Contemporary R&B (also known as simply R&B) is a music genre that combines elements of hip hop, soul, R&B and funk.
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Contemporary R&B (also known as simply R&B) is a music genre that combines elements of hip hop, soul, R&B and funk.
Last edited by forg; Aug 12, 2011 at 04:34 PM.
Although the abbreviation “R&B” originates from traditional rhythm and blues music, today the term R&B is most often used to describe a style of African American music originating after the demise of disco in the 1980s. Some sources refer to the style as urban contemporary (the name of the radio format that plays hip hop and contemporary R&B).
Contemporary R&B has a polished record production style, drum machine-backed rhythms, an occasional saxophone-laced beat to give a jazz feel (mostly common in contemporary R&B songs prior to the year 1993), and a smooth, lush style of vocal arrangement. Electronic influences are becoming an increasing trend, and the use of hip hop or dance inspired beats are typical, although the roughness and grit inherent in hip hop may be reduced and smoothed out. Contemporary R&B vocalists are often known for their use of melisma, popularized by vocalists such as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.
As the disco era came to a close, a new generation of producers began adding synthesizers and slick drum machine beats to African American music. Michael Jackson and Prince were among the first post-disco black musicians to cross over to mainstream audiences. In its early years, mainstream R&B was very pop-oriented. Notable 1980s R&B musicians include Luther Vandross, the SOS Band, Mtume, Freddie Jackson, DeBarge, Loose Ends, and Stephanie Mills.
Tina Turner made a comeback during the second half of the 1980s, while Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson broke into the pop music charts with a series of hits. Richard J. Ripani wrote that Janet Jackson's third studio album Control (1986) was "important to the development of R&B for a number of reasons", as she and her producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, "crafted a new sound that fuses the rhythmic elements of funk and disco, along with heavy doses of synthesizers, percussion, sound effects, and a rap music sensibility."Ripani wrote that "the success of Control led to the incorporation of stylistic traits of rap over the next few years, and Janet Jackson was to continue to be one of the leaders in that development."That same year, Teddy Riley began producing R&B recordings that included hip hop influences. This combination of R&B style and hip hop rhythms was termed new jack swing, and was applied to artists such as Bobby Brown, Keith Sweat, Guy, Jodeci, and Bell Biv DeVoe.
In contrast to the works of Boyz II Men, Babyface and similar artists, other R&B artists and groups from this same period began adding even more of a hip hop sound to their work, like the innovative group Jodeci. The synthesizer-heavy rhythm tracks of new jack swing was replaced by grittier East Coast hip hop-inspired backing tracks, resulting in a genre labeled hip hop soul by producer Sean Combs who also had mentored group Jodeci in the beginning and helped them with their unique look. The style became less popular by the end of the 1990s, but later experienced a resurgence.
During the mid 1990s, Michael Jackson, R Kelly, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Aaliyah, TLC, SWV and Boyz II Men brought contemporary R&B to the mainstream. Janet Jackson's self-titled fifth studio album janet. (1993), which came after her historic multi-million dollar contract with Virgin Records, sold over twenty million copies worldwide. Boyz II Men and Carey recorded several Billboard Hot 100 #1 hits, including "Fantasy", "One Sweet Day", a collaboration between both acts, which became the longest-running #1 hit in Hot 100 history. Carey, Boyz II Men and TLC released albums in 1994 and 1995—Daydream, II , and CrazySexyCool respectively — that sold over ten million copies, earning them diamond and also making them the best selling female R&B group of all time.
In the late 1990s, neo soul, which added 1970s soul influences to the hip hop soul blend, arose, led by artists such as D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, and Maxwell. Mariah Carey was well known to incorporate her pop, R&B tunes with hip-hop and rap. Hill and Missy Elliott further blurred the line between R&B and hip hop by recording both styles. Beginning in 1995, the Grammy Awards enacted the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album, with II by Boyz II Men becoming the first recipient. The award was later received by TLC for CrazySexyCool in 1996, Tony Rich for Words in 1997, Erykah Badu for Baduizm in 1998 and Lauryn Hill for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1999. At the end of 1999, Billboard magazine ranked Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson as the first and second most successful artists of the 1990s.
