How much is Brian McKnight worth?
|Net Worth:||$12 Million|
|Date of Birth:||June 5, 1969|
|Country:||United States of America|
“A lot of guys write to my website and say, ‘You know, I wanted to tell my girlfriend or wife how I felt about her and I couldn’t find the words so I wrote down the lyrics to your song and I gave it to her. And she cried.’ Or, ‘It’s our song now and we played it at our wedding.'” — Brian McKnight.
Who Is Brian McKnight
Brian was a musical child in a musical family. Growing up, he was a member of his church choir the fifth generation of Seventh Day Adventists and the youngest of four brothers and in high school, he was a bandleader.
Others in his family have musical talent as well: when Brian was still small, he and his brothers formed a musical quartet, with their role models being Gospel groups like the Swan Silvertones and the Mighty Clouds of Joy.
Born June 5, 1969 in Buffalo, NY. His family moved to Orlando, Florida when Brian was 8.
First Record Deal
When they were older, Brian’s brother, Claude McKnight III, went on to become a member of the a capella Gospel group Take 6. In 1987, Take 6 got a record deal. Two years later, while a sophomore at a Christian college in Alabama, Brian was kicked out for having a girl in his room. However, he was so inspired by his older brother’s group signing a record deal that he sent out some demo tapes and wound up being signed in 1989 by Mercury Records at the age of 19.
Brian wound up recording three albums while signed to Mercury. His eponymous debut came in 1992, then his second LP, I Remember You followed in 1995.
But it was Brian’s third and final album for Mercury, 1997’s Anytime, that saw McKnight blossom into an R&B; superstar. Anytime went double platinum in the U.S. (selling over two million copies) and was nominated for a Grammy.
Mercury to Motown to Warner
McKnight eventually left Mercury and signed with Motown. His first project for the label was the 1998 Christmas album Bethlehem. In 1999, he released Back at One, which went on to sell over three million copies. He released five more albums while on Motown (six if you include a 2002 greatest hits package). In 2003-04, McKnight got divorced, switched managers and spent time playing semi-pro basketball with a team he owns in California. McKnight’s last Motown album was Gemini in February, 2005. After seven years with Motown, McKnight signed with Warner Bros. and released his tenth album, Ten, on Nov. 14, 2006.
When a longtime relationship loses its magic, the parties in that relationship typically do one of two things; they a) try to find a way to rekindle that magic, or b) they decide to go their separate ways. Well, in the case of Brian McKnight and Motown Records, they chose the latter. And that decision has proven to be a good one for McKnight who sounds completely rejuvenated on his tenth album, appropriately titled Ten. Not only is Ten an all-around better album than his last Motown release, 2005’s Gemini, it arguably ranks among his best three or four albums ever.
A Creative Rebirth
After the relative lack of success of his lackluster 2005 album Gemini, it looked like Brian McKnight’s career might be on the decline. However, it turns out that all he needed to get his mojo back was a new record label to call home. And Ten, McKnight’s first album for Warner Bros. (and tenth overall) is a return to form for one of contemporary R&B;’s best male artists.
Ten is a huge shot in the arm to McKnight’s career creatively. He clearly sounds like a man reborn, particularly on the album’s first song and lead single, “Used To Be My Girl.” The song is mostly notable for two things: one, instead of the songs being aimed at a female, for the first time he’s written a song where he’s addressing a man; and b) McKnight, who usually plays the sensitive role in his songs, gets a chance to show his cocky side, particularly when he taunts his ex-girlfriend’s new man:
Walkin’ ’round, sportin’ her, holdin’ her hand, Doin’ it big like you’re the man, But she was my girl, She used to be my girl, I must admit that she’s a 10, Bet she didn’t tell you about way back when, When she was my girl, She used to be my girl.
Oh yes – it’s like that. And the situation even escalates and becomes more confrontational later in the song, as McKnight reveals his inner player:
She’s still thinkin’ ’bout me, And I’ll tell you why, She couldn’t even hold her head up when you walked by, Don’t go hatin’ on me, It’s just a game … To me it’s all the same.
