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Babyface was born Kenneth Brian Edmonds in 1959 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He demonstrated his talents in music from a very young age, writing songs while still in middle school and eventually going on to perform with Bootsy Collins, who dubbed the young teen Babyface. He went on from there to perform in a variety of other groups, including Manchild and The Deele, and then released his first solo album, Lovers, in 1986.
Babyface’s debut album garnered little attention, but the follow-up, Tender Lover, was a smash hit in 1989. The album spawned the smash hits “It’s No Crime” and “Whip Appeal,” sending it to double platinum status, and Babyface’s career as a musician in his own right began to evolve into one as a hit-writer and producer. Immediately following the success of Tender Lover, Babyface began writing and co-writing for such notable artists as Whitney Houston, Johnny Gill, and Boyz II Men, for whom he penned one of the most successful singles in pop history, “End of the Road.” By 1989, Babyface had established LaFace Records, which launched the careers of such artists as Toni Braxton, TLC, and Usher.
The caliber of artists who have relied on Babyface’s talents for their most successful albums is staggering. The list includes Beyonce, Sheena Easton, Janet Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Michael Jackson, Paula Abdul, Bobby Brown, Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Tevin Campbell, Al Green, Faith Evans, Phil Collins, Lil Wayne, and even Madonna, for whom he also provided vocals on Bedtime Stories, and Eric Clapton, with whom he penned “Change the World,” from the Phenomenon soundtrack. He also contributed the hit single “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” for Waiting to Exhale in 1995.
While serving as the producer and writer for various other artists, Babyface continued to release his own albums throughout the 1980’s, 1990’s, and into the new millennium, including: For the Cool in You (1993), The Day (1996), Christmas with Babyface (1998), Face 2 Face (2001), Grown & Sexy (2005), and Playlist (2007.) By the mid 1990’s, Babyface had also branched out into film and television, establishing Edmonds Entertainment Group and producing such notable works as: Soul Food (1997), Josie and the Pussycats (2001), and the BET series College Hill.
Throughout his career, Babyface has produced more than twenty-five number one hits and been recognized with innumerous awards, including multiple BMI Pop Songwriter of the Year awards and innumerous Grammys for his songs and albums. Babyface continues to write and produce, and has future plans for more albums of his own.
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