By the 2000s, the cross-pollination between R&B and hip hop had increased. Mainstream modern R&B has a sound more based on rhythm than hip hop soul had, and lacks the hardcore and soulful urban "grinding" feel on which hip-hop soul relied. That rhythmic element descends from new jack swing. R&B began to focus more on solo artists rather than groups as the 2000s progressed.
Last edited by forg; Aug 12, 2011 at 04:36 PM.
Some of the most prominent R&B musicians today.
Last edited by forg; Aug 12, 2011 at 04:37 PM.
Alicia Augello Cook (née Dean) (born January 25, 1981), better known by her stage name Alicia Keys, is an American recording artist, musician and actress. She was raised by a single mother in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan in New York City. At age seven, Keys began to play classical music on the piano. She attended Professional Performing Arts School and graduated at 16 as valedictorian. She later attended Columbia University before dropping out to pursue her music career. Keys released her debut album with J Records, having had previous record deals first with Columbia and then Arista Records.
Keys' debut album, Songs in A Minor, was a commercial success, selling over 12 million copies worldwide. She became the best-selling new artist and best-selling R&B artist of 2001. The album earned Keys five Grammy Awards in 2002, including Best New Artist and Song of the Year for "Fallin'". Her second studio album, The Diary of Alicia Keys, was released in 2003 and was also another success worldwide, selling eight million copies. The album garnered her an additional four Grammy Awards in 2005. Later that year, she released her first live album, Unplugged, which debuted at number one in the United States. She became the first female to have an MTV Unplugged album to debut at number one and the highest since Nirvana in 1994.
Keys made guest appearances on several television series in the following years, beginning with Charmed. She made her film debut in Smokin' Aces and went on to appear in The Nanny Diaries in 2007. Her third studio album, As I Am, was released in the same year and sold six million copies worldwide, earning Keys an additional three Grammy Awards. The following year, she appeared in The Secret Life of Bees, which earned her a nomination at the NAACP Image Awards. She released her fourth album, The Element of Freedom, in December 2009, which became Keys' first chart-topping album in the United Kingdom. Throughout her career, Keys has won numerous awards and has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and 25 million singles, which makes her one of the best selling artists of all time. Billboard magazine named her the top R&B artist of the 2000–2009 decade, establishing herself as one of the best-selling artists of her time. In 2010, VH1 included Keys on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Shaffer Chimere Smith, Jr. (born October 18, 1979), better known by his stage name Ne-Yo, is an American pop and R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, and actor. Since his debut, Ne-Yo has had five top ten songs on the Billboard Hot 100 as a lead artist and two number-one albums on the Billboard 200. Ne-Yo has also amassed a catalog of chart-topping songs that he has written for other artists.
Ne-Yo broke into the recording industry as a songwriter, penning the hit "Let Me Love You" for singer Mario. The single's successful release in the United States prompted an informal meeting between Ne-Yo and Def Jam's label head, and signing a recording contract.
In 2006, he released his debut album, In My Own Words, which contained the US number one hit "So Sick". Then in 2007, he released his second album, Because of You which contained the US top 3 hit, "Because of You". In 2008, he released his third album, Year of the Gentleman, which contained the top 10 hits "Closer","Mad" and "Miss Independent". His fourth studio album Libra Scale was released on November 22, 2010.
Usher Terry Raymond IV ( /ˈʌʃər/; born October 14, 1978), who performs under the mononym Usher, is an American recording artist, dancer, and actor. He is considered around the world to be the reigning King of R&B. Usher, rose to fame in the late 1990s with the release of his second album My Way, which spawned his first Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit, "Nice and Slow". His followup album 8701, produced the Billboard Hot 100 number one hits "U Remind Me" and "U Got It Bad". Both albums sold over 8 million copies worldwide, establishing Usher as one of the best selling R&B artists of the 1990s.