The song is virtually perfect in all aspects: the lyrics, vocals, production (by the duo Tim & Bob) and originality are all on point here.
Rekindling “Blissful Chemistry”
But “Used To Be My Girl” is far from the only rock-solid track on the album. The album’s second-best tune is the third track, “Find Myself In You,” which was originally found on the soundtrack to the movie Madea’s Family Reunion earlier this year. On the song, a lusty McKnight coos about how much he’s yearning to get with his woman after a long day:
Girl, you’re the reason I can make it through the long, long day and that’s a fact, Baby I can’t wait to get next to you; Oh I can’t wait to wrap my arms around your body, Baby I can’t help but to tell the truth, Oh, it’s so hard to wait ’til no one else is around.
The song, which is McKnight at his best, is reminiscent of classic Marvin Gaye love songs. McKnight continues his more aggressive lyrical approach on other tracks, including the sexy “What’s My Name,” where he lets a lover know who the bedroom boss is; and “Unhappy Without You,” where he warns a lover than unless than can rekindle their “blissful chemistry,” then he’ll have to cut her loose. Because after all, if he’s unhappy with her, he might as well be unhappy without her.
Other than the aforementioned songs, the one that stands out the most is “Red, White & Blue,” a patriotic song told from the perspective of a soldier at war writing a letter home to his wife and kids back in the United States. The song, which features Rascal Flatts (yes, the Country music band) sends a nice message to American troops abroad, letting them know that they haven’t been forgotten.
‘Evolution of a Man’
If there’s one word that sums up Brian McKnight’s recording career, it’s ‘consistent.’ If you’ve heard any of his albums or hit singles, then you know what to expect from him: beautifully sung ballads and mid-tempo tracks that men can relate to and women swoon over. And his latest release, Evolution of a Man, released in the U.S. on Oct. 27, 2009, is no exception. The album may represent an evolution, but that evolution – like Brian’s music – is slow and steady. There’s no radical changes in his style here, just a few tweaks here and there in order to stay modern and relevant in today’s music world.
The one song that that most obviously departs from Brian’s signature style is the album’s very first song, “The Brian McKnight Show,” which ties in to his morning radio show and syndicated late night TV talk show. The song’s unusually uptempo and sunny for a Brian McKnight ditty, and is notable for being the only one of the 14 tracks on the album where he latches onto the Auto-Tune trend that has nearly run it’s course. The song is perfect theme music for a TV show or commercial, but not as a featured track on an album, and fortunately it doesn’t represent the album as a whole, it just sets the stage for what’s to come.
The next track, “JustAlittleBit,” (most of the album’s songs have non-traditional spellings) is prototypical McKnight – soothing, sexy, seductive and relaxing. The song after that, “Ibetchaneva,” is another prototypical seductive McKnight song, one in which he sings about not taking any shortcuts when it comes to making a woman feel good: “There is a right way and a wrong way when you love, it’s my duty to live up to the fantasies you been dreamin’ of,” he croons. It’s songs like these that make women want Brian McKnight and men want to be him. Most of the album is so incredibly smooth that it’s easy to see why Brian has managed to remain relevant while many – no, make that most – of his contemporaries from the early-to-mid 1990s have long since faded away and been forgotten.
The album’s first single, “whatI’vebeenwaiting4,” is a great song about true love and devotion, but runs opposite to the album’s “evolution” theme, since it sounds like the type of melodramatic tune that Babyface or Toni Braxton, or even Brian himself might have recorded in the mid-1990s: “I don’t wanna live without you, can’t eat without you ever since I let you in the door, Girl I don’t wanna sleep without cha, can’t breathe without cha, I think I’ve found what I’ve been waitin’ for,” he sings. One other track, “neversaygoodbye,” is also a tad melodramatic, that can be forgiven since it’s a wedding song. And a powerful wedding song, at that: “When you walk down the aisle to me, everyone will know that you’re more than just a part of me and we will be together forever, we will never say goodbye,” he sings.
