new album released Oct 27th
Evolution Of A Man
from the album - I Betcha Never
YouTube - Brian Mc Knight - I Betcha Never
One of the most consistent and versatile adult contemporary R&B artists, Brian McKnight placed seven albums spread across 15 years — from the early '90s through the first decade of the 2000s — within the Top Ten of Billboard's R&B albums chart. Whether he wrote and produced for himself or collaborated with the likes of Diddy, the Underdogs, and Tim & Bob, he enjoyed moderate commercial success without ever quite becoming a superstar. This, along with a down-to-earth personality and a catalog heavy on mellow material, may have helped McKnight for the sake of longevity; he made his first mark during the tail end of the new jack swing era and, nearly 20 years later, shared chart space with singers half his age. He holds a Grammy record for 16 nominations without a win.
McKnight, a native of Buffalo, NY, grew up in a family where music came naturally. He was a member of the church choir along with his immediate family; his grandfather was the director. With a gospel upbringing, McKnight explored other genres of music. Still in his early teens, he exercised his writing ambitions by penning instrumentals (soft jazz, easy listening); he learned to play several instruments. He formed a band and began performing his originals at local venues. By the age of 18, McKnight had secured a publishing deal. His calling to the national scene manifested itself when his older brother Claude and the group he was a member of, Take 6, signed a recording contract with a major label.
After sending out numerous demos to various record companies, McKnight's tape drew the interest of Mercury Records president Ed Eckstine (son of Billy Eckstine). Eckstine was so impressed with McKnight's sound that the young artist was signed to a deal within two weeks. McKnight's first release on Mercury was 1992's "The Way Love Goes," peaking at number 11 after 19 weeks on the Billboard R&B chart. His two follow-up singles barely cracked the Billboard R&B Top 60, including "Love Is," a duet with Vanessa Williams featured on Beverly Hills 90210. Ironically, that single peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, introducing McKnight to a crossover audience. His self-titled album made a minor splash.
Though there was a fair amount of buzz around McKnight as a promising up-and-comer, nearly three years passed between his debut and his second album, I Remember You (1995). His first Top Ten R&B album, it contained a pair of Top 20 R&B singles: a cover of Van Morrison's "Crazy Love" and the relatively contemporary "On the Down Low." A very young Robin Thicke, whose admiration ran so deep that he was jokingly nicknamed "Brian McWhite" by friends, co-wrote one of the album's other songs. On Anytime (1997), McKnight shook up his sound by collaborating with Diddy and Trackmasters; the former produced "You Should Be Mine (Don't Waste Your Time)," which crossed into the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 and featured Mase. A Christmas album, Bethlehem, followed in 1998 — the first of five albums he released on Motown. A year later, McKnight returned with Back at One; its title track reached the top of the Hot 100. Superhero, from 2001, kicked off with the surprisingly rock title track and a featured-guest list — Justin Timberlake, Nate Dogg, Nelly's St. Lunatics — that looked like that of a rap mixtape. 2003's U Turn was a fairly straightforward and ballad-filled affair.
Some time playing basketball for the ABA's Ontario Warriors helped keep McKnight out of the musical picture for a couple years. Gemini (2005), his final set for Motown, was released in 2005 and contained some of his most overtly sexual songwriting. Ten, a Warner Bros. release, followed quickly the next year, sporting a handful of Tim & Bob collaborations amongst otherwise self-produced material. A second Christmas album, I'll Be Home for Christmas, was released in 2008. Evolution of a Man, for the most part a self-sufficient collection, was released in 2009 on E1 (aka Koch). This wasn't merely one of McKnight's most productive phases from a musical standpoint. He hosted a radio program on a Los Angeles radio station, performed on Broadway in Chicago, and competed on the second season of Celebrity Apprentice.
Brian McKnight's lone set of non-Christmas material for Warner Bros., 2006's Ten, peaked exactly where his previous six proper albums topped out (within the Top Five of Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop chart), yet he finds himself on E1 (formerly Koch) for Evolution of a Man. Though he has written and produced plenty of his own material in the past, he did it all on this one, and presumably provided much of its instrumentation. It's a set that is predominantly slow, sparse, and intimate. Most of the album's last two-thirds offers familiar McKnight fare — sensitive, soothing backdrops that are at least comforting when not uplifting. Earlier on, as well as in a couple instances deeper into the album, McKnight takes some risks with tracks that contain little more than pattering percussion and twinkling keyboards; here, the sonics are more memorable than the songs, and not much of the album as a whole holds up to repeated listening. Some of McKnight's devoted fanbase will find the album rather fascinating since it's a change of pace, more a collection of loose sketches than a highly polished set.
1 The Brian McKnight Show McKnight 01:28
2 Just A Little Bit McKnight 04:18
3 I Betcha Never McKnight 04:21
4 What I've Been Waiting 4 McKnight 04:00
5 When ur Lovin Me McKnight 04:06
6 Never Say Goodbye McKnight 04:00
7 Stay Tuned McKnight 00:14
8 Next 2U McKnight 04:32
9 I Miss U McKnight 03:49
10 Always Be My Baby McKnight 03:26
11 Baby It's U McKnight 03:51
12 While McKnight 04:21
13 Another You McKnight 03:21
14 Not Alone McKnight 04:01