Who is R. Kelly, and what has he contributed to music?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A native of Chicago, Robert Sylvester Kelly, know as R. Kelly is a singer-songwriter known principally in the R&B genre. In 1989, Kelly had his big break when he appeared on the talent show Big Break, hosted by Natalie Cole and won the $100,000 grand prize. After this, Kelly's album entitled Born into the 90's made its debut in early 1992; this album was in the "swingbeat" style, a fusion of hip-hop, dance-pop, and what is known as urban contemporary.

Kelly's first solo album had the single hit "Pump'N'Grind" which stayed on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart. After this album, Kelly was in demand to help compose with other artists, among them Toni Braxton and Michael Jackson, for whom he produced and composed Jackson's last number one hit, "You Are Not Alone." Then, in 1995, R. Kelly received two Grammy nominations. Kelly has gained fame and infamy both as there have been some personal scandals reported in the Chicago Sun-Times; he has performed at the World Cup and Olympics; has toured African and other countries and been a guest on television shows. His memoirs, Soulacoaster was published in 2012.

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