New York, NY -- 10-time Grammy award-winning megastar Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, an icon figure of live performance, songwriting, and production whose work on his own music and others’ has resulted in more than 100 million career sales, has completed his 11th album, PLAYLIST, which will arrive in stores September 18th as the first album on the newly re-launched Mercury Records label, it was announced today by Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Chairman Island Def Jam Music Group and David Massey, President, Mercury Records.
PLAYLIST will be Babyface’s first album devoted (mostly) to cover versions of some of his favorite songs, among them James Taylor’s “Fire & Rain,” Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer,” Jim Croce's "Time In A Bottle," Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight," and many others. The album will also include original material.
Over the course of the ’90s, Babyface not only distinguished himself as the decade’s single greatest hitmaker, but as one of the greatest hitmakers in the history of popular music. His imprint (to date) extends to over 125 top 10 pop and R&B hits which include 47 #1 R&B hits, 51 top 10 pop hits, and 16 #1 pop hits. For one span of time on Billboard’s pop and R&B charts, Babyface was listed as the writer, producer and/or performer on twelve separate songs in the Top 20.
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His countless Grammy awards (which include Producer Of the Year in 1995, ’96 and ’97 – the only person in history to win three consecutive years), NAACP Image Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and American Music Awards are just one indication of Babyface’s penetration into pop culture. In addition to co-founding LaFace Records with Antonio “L.A.” Reid in 1989 (home of Toni Braxton, OutKast, TLC, Pink and Usher), Babyface’s name is linked to the world’s biggest-selling and most universally popular recording artists – including Mary J. Blige, Boyz II Men, Brandy, Toni Braxton, Tevin Campbell, Mariah Carey, Eric Clapton, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Dru Hill, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Lionel Richie, TLC, and Vanessa Williams – to name a few.
Babyface is also responsible for such phenomena as the 7 million-selling Waiting To Exhale movie soundtrack album, and the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games anthem “Power Of the Dream” (which he co-wrote, and which was sung by Celine Dion). As a movie producer, Babyface’s company debuted in 1997 with Soul Food (which grossed over $43 million, and spun off a double-platinum soundtrack album), followed by Hav Plenty in 1998, Light It Up in 1999 and Josie & The Pussycats (2001).
Babyface’s albums and singles include: Lovers By Babyface (1987); Tender Lover (1989, double-platinum), a #1 R&B album in Billboard for 11 weeks, including the #1 R&B singles “It’s No Crime” and “Tender Love,” “Whip Appeal” (#2), and “My Kinda Girl” (#3); For the Cool In You (1993, triple-platinum), on the R&B album chart for 87 weeks, with the top 10 R&B singles “For the Cool In You,” “Never Keeping Secrets,” “And Our Feelings,” and “When Can I See You”; The Day (1996, double-platinum), with the top 5 R&B/pop crossover hits “This Is For the Lover In You” (platinum) and “Every Time I Close My Eyes” (gold); MTV Unplugged NYC 1997 (gold); Christmas With Babyface (1998); Face2Face (2001); and Grown & Sexy (2005).
Recipient of the NAACP Lifetime achievement Award, the Essence Award For Excellence, GQ magazine’s Man Of the Year honor, and named One Of the Most Influential People In America by TIME magazine, Babyface’s caring and generosity are well-known. He is national spokesman for the Boarder Baby Project in Washington, DC, which provides transitional housing for babies abandoned at birth, awaiting adoption.
In July 1999, Babyface became the largest single personal donor to VH1’s “Save the Music” campaign when he donated $60,000 to the campaign in his home state of Indiana, to help improve the quality of music education in public schools by restoring and supporting music programs and raising public awareness. That same month in Indianapolis, the Governor of Indiana renamed a 23-mile stretch of Interstate 65 “Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds Highway,” the first time that a living African-American has been bestowed an honor of such magnitude.