Peabo Bryson is one of the premier male vocalists in contemporary music. Thanks to his rich, almost operatic voice, the two-time Grammy Award winner has enjoyed an ongoing career over the past quarter century despite changing musical trends. With 20 albums to his credit, he is the first artist in music history to have separate recordings topping four different charts.

Mr. Bryson, who is also a songwriter and producer, was born in 1951, in Greenville, South Carolina. He spent much of his childhood on his grandparents’ farm in nearby Mauldin. Bryson’s family, especially his mother and grandmother, instilled in him a strong work ethic and love of music. He caught his first break in a recording session for Atlanta’s Bullet, a subsidiary of Bang Records, where he soon signed a contract as a writer, producer, songwriter, performer, and arranger. In 1976 he released his self-titled debut, which featured nearly all original songs (some co-written with Thom Bell) and a young Luther Vandross among the background vocalists. From that point on, Mr. Bryson produced a string of major R&B and crossover hits, including “Feel the Fire,” “I’m So Into You,” “Tonight I Celebrate My Love,” “If Ever You’re in My Arms Again,” and “Can You Stop the Rain.”

A skilled actor, Mr. Bryson starred in the touring production of the Tony Award–winning Raisin and played the role of The Wizard on tour with The Wiz. In 1998 he appeared in the Michigan Opera Theater’s 100th anniversary production of Porgy and Bess.


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