Peabo Bryson (born Robert Peapo Bryson; April 13, 1951, given name changed from "Peapo" to Peabo c. 1965) is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter, born in Greenville, South Carolina. He is well known for singing soft-rock ballads (often as a duo with female singers) and has contributed to 3 Disney animated feature soundtracks. Bryson is winner of two Grammy Awards.
Peabo Bryson at the Soul Food Festival in Louisville, KY 2016
|Birth name||Robert Peapo Bryson|
|Born||April 13, 1951|
|Origin||Greenville, South Carolina, United States|
|Genres||R&B, soul, soft rock|
|Occupation(s)||Singer-songwriter, record producer, keyboardist, dancer, composer|
|Labels||Bullet / Bang (1975–1976)
Capitol (1977–1983, 1989)
Private Music (1996–2000)
Peak / Concord (2007–present)
He had two sisters and a brother and spent much of his childhood on his grandfather's farm in Mauldin, South Carolina. His love for music stemmed from his mother, who often took the family to concerts of well-known African-American artists at the time, such as Sam Cooke, Little Richard, and Billie Holiday.
Bryson marked his professional debut at age 14, singing backup for Al Freeman and the Upsetters, a local Greenville group. It was Freeman's difficulty in pronouncing Bryson's French West-Indian name, "Peapo", that led Bryson to change its spelling to Peabo. Two years later, he left home to tour the chitlin' circuit with another local band, Moses Dillard and the Tex-Town Display. Bryson's first break came during a recording session at Atlanta's Bang Records. Although Bang was not impressed with Dillard's band, the young backup singer caught the ear of the label's general manager, Eddie Biscoe. Biscoe signed Bryson to a contract as a writer, producer, and arranger and encouraged Bryson to perform his own songs. For several years, Bryson worked with hometown bands and wrote and produced for Bang. In 1976, he launched his own recording career with "Underground Music" on the Bang label. His first album, Peabo, followed shortly thereafter. Although only a regional success, Bryson signed to Capitol Records in 1977.
Bryson's greatest solo hits include 1977's "Feel the Fire" and "Reaching for the Sky", 1978's "I'm So Into You" and "Crosswinds", 1982's "Let the Feeling Flow", 1984's "If Ever You're in My Arms Again" (his first Top 10 pop single, at #10 in the US), 1989's "Show and Tell", and the 1991 hit "Can You Stop the Rain". In 1985, he appeared on the soap opera One Life to Live to sing a lyrical version of its theme song. Bryson's vocals were added to the regular theme song in 1987 and his voice was heard daily until 1992. He recorded the successful album of romantic love duets with Roberta Flack (Born to Love) in 1983. In partnership with Regina Belle, Bryson recorded two hit duets: "Without You", the love theme from the comedy film Leonard Part 6, recorded in 1987 and "A Whole New World", the main theme of the Disney's animated feature film Aladdin, recorded in 1992. Bryson and Belle recorded four duets over the years: "Without You" (in 1987), "I Can't Imagine" (in 1991), "A Whole New World" (in 1992) and "Total Praise" (in 2009).
Among his romantic love songs and duets are:
- "Gimme Some Time", with Natalie Cole
- "What You Won't Do for Love", with Natalie Cole
- "Here We Go", with Minnie Riperton
- "Lovers After All", with Melissa Manchester
- "Tonight I Celebrate My Love", with Roberta Flack
- "You're Lookin' Like Love to Me", with Roberta Flack
- "I Just Came Here to Dance", with Roberta Flack
- "There's Nothin' Out There", with Chaka Kahn
- "Without You", with Regina Belle (theme from Leonard Part 6)
- "For You and I" with Angela Bofill
- "Beauty and the Beast", with Celine Dion (theme from Beauty and the Beast)
- "I Can't Imagine", with Regina Belle
- "A Whole New World", with Regina Belle (theme from Aladdin)
- "You Are My Home", with Linda Eder (theme from The Scarlet Pimpernel)
- "By the Time This Night Is Over", with Kenny G
- "Light the World", with Deborah Gibson
- "The Gift", with Roberta Flack
- "Wishes", with Kimberley Locke (for the album Disney Wishes!)
- "The Best Part", with Nadia Gifford
- "As Long As There's Christmas", with Roberta Flack (theme from Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas)
- "I Have Dreamed", with Lea Salonga (theme from The King and I)
- "Make It Til Tomorrow", with Sandi Patty
In Spring 1998, Bryson contributed his voice to Barney's Great Adventure: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, with the song "Dream (Twinken's Tune)".
Bryson performed in theater and operatic productions, most notably the tenor role of "Sportin' Life" in the Michigan Opera Theater of Detroit's version of Porgy and Bess. His tax problems caught up with him on August 21, 2003, when the U.S. Internal Revenue Service seized property from his Atlanta, Georgia, home. He is reported to owe $1.2 million in taxes dating back to 1984. The IRS auctioned many of his possessions, including both Grammy Awards, electronic equipment, his grand piano and multiple pairs of shoes including the 2 Versace pair purchased by Nashville Bassist and Florida native Justin Lowry.
In 2002, Bryson's "Beauty and the Beast" music video was included on the platinum and Blu-ray edition of Beauty and the Beast. His "A Whole New World" music video was included on the platinum edition DVD release of Aladdin. Bryson's CD, Missing You, was released on October 2, 2007 on Peak Records, a division of Concord Music Group.
September 4, 2016 was declared "Peabo Bryson Day" in Charleston, SC and North Charleston, SC during the LowCountryJazzFest. The annual jazzfest is presented by ClosingTheGapInHealthCare.org, founded by Dr. Thaddeus Bell.
Before marrying his present wife, Tanya Boniface, Bryson was engaged several times to Juanita Leonard, the former wife of boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard. In the 1990s, he became engaged to Angela Thigpen, former Miss Virginia Teen