionally as R. Kelly, is an American singer, songwriter, and producer. Moreso, he was a professional basketball player. With 12 studio albums and over 100 million records sold, he the most successful R&B male artist of the 1990s. Throughout his lengthy career, he achieved countless awards.

Career Beginnings

Kelly’s musical journey began in 1992, with the R&B group Public Announcement. One year later he went solo and released his first album 12 Play. It immediately topped the R&B charts and peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200. The album spawned several singles, most importantly Sex Me, Pts. 1-2, Bump n’ Grind and Your Body’s Callin’. In 1994 he produced Aaliyah‘s debut album. Rumors say the two were romantically involved, even though she was 15. Next up, he wrote a song for the legendary Michael Jackson. In 1995, he released another album, which included platinum-certified singles like You Remind Me of Something, Down Low (Nobody Has to Know), and I Can’t Sleep Baby. Additionally, all of them topped the R&B charts. In 1996, the artist released a Grammy-awarded single, I Believe I Can Fly, for the movie Space Jam.

Stardom & Scandal

In 1998, R. Kelly released the album R. It diminished the singer’s bad-boy image but became his biggest-selling album yet, going 7x Platinum. The first single, I’m Your Angel, a duet with Celine Dion, received critical acclaim. Furthermore, the next two singles were extremely successful on the R&B charts. Following these results, Kelly released TP-2.com in 2000, which topped the album charts for 3 consecutive weeks. He scored two more R&B number ones with I Wish and Fiesta, featuring Jay-Z.

During the following years, Kelly was involved in a scandal, due to being accused of abusing a minor. Naturally, this made his sales drop considerably. However, the artist managed to recover with his 2003 and 2004 albums Chocolate Factory and Happy People/U Saved Me. After a while, TP.3 Reloaded was released and included the first five chapters of his Trapped in the Closet saga. In 2007 and 2009, Kelly released two more albums but they didn’t get much attention. In 2011, the infamous artist suffered from health problems and had to undergo a throat surgery. He claimed the public’s attention again in 2015 with another number one album, The Buffet. Kelly’s latest release is a holiday special, 12 Nights of Christmas, which came out in 2016.


Photo credits: Billboard