Usher's success continued with his 2004 album Confessions, which sold over ten million copies in the United States, and been certified diamond by the RIAA. Confessions has the highest first week sales for an R&B artist in history, and sold over 20 million copies worldwide. It spawned a record breaking four consecutive Billboard number-one hits—"Yeah!", "Burn", "Confessions Part II", and "My Boo". Usher's 2008 album Here I Stand sold over 5 million copies worldwide, and its lead single "Love In This Club" peaked at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100.
On March 30, 2010, Usher released his sixth studio album Raymond v. Raymond, which became his third consecutive album to debut at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart. It has been certified platinum by the RIAA, and spawned another Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit "OMG". The song became his ninth number one in the United States, making him the first 2010s artist to collect number one singles in three consecutive decades, and only the fourth artist of all-time to achieve the feat. He later released an extended play and deluxe edition of "Raymond v. Raymond", entitled Versus, which debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart. Its lead single "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love", achieved international success and reached number-four on the Billboard Hot 100.
The RIAA ranks Usher as one of the best-selling artists in American music history, having sold over 23 million copies in the United States alone. To date, he has sold over 65 million records worldwide, making him one of the Best selling music artists of all time. Usher, has won numerous awards including seven Grammy Awards, four World Music Awards, six American Music Awards, and twenty two Billboard Music Awards. In 2008, Usher was ranked as the 21st most successful Hot 100 Singles Artist of all-time by Billboard magazine. It also ranked Usher the number one Hot 100 artist of the 2000s decade. Naming him the second most successful overall artist of the 2000s decade, with his 2004 album Confessions being ranked as the top solo album and second most successful overall album of the last decade. In November 2010, Usher was ranked sixth by Billboard on its list of the Top 25 R&B/Hip-Hop artists of the past 25 years (1985–2010).Ranking higher than any other artist of his generation. Usher has attained nine Hot 100 number-one hits (all as a lead artist) and has attained sixteen Hot 100 top-ten hits. Aside from his musical career, he is regarded as a sex symbol. In 1998 People named him the sexiest R&B artist alive. In 2010, Glamour named him one of the 50 sexiest men alive,
Robyn Rihanna Fenty (born February 20, 1988), better known as simply Rihanna (pronounced /riˈɑːnə/ ree-ah-nə or /riˈćnə/ ree-an-ə), is a Barbadian R&B recording artist. Born in Saint Michael, Barbados, Rihanna moved to the United States at the age of 16 to pursue a recording career under the guidance of record producer Evan Rogers. She subsequently signed a contract with Def Jam Recordings after auditioning for then-label head Jay-Z.
In 2005, Rihanna released her debut studio album, Music of the Sun, which peaked in the top ten of the Billboard 200 chart and features the Billboard Hot 100 hit single "Pon de Replay." Less than a year later, she released her second studio album, A Girl Like Me (2006), which peaked within the top five of the Billboard albums chart, and produced her first Hot 100 number one single, "SOS". Rihanna's third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), spawned four chart-topping singles "Umbrella", "Take a Bow", "Disturbia" and "Don't Stop the Music", and was nominated for nine Grammy Awards, winning Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Umbrella," which features Jay-Z. Her fourth studio album Rated R, released in November 2009, produced the top 10 singles "Russian Roulette", "Hard" and "Rude Boy", which achieved the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Loud (2010), her fifth studio album, contains the number-one hits "Only Girl (In the World)", "What's My Name?" and "S&M".
