R. Kelly is an American singer-songwriter and record producer A native of Chicago , Illinois , often referred to as King of R&B , Kelly began performing during the late 1980s and debuted in 1992 with the group Public Announcement In 1993, Kelly went solo with the album 12 Play He is known for a collection of major hit singles including ” Bump n’ Grind “, ” Your Body’s Callin’ “, ” I Believe I Can Fly “, ” Gotham City “, ” Ignition (Remix) “, ” If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time “, ” The World’s Greatest “, ” I’m a Flirt “, and the hip-hopera ” Trapped in the Closet “. In 1998, Kelly won three Grammy Awards out of five nominations for ” I Believe I Can Fly “.
Kelly has written, produced, and remixed songs and albums for many artists, including Aaliyah ‘s 1994 debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number In 1996, Kelly was nominated for a Grammy for writing Michael Jackson ‘s song ” You Are Not Alone “. In 2002 and 2004, Kelly released collaboration albums with rapper Jay-Z and has been a guest vocalist for other hip hop artists like Nas , Sean Combs , and Fat Joe.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has recognized R. Kelly as one of the best-selling music artists in the United States with 40 million albums sold as well as only the fifth black artist to crack the top 50 of the same list. In March 2011, R. Kelly was named the most successful R&B artist of the last 25 years by Billboard Kelly has released 12 solo studio albums, sold 40 million albums in the U.S. and over 60 million albums worldwide making him the most successful R&B male artist of the 1990s.
Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago , Illinois , Kelly was the third of four children. Kelly’s single mother, Joanne, was a singer and a Baptist Kelly’s father was absent throughout most of Kelly’s life. Kelly began singing in church at age eight. In Chicago, Kelly’s family lived in the Ida B. Wells Homes public housing project in the Bronzeville neighborhood.
Kelly entered Kenwood Academy in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood in the fall of 1980 where he met his music teacher Lena McLin , who encouraged Kelly to perform the Stevie Wonder classic ” Ribbon in the Sky ” in a high school talent show. As a teenager, Kelly began street performing under the Chicago ‘L’ tracks before he eventually formed a group with his friends Marc McWilliams, Vincent Walker, and Shawn Brooks. In 1989, Kelly, McWilliams, Walker and Brooks formed the group MGM (Musically Gifted Men). In 1990, MGM recorded and released their first single “Why You Wanna Play Me”, after releasing the single the group disbanded. In 1991, Kelly signed with Jive Records and teamed with a new group from Chicago called Public Announcement. R. Kelly played high school basketball with the late high school basketball player Ben Wilson He sang ” It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday ” at Ben Wilson’s funeral after his shooting.