El DeBa rge Eldra Pa

El DeBarge
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Eldra Pa
atrick "El" DeBarge
(born June 4,
4 1961) is aan American R&B/pop
p singersongwritter, best kn
nown as the
e lead singe
er of the R&
&B/Soul fam
mily group D
throughout the earrly to mid-1980s. As a solo
artist, he is best kknown for the hits "Wh
" and "Love
e Always" and
a for his collaboratio
ons with Tone Loc, Qu
uincy Jones,
Fourplayy and DJ Quik.
ge is a three-time Gra mmy nominee.[2][3]
Early life
A native
e of Detroit,, Michigan, El was the sixth of ten
n children b
born to Rob
bert Louis
e, Sr. and Etterlene
ée Abney) DeBarge.
DeBarge waas already ssinging in his
local chu
urch choir and
a playing
g piano as a child. Late
er after his ffamily move
ed to Grand
Rapids, he and the rest of his family bega
an perform ing at theirr uncle's Pe
church. When
El wa
as thirteen, his parentss divorced after a difficult and sto
ormy marria
El is of African
erican, English, French
h-Canadian and Native
e American
n descent.
g up, he was closest to
o eldest bro
other Bobbyy and begaan imitating
g his brothe
vocal styyling.
For seve
eral years, El
E spent tim
me being in private stud
dy with music educato
or Ricky Calllier.
By 1975,, El had beg
gun to exprress a desirre to becom
me a perforrmer. El beccame a fath
for the first time at fifteen. He would eventually fath
her eleven cchildren. In 1977, he
d out of hig
gh school an
nd began performing
with his eld
der brotherrs in clubs a
venues in
i Michigan
n. By 1979, Bernd Lichtters was ab
ble to secure
e a deal witth Source
Recordss/MCA to re
elease the Pall
P Mall Grroove - Hott Ice album as SMASH for the
USA/Canada marke
et and movved El from Michigan tto Los Ange
eles, to havve him, his
brotherss Mark and Randy DeB
Barge, in ad
ddition to th
heir cousin Andre Abn
ney, Elliot
nd and Stan
nley Hood, to back up
p the releas e as the SM
MASH band
d. Eldest sisster
Bunny jo
oined her brothers
in California
as well. In 19980, becausse of the su
uccess of th
brotherss Bobby and Tommy DeBarge
with the hit g
group Switcch, he was a
able to perfform
live at the piano and singing in front of Motown CEO Berry Gordy, who immediately
signed the group, then known as The DeBarges, to the label.
Motown mentored them with members later working and contributing songwriting,
arrangements and production to the recordings of Switch, including the 1980 albums,
This Is My Dream and Reaching for Tomorrow. El DeBarge's first professional recording
was as background vocalist to Switch's 1979 hit, "I Call Your Name.".He later helped to
arrange music for several Switch songs including "Love Over and Over Again" and "My
Friend in the Sky," which he, Bunny and Bobby wrote. This song would later be sampled
by the likes of Queen Pen and Raheem DeVaughn.
Music career
In 1981, The DeBarges was released after the family had worked in the studio for a year
recording it. The album was noted for most of its songs produced and written by all four
family members including Bobby DeBarge, who helped end the album track, "Queen of
My Heart" after El had led the song for most of its tenure. The following album, 1982's
All This Love featured younger brother James and saw much success with the
compositions, "I Like It" and the title track. El would remain the producer and arranger
for all of the group's Motown albums.
In 1983, DeBarge released In a Special Way, which spawned the hits "Time Will Reveal"
and "Love Me in a Special Way" and in 1984, the band became a sensation while
touring for Luther Vandross on the singer's Busy Body tour. Though the group enjoyed
much success and appeared to be a family unit, there was growing tensions between El
and his brothers mainly because of Motown's push to have El become the only noted
star of the group, repeating a pattern that began with Smokey Robinson and The
Miracles. By the end of the tour, El DeBarge was mainly called to handle the production
of DeBarge's next album, Rhythm of the Night, without much help from his siblings.
Rhythm of the Night became the group's best-selling album ever though some
contended that El DeBarge was the only member present on the album with the
exception of the title track, which became a top five hit in several countries including
the US and UK becoming the group's and El's signature song. In late 1985, he appeared
on The Facts of Life in the Season 7 episode, "Doo-Wah" as himself and performed his
single "You Wear it Well" with Lisa Welchel, Kim Fields, Mindy Cohn and Nancy
McKeon singing backup. In 1986, El DeBarge left the group and began his solo career
with the release of his self-titled debut album, which spawned the hits, "Who's Johnny"
and "Love Always". Three years passed, however, until DeBarge released his second
album, Gemini in 1989. The album was a failure and DeBarge's contract with Motown
was terminated in 1990 and he signed with Warner Bros.. In the meantime, DeBarge
was featured on the Quincy Jones single, "The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite)",
alongside Al B. Sure!, James Ingram and Barry White, released in 1990.
In 1992, DeBarge released his third album, the Maurice White-produced In The Storm,
which featured the Chante Moore duet, "You Know What I Like", which was Moore's
first professional recording. Critics noted the album for its Marvin Gaye-styled
productions, with El DeBarge later admitting that Gaye was a huge influence on his
musical style. He once commented that he had initially written "All This Love" as a song
he imagined Gaye doing, even imitating Gaye's ad-libs during his I Want You era near
the end. That same year, he had chart success on the R&B charts with a collaboration
with Fourplay on their version of Gaye's "After the Dance". DeBarge's next album,
1994's Heart, Mind and Soul, was co-produced with Babyface, yielding modest charted
singles such as "Slide" and "Where is My Love" (which featured Babyface on duet
While DeBarge continued to collaborate on other artists' projects including brother
Chico and rapper DJ Quik among others (the duo collaborated on Quik's hit "Hand In
Hand"), he didn't release any more albums between 1994 and 2009. In 2010, he finally
emerged from a sixteen-year delay with the appropriately titled Second Chance,
released after a series of comeback performances and appearances including a well
received performance at the 2010 BET Awards. The album yielded two singles, "Second
Chance" and the Faith Evans duet "Lay With You", and later resulted in three Grammy
Award nominations: Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Song,[2] and Best R&B
Album.[3] He remains the only member of the DeBarges to have Grammy nominations
outside of the group and in the family altogether.