Rihanna has sold more than 20 million albums and 60 million singles which makes her one of the best selling artists of all time. She is the youngest artist in Billboard charts history to achieve ten number-one singles on the Hot 100. As of March 2010, Rihanna has sold approximately 5.4 million album units and over 33,7 million digital singles in the United States. Billboard named Rihanna the Digital Songs Artist of the 2000s decade, and ranked her as the 17th Artist of the 2000s decade. She has received several accolades, including the 2007 World Music Awards for World's Best-Selling Pop Female Artist and Female Entertainer of the Year, and the 2011 Brit Award for Best International Female Solo Artist. She has also amassed a total of four Grammy Awards, four American Music Awards, and eighteen Billboard Music Awards.
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles ( /biˈjɒnseɪ/ bee-yon-say; born September 4, 1981), often known simply as Beyoncé, is an American R&B recording artist, actress and fashion designer. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she enrolled in various performing arts schools and was first exposed to singing and dancing competitions as a child. Knowles rose to fame in the late 1990s as the lead singer of the R&B girl group Destiny's Child, one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time.
During the hiatus of Destiny's Child, Knowles released her debut solo album Dangerously in Love in 2003, which spawned the number-one hits "Crazy in Love" and "Baby Boy" and became one of the most successful albums of that year, earning her a then record-tying five Grammy Awards. Following the group's disbandment in 2005, Knowles released her second solo album, B'Day in 2006. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and included the hits "Irreplaceable" and "Beautiful Liar". Her third solo album I Am... Sasha Fierce was released in 2008, and included the anthemic "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)". The album earned Knowles six Grammys at the 52nd Grammy Awards, breaking the record for most Grammy Awards won by a female artist in one night. In 2011, Knowles released her fourth studio album 4, which became her fourth consecutive solo number-one album on the Billboard 200. This made Knowles the second female artist and third artist overall, to have her first four studio albums debut atop the chart.
Apart from her work in music, Knowles has also launched a career in acting. In 2001, she made her debut in the musical film Carmen: A Hip Hopera, prior to appearing in major films, including Dreamgirls (2006), which earned her two Golden Globe nominations, and Cadillac Records (2008). In 2004, Knowles and her mother introduced their family's fashion line, House of Deréon; Knowles has also endorsed brands such as Pepsi, Tommy Hilfiger, Armani and L'Oréal. In June 2010, Knowles was ranked second on Forbes list of the 100 Most Powerful and Influential celebrities in the world, and first on its list of the Most Powerful and Influential musicians in the world.
Knowles has earned numerous awards and accolades. She is one of the most honored artists by the Grammys, and third among female artists, with a total of 16 Grammy Awards—13 as a solo artist and 3 as a member of Destiny's Child. At the 2011 Billboard Music Awards, Knowles was honored with the Billboard Millennium Award for recognizing her career achievements and influence in the music industry. She was ranked the 4th Artist of the 2000s decade by Billboard, and was listed the most successful female artist of the 2000s, as well as the top radio artist. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), also recognized Knowles as the top certified artist of the 2000s. As of May 2010, Knowles has sold more than 11.2 million albums and 25 million singles in the United States. As of September 2009, she has sold 75 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1970) is an American R&B/pop singer-songwriter, record producer and actress. She made her recording debut in 1990 under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola, and became the first recording artist to have her first five singles top the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Following her marriage to Mottola in 1993, a series of hit records including "Dreamlover", "Hero", "Without You", "Fantasy", "One Sweet Day" and "Always Be My Baby" from the diamond albums Music Box (1993) and Daydream (1995) and released the holiday standard "All I Want For Christmas Is You" from the best selling Christmas album of all time Merry Christmas (1994), established her position as Columbia Records' top-selling act.
Following her separation from Mottola in 1997, she introduced elements of hip hop into her album work, to much initial success, but when she left Columbia in 2001 her popularity was in decline. She signed an unprecedented $100 million deal with Virgin Records, only to be dropped from the label and bought out of her contract in the following year. This radical turn of events was due to the highly publicized physical and emotional breakdown, as well as the poor reception that was given to Glitter, her film and soundtrack project. In 2002 Carey signed a $24 million deal with Island Records, and after a relatively unsuccessful period, she returned to the top of pop music in 2005 with her album The Emancipation of Mimi. The album became her best-selling album in the 2000s and its single, "We Belong Together", became her most successful solo single of her music career and was also awarded Song of the Decade by Billboard.
