Turn on the radio and you are bound to hear a hit that Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds wrote, produced, or sang. The 11 time GRAMMY winner is still a musical force to be reckoned with after a career spanning four decades. Edmonds is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter who got his start performing with funk legend Bootsy Collins and joining the ’70s group Manchild. From there he became a member of the band The Deele where he would meet and eventually collaborate with his future production partner and co-founder of LaFace Records, Antonio L.A. Reid. Babyface flexed his songwriting skills with the tune “Just My Luck” then “Slow Jam” for Midnight Star’s No Parking on the Dance Floor album. He also penned the classic slow jam “Two Occassions” by The Deele.
In the ’80s Babyface, Reid, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis crafted the sound of the ’80s by tailoring material to individual artists, writing their own songs and creating their own tracks which are now thought of as timeless classics. With the Whisper’s hit “Rock Steady” it showcased the Babyface and L.A. Reid sound and production pattern that was a mixture of dance music with a helping of romance. The hits just kept coming; from “Dial My Heart” for the Boys, “Girlfriend” for Pebbles, “Every Little Step” and “Roni” for Bobby Brown, “My, My, My,” for Johnny Gill, “Ready of Not” for After 7 and the list goes on.
Babyface ventured out on his own as a solo artist in the late ’80s. His consecutive multi-platinum albums Tender Lover, For the Cool in You, and The Day, solidified his career as an artist. As the co-founder of LaFace Records in 1989, Babyface is also responsible for nurturing the careers of artists like Outkast, Usher, TLC, and Toni Braxton. On his website, he says making people feel good is the goal when working on music. “That’s ultimately what any musician or songwriter does,” declares Babyface. “We try to to make people feel good.” That feel good music has garnered Babyface many accolades including several awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and more than 200 top 10 R&B and over 50 top 10 pop hits (including 16 No. 1’s); generating cumulative single and album sales of more than 500 million units worldwide.
After releases like Face2Face, Grown & Sexy and the covers collection Playlist, Babyface returned in 2014 with Love, Marriage & Divorce, a duets album with Toni Braxton that later earned a Grammy for Best R&B Album. He then released another solo album called Return of the Tender Lover in 2015.
Let’s stroll down memory lane and take a look at some of Babyface’s receipts over the years!
From the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack, this penned and produced single is a heartbreak ballad. Babyface wrote nearly all of the songs on the film’s soundtrack.
Babyface rolling out his own receipts during a 2016 concert in Dallas, Texas: