HOMETOWN: Greenville, South Carolina.
WHAT HE’S UP TO NOW: Singing and recording.
THE STORY: There was a time, and not so long ago, when romantic balladeers were all the rage. During that time, a voice like Peabo Bryson’s was in high demand. Bryson started out singing in various groups, then recorded as a solo act for indie Bang Records in Atlanta. After recording several solo CDs with them for some years, he signed to Capitol Records, which proved to be a fruitful partnership for both.
While at Capitol, Bryson recorded some of his biggest hits, including “Let the Feeling Flow” and “If Ever You’re In My Arms Again.” But some of his best work (and his two Grammy wins) have been from his prolific work as a duet partner. Bryson has sung with some of the best female voices in music – everyone from Minnie Riperton, Roberta Flack and Celine Dion to Regina Belle, Natalie Cole and Melissa Manchester. His career soared on the strength of huge mainstream hits like the “Beauty and the Beast” and “A Whole New World,” the theme from “Aladdin.” (He won Grammys for those songs with Celine Dion and Regina Belle respectively.) Bryson was also the voice of the theme for the long-running soap opera, “One Life to Live.”
But as R&B music changed to more of a hip-hop sensibility, age and mainstream success actually worked against Bryson for that audience, despite his obvious talent. Like many other similarly talented singers, he became limited to Quiet Storm formats, and major label interest dried up. But despite changing times and some well-documented tax problems (the IRS auctioned off some of his possessions for back taxes in 2003), Bryson remains a sought-after singer, songwriter and performer.
He released the CD, “Missing You,” for Concord Records in 2007, and just last month, Bryson performed in New Jersey. TMZ cameras caught him there, so if you want to see what he looks like now, click here.
In 2006, Time/Life released “The Very Best of Peabo Bryson.” You can buy it here.
Bryson told Soultracks.com: “I am very excited that Time/Life has compiled all my greatest songs onto one CD, ‘The Very Best Of Peabo Bryson.’ It represents some of the work I am most proud of. I am known as a romantic balladeer, and I will continue to create music that represents how we look at life and how we deal with and cultivate relationships.”