In a career spanning over two decades, Carey has sold more than 200 million albums, singles, and videos worldwide, making her one of the world's best-selling music artists. Carey was cited as the world’s best-selling recording artist of the 1990s at the World Music Awards in 1998, and was named the best-selling female artist of the millennium by the same awards show in 2000. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), she is the third-best-selling female artist, with shipments of 63 million albums in the U.S. In 2006 Carey was listed in 6th place on the Forbes Richest 20 Woman In Entertainment list. In April 2008, "Touch My Body" became Carey's eighteenth number one single on the Hot 100, the most by any solo artist. Carey was included in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the world in 2008. Carey starred in the film Precious (2009), which earned her a Breakthrough Performance Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and an NAACP Image Award nomination.
Aside from her commercial accomplishments, she composes all her own material, has earned five Grammy Awards, seventeen World Music Awards, and is known for her five-octave vocal range, power, melismatic style and signature use of the whistle register.
Christopher Maurice "Chris" Brown (born May 5, 1989) is an American R&B singer, songwriter, dancer, and actor. He made his recording debut in late 2005 with the self-titled album Chris Brown at the age of 16. The album featured the hit single "Run It!", which topped the Billboard Hot 100, making Brown the first male artist to have his debut single top the chart since Montell Jordan in 1995. The album has sold over two million copies in the United States and was certified double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Brown's second studio album, Exclusive was released worldwide in November 2007. It spawned two successful singles; his second U.S. number one hit, "Kiss Kiss" featuring T-Pain and "With You", which peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Brown has released a deluxe version of his album called The Forever Edition. The first single from it, "Forever", was released in May 2008 and reached number two on Billboard Hot 100. Exclusive has been certified Platinum by the RIAA. The third studio album, titled Graffiti, was released on December 15, 2009. The first official single was "I Can Transform Ya", featuring Lil Wayne and Swizz Beatz, which peaked at number-twenty on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Brown's eighth Top 20 hit on that chart. He has had various other hit singles, and his dance routines have been compared to the likes of Michael Jackson.
In 2009, Brown pled guilty to felony assault of singer and then-girlfriend Rihanna, and was sentenced to five years probation and six months of community service. The case received widespread media attention and negatively affected his career as a singer and all-around entertainer.
Keri Lynn Hilson (born December 5, 1982) is an American R&B recording artist and songwriter. Born and raised in Decatur, Georgia, Hilson made herself a name as a songwriter, penning tracks for several artists in the mid-2000s as part of the five-person production/songwriting team known as The Clutch. In 2006, she signed a recording contract with Timbaland's label, Mosley Music.
Hilson released her debut studio album, In a Perfect World... in March 2009, which peaked within the top five of the Billboard 200 albums chart and featured the hit singles "Knock You Down" and "Turnin Me On". The album reached number one on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and was eventually certified gold. Hilson earned two Grammy Award nominations for the album including Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Knock You Down", which features Kanye West and Ne-Yo. A reissue of the album, included previously unreleased songs such as "I Like". The song became Hilson's first number one hit in Germany and certified platinum there. As a prominent guest vocalist in both the contemporary R&B and hip hop genres, Hilson has been featured on over a dozen singles by other artists, including the number-one hit single "The Way I Are" with Timbaland.
Jason Joel Desrouleaux (born September 21, 1989), better known by his stage name Jason Derülo, is a Haitian-American singer-songwriter, actor and dancer. After producing records for several artists and writing songs for Cash Money Records, co-founder of the label Birdman, Young Money Entertainment owner Lil Wayne and rapper Diddy, Derülo signed to minor recording label Beluga Heights. After Beluga Heights became part of the Warner Music Group, Derülo released his debut single, "Whatcha Say" in May 2009. The song became a huge digital hit, selling over five million digital downloads, gaining an RIAA certification of double platinum, and reaching number 1 in the US and New Zealand. Derülo released his second single, "In My Head", in December 2009. His debut album, Jason Derülo, was released in 2010.
