R. Kelly

(Robert Kelly)
musician, songwriter
Born: 1969
Birthplace: Chicago

Grammy-winning musician and songwriter known for his songwriting prowess (he has written for Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Boyz II Men, among others), his recent born again belief in God, and some sexually explicit songs (all in the past), R. Kelly grew up in the projects on the south side of Chicago. A high school voice teacher guided him away from gangs and helped him to develop his musical talents. His first performance was at a high school talent show, and he actually began his public career by playing under the tracks of Chicago's subway, collecting money in a hat. His lucky break came in 1990 when he played at a friend's barbeque where a record company representative was one of the guests. His first album, Born into the '90s, was released in 1992; his second, 12 Play (1993), was controversial for its raunchy lyrics. A single he wrote and sang for the movie Space Jam, “I Believe I Can Fly”, won Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song at the 1998 Grammy Awards.