Evolution‘s best song, however, is arguably “next2U,” a tale of desire and lust that, like all Brian McKnight tunes, manages to be seductive without having to get raw or explicit. This female-friendly tastefulness is another reason why Brian has been able to cultivate and keep such a large fanbase: he’s a gentleman who’s music you wouldn’t be afraid to listen to in certain company. Unlike R. Kelly, who’s a great artist, but always manages to take a few songs down into the gutter on each album he puts out, B-Mac always exudes class, taste and sophisticated style, three things the music industry could use more of.
‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’
Plenty of popular R&B; artists have released holiday albums over the years; a partial list of them reads like a who’s who of the music business: Aretha Franklin, The Isley Brothers, Patti LaBelle, Boyz II Men, Destiny’s Child and many, many more. It almost seems like recording a Christmas album is a mandatory career step. Brian McKnight’s latest holiday release, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, which was released in the U.S. on Oct. 7, 2008, isn’t his first Christmas album, but it’s undoubtedly one of the best that’s come out in a long while. It’s romantic, charming, fun, occasionally whimsical and most of all, spiritual.
The album’s highlight is arguably Brian’s version of the traditional holiday classic “The Christmas Song.” Not only does he update the song’s vocals and music for a modern audience, but toward the end of it, he manages to flip the song entirely on its head via some typical sexy B. McKnight banter. Another winner is the title track, which stays fairly true to the original version, only with a little more soulful vocals.
But although a few songs deserve to be singled out for their high entertainment factor, this is the rare album that actually has zero bad songs on it. From top to bottom, song one to song 12, this is a solid album that the whole family can enjoy. One of the more impressive things about the album is that Brian collaborates with a few unexpected partners on songs, and each of them works. For instance, Country artist Vince Gill sounds right at home on “Christmas You and Me,” a new song written by McKnight for this album. And Spanish-language singer Noel Schajris seamlessly duets with McKnight on a new version of “Silent Night.” Other guests, including pop vocal singer Josh Groban and Gospel group Take 6 also turn in solid performances.
The true star though, is McKnight himself, who has the perfect vocal style for this type of project: soft, tender and loving, but with the ability to come across strong, as he does on another original track, “Who Would Have Thought,” a song about falling in love on Christmas Day, which was co-written by McKnight. This album soars on many levels and has a deep, soulful spirituality that’s perfect for the holiday season.
On his latest studio album, Just Me, Brian McKnight tries his best not to fall victim to a problem that affects many veteran artists over time; finding new ways to keep his sound fresh while at the same time singing about the same ol’ things that have been sung about over and over. To his credit, B. Mac branches out of his musical comfort zone on a few tracks and experiments with sounds we’re not used to regularly hearing on his albums, like heavy guitars and synthesizers. And his vocal skills are still intact. But despite this Just Me, which was released as a CD/DVD on July 12, 2011 in the U.S., is pretty bland.
Going Through Motions
The problem with the all-new CD portion of Brian McKnight’s Just Me CD/DVD is a distinctive lack of urgency or immediacy to most songs, despite his having a voice that’s still pure enough to keep him in the top tier of male R&B; singers, above about 95 percent of the other vocalists out there. Another problem is creativity, at least for the most part. There’s only a handful of songs that are quality listening, primarily the lead track, “Temptation,” which sounds so much like classic Marvin Gaye that it couldn’t possibly be a coincidence. Unfortunately, B. Mac too often sounds like he’s lost his edge. His vocals are slightly lazy, like those of a man who has nothing to prove; too often it sounds like he’s just going through the motions.
The other problem is that Just Me doesn’t have any songs that push the album over the top quality-wise. Although “Temptation” sets things off well, none of the tracks after it can compare. There are a few other good songs, like an unusual smooth Jazz remake of George Michael’s 1984 hit “Careless Whisper” and the melancholy title track, which bears similarities to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” But the majority of the 10 songs here are disposable, even the first single, “Fall 5.0.” If this same album were sung by a lesser vocalist, it would probably rate just three stars, but to his credit, McKnight’s nuanced vocals are enough to power Just Me to a slightly better rating. Make no mistake, though: this is an album only for his legion of devotees; there’s not enough great material here to please the casual listener.