Tremaine Aldon Neverson (born November 28, 1984), better known by his stage name Trey Songz, is an American singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer and actor. His debut album, I Gotta Make It, was released in 2005, while his second album, Trey Day, was released in 2007. His third album, Ready, was released in 2009 while his fourth studio album, Passion, Pain & Pleasure, was released on September 14, 2010.
Keyshia Myeshia Cole-Gibson (born October 15, 1981) is an American recording artist from Oakland, California. She gained nationwide success when she released her platinum selling debut, The Way It Is in June 2005. Her sophomore album Just Like You came in production shortly after that and was released in September 2007. Her third studio album, A Different Me was released on December 16, 2008 and is certified Gold for selling 900,000+ units in the United States. She also achieved moderate success for her reality/documentary series Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is which aired on BET from 2006-2008 which gave a close look at Cole's career and personal life with her biological mother and sister. In December 2010, she released her fourth studio album, Calling All Hearts.
Bobby Wilson (born on February 27, 1980), better known by his stage name Bobby V (previously known as Bobby Valentino), is an American recording artist (his nickname being "Valentino" because he was due to be born on Valentine's Day). He is now known as Bobby V due to a lawsuit involving an English singer, song writer and musician who has been recording and performing under the name Bobby Valentino for over 35 years.
Peter Gene Hernandez (born October 8, 1985), better known by his stage name Bruno Mars, is an American singer-songwriter and record producer. Raised in Honolulu, Hawaii by a family of musicians, Mars began making music at a young age. After performing in various musical venues in his hometown throughout his childhood, he decided to pursue a musical career and moved to Los Angeles after graduating from high school. Mars began producing songs for other artists, joining production team The Smeezingtons.
After an unsuccessful stint with Motown Records, Mars signed with Atlantic Records in 2009. He became recognized as a solo artist after lending his vocals and co-writing the hooks for the songs "Nothin' on You" by B.o.B, and "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy. He also co-wrote the hits "Right Round" by Flo Rida featuring Kesha, "Wavin' Flag" by K'naan. In October 2010, he released his debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans. Anchored by the worldwide number one singles "Just the Way You Are" and "Grenade", the album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200. He was nominated for seven Grammys at the 53rd Grammy Awards, winning Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Just the Way You Are".
Mars' music is noted for displaying a wide variety of styles and influences, and contains elements of many different musical genres. He has worked with an assortment of artists from different genres; Mars acknowledges the influences that his collaborations have had on his own music. As a child, he was highly influenced by artists such as Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson and would often impersonate these artists from a young age. Mars also incorporates reggae and Motown inspired sounds into his work. Jon Caramanica of The New York Times referred to Mars as "one of the most versatile and accessible singers in pop.
Jennifer Kate Hudson (born September 12, 1981) is an American recording artist, actress and spokesperson. She came to prominence in 2004 as one of the finalists on the third season of American Idol coming in seventh place. She made her film debut in the 2006 film Dreamgirls, which won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, an NAACP Image Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
She won a Grammy Award for her eponymous debut album, Jennifer Hudson, which was released in 2008 on Arista Records and was certified gold by the RIAA for selling over 800,000 copies in the US; sales exceeded 1 million copies worldwide. Additionally, it spawned the hit single Spotlight. Her second album I Remember Me was released in March 2011, and has reached number two on the Billboard 200, selling 165,000 copies in its first week of release.
In late 2008, after Hudson's mother, brother and nephew were killed in a shooting, Hudson stepped out of the limelight for three months. Hudson resumed her public appearances in 2009, and has since performed at the Super Bowl XLIII, the Grammy Awards, American Idol, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Hudson has been described as a friend of President Barack Obama, who invited her to appear with him at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills in May 2009. She also performed at the White House at the "Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement" event. Her vocal range is mezzo-soprano.
Jordin Brianna Sparks (born December 22, 1989) is an American pop/R&B singer-songwriter, model and actress from Glendale, Arizona who rose to fame as the winner of the sixth season of American Idol. Sparks won when she was 17 years old, making her the youngest winner in Idol history. She followed her American Idol victory with the release of her self-titled debut album in 2007, which has gone platinum in the U.S. and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. Sparks' single, "No Air" is the highest selling single by any American Idol contestant, selling about 4 million digital copies worldwide. Due to the success of her debut album and its four top 20 singles, she has received numerous awards and nominations including an American Music Award in 2008 and her first Grammy nomination in 2009.
Sparks' second album Battlefield was released in July 2009 worldwide and debuted at #7 in the U.S., three spots higher than her first album. The album's lead single, also titled "Battlefield", peaked in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it her third top 10 single and fifth consecutive top 20 single. Sparks is the only Idol contestant to have their first five singles reach the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Battlefield" has sold almost 2 million copies worldwide. Sparks has sold over 9 million singles worldwide to date, making her one of the most successful idol winners. Battlefield's second single, "S.O.S. (Let the Music Play)", was her first song to top the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play making it her first U.S. number one single. Sparks followed her success in 2010 by making her debut on Broadway. Sparks starred as Nina Rosario in the Tony Award winning broadway musical, In The Heights.
Robert Sylvester Kelly (born January 8, 1967), better known by his stage name R. Kelly, is an American R&B singer-songwriter, arranger, performer and record producer. Debuting in 1992 with the group Public Announcement, Kelly went solo in 1993 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 for "I Believe I Can Fly".
Kelly has also written, produced and remixed songs for many artists including Ronald Isley and The Isley Brothers, The Winans, Charlie Wilson, Quincy Jones, Luther Vandross, Vanessa L. Williams, N-Phase, Changing Faces (group), Aaliyah, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, Celine Dion, gospel group Trin-I-Tee 5:7, Hi-Five, 112 (band), K-Ci & JoJo of Jodeci, Gerald Levert, Michael Jackson, Maxwell (musician), Syleena Johnson, Kelly Price, Brian McKnight, Trisha Yearwood, Tamia, Nivea, Britney Spears, Usher, Ray J, Mary J. Blige, Joe (singer), Ginuwine, Tyrese, Twista, Cassidy, Ciara, DJ Quik, B2K, Nick Cannon, Jennifer Lopez, and Marques Houston among others.
Ciara Princess Harris (born October 25, 1985), known mononymously as Ciara, is an American singer-songwriter, dancer, actress and fashion model. Born in Austin, Texas, she travelled around the world during her childhood, only to land in Atlanta, Georgia where she met music producer, Jazze Pha. With his help, she was signed to LaFace Records, and has gone on to become a successful artist, having sold more than seven million albums worldwide and had numerous top ten hits.
In 2004 Ciara released her debut album Goodies which spawned the number one hits "Goodies" and "1, 2 Step", selling over five million copies worldwide and certified triple platinum in the United States. The album earned her four nominations at the 2004 Grammy Awards. In 2006, she released her second album, Ciara: The Evolution which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and included the hits "Get Up" and "Promise". Her third album Fantasy Ride released in May 2009, included the worldwide top ten hit single "Love Sex Magic" with Justin Timberlake which earned her a nomination at the 52nd Grammy Awards for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals". Since making her musical debut in 2004, Ciara has attained five Billboard Hot 100 top ten singles including a number one. Prior to the release of her third album, Ciara has sold over seven million albums worldwide, and as of June 2010, she has sold more than 4.3 million albums and 6.9 million digital tracks in the United States alone.