Babyface welcomes No-Maddz
Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
World renowned singer, producer, songwriter Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds will headline a concert set for the National Indoor Sports Centre on November 13. The event, which will also feature performances from Diana King, No-Maddz and Silver Birds, is being held as part of the United Way Week, as the organisation hopes to raise awareness and money.
Babyface in Concert is also an opportunity for a four-member group of dub poets called No-Maddz to put their unique talents on show.
Sheldon Shepherd, Everaldo Creary, Oneil Peart and Christopher Gordon share several things in common. In addition to being poets, each has been a winner of the Prime Minister Youth Award for Art and Culture, and each was a student of Kingston College.
More recently, two of the four, Shepherd and Creary were part of a full-length feature film, Better Mus' Come.
Thankful for the opportunity to share the stage with the hugely successful Babyface, Shepherd said the group has big plans of its own and has just released an album featuring some of their previous performances. "In four months, we have just successfully staged, recorded, mastered and launch our 'live' album," he said. "The album is called The Trod and is available now."
It was a hugely successful summer tour that afforded them the chance to be on the concert; that, and the efforts of their sponsors. "After we did our event 'The Trod Live, Summer Tour Finale' at the SportsMax Zone on August 28, our sponsor Supreme Ventures thought it would be a great experience for us to be featured on this concert, so here we are," Shepherd said.
He is keeping what they plan to perform close to his chest.
"Ask us that after the show," said Shepherd.
In the 1980s and '90s Babyface was a constant chart topper while a member of The Deele and as a solo act.
But it is his work behind the scenes that has earned him many accolades. In the late 1980s, he contributed to the creation of new jack swing, writing and producing music for the likes of Bobby Brown, Karyn White, Pebbles, Paula Abdul and '80s icon Sheena Easton.
In 1989, Edmonds co-founded LaFace Records with Reid. Two of the label's early artistes -TLC and Toni Braxton - were successful. TLC became one of the best-selling female groups in music history.
Babyface helped form the popular late-90s R&B group Az Yet and worked with many successful performers in contemporary music. I'm Your Baby Tonight, produced for Whitney Houston, was his first number-one Top-40 hit in the United States. He also wrote and produced Boyz II Men's End of the Road and I'll Make Love To You, both of which established records for the longest stay at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He co-wrote, co-produced, and provided backing vocals on Madonna's 1995 seven-week number-one hit Take a Bow, and shared billing with Eric Clapton on the chart-topping Grammy winner Change the World from the Phenomenon soundtrack.
He also wrote and produced the number-one hit Exhale (Shoop Shoop) for Whitney Houston as well as the rest of the critically acclaimed 10-million selling Waiting to Exhale soundtrack in 1995, which spawned additional hits for Whitney Houston, Brandy and Mary J. Blige.
He received three consecutive Grammy Awards for Producer of the Year in 1995-1997.