Last week, “The Bobby Brown Story” premiered and I sat back and watch both parts of the movie. To summarize the movie is to recap the main [points in his life, but I want to focus on his music. One scene in particular with the producer, Teddy Riley, Bobby admitted to wanting a different sound to his music. From his days in the New Edition, he sang love songs only and then, the opportunity for his solo album also turned into a love song album that did not make Bobby Brown happy in this new path of life. He needed a new sound to go along with his new image. The world was not ready to experience what Bobby Brown had in mind for the new age in R&B music.
Bobby Brown’s transition from New Edition
Due to Bobby’s own self-destruction, he was kicked out of New Edition. The group he technically started with his friends at an early age and made themselves a household name. The force action to move back home to his family and deciding what to do next, he got the opportunity to record a solo album with the same record label as New Edition. The drive and passion to escape his environment at home, Bobby took this chance to reinvent himself.
Bobby’s solo career
Luckily, Bobby signed a deal with MCA records that if he left NE that he will be promised a solo album. Without a doubt, Bobby took this deal immediately. The solo, “King of Stage” was made by Larry White and MCA record label. His first single, “Girlfriend” came to be the only song the fans loved. Unfortunately, the album didn’t break the charts and left Bobby questioning what kind of music he wants to put out into the world.
How he changed his sound
(Image is from the Billboard website.)
In the autobiographical film, “The Bobby Brown Story”, a scene shows Bobby talking with another member from NE (New Edition), Ralph Tresvant, about the new sound he wants to create for himself. Bobby instantly named a musician, Teddy Riley, based on his reputation in creating dope beats that will make people move/dance. Ralph warn Bobby that people may not like his new sound and the fans could rebel, especially the record label. Regardless, Bobby knew he had to take that risk because he didn’t want to keep singing the same sappy love songs. In the end, Bobby did, in fact, take the opportunity to change his sound according to what he felt was the right action moving forward.
In Ebony magazine, an article was written about celebrating 25 years since the release of “Don’t be Cruel”, Bobby’s second album. In the mist of Bobby focusing on his next album, a new executive of the record label paid attention to Bobby Brown’s career Michael A. Gonzales states, “A newly hired young executive named Louil Silas Jr. was determined to mold Brown into the soul sensation he believed him to be.” (Ebony Magazine) The hope of someone new looking into Bobby’s music transition, he can have a chance to transform into the international superstar.
His Popular Songs
Bobby Brown’s second studio album, “Don’t be Cruel” included hits like,
A song produced by Gene Griffin with the help of Teddy Riley’s musical instruments/talents.
“Every Little Step”
Producers Babyface and L.A. Reid help create this song and others on Bobby’s second album.
A song produced by L. A. Reid and Babyface.
The success of Each Song
Stereo Williams, a writer from Billboard, wrote an article about how Bobby Brown, Teddy Riley, and New Edition introduce a new era of R&B music. In the article, Williams said,
“The second single was the Gene Griffin-produced “My Prerogative.” The song became Brown’s signature and another inescapable song throughout 1988, which featured Riley’s distinctive synth lines and shot to No. 1 in early 1989. The Babyface-penned “Roni” hit No. 3 two months later; and “Every Little Step” mirrored its success two months after that. By the time final single “Rock Wit’Cha” hit the top ten in fall 1989, Brown’s album had become the best-selling album of the year, on its way to being certified 8x Platinum.” (Billboard Article)
When Bobby decided to take this risk to change his sound was Essentially how he became successful. Also, his stage persona of exotic seduction grew to become apart of his act and capture audiences with his dance moves, style of clothing, and a new haircut. In Essence, the vision Bobby had for himself became fruitful to his career.
Additionally, people may have controversial commentary about Bobby Brown, but he knew what was necessary for his brand as an artist. Many music companies like a certain style of music each artist produce which makes money, but change is a good turn around for an artist. Bobby Brown hand pick which producers and musicians to work with after his first album failure. Even though over time, fans come to love his music his first single as a solo artist, but it’s the second album with the greatest hits that made him who he is today.
Ebony Magazine Article: https://www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/bobby-browns-dont-be-cruel-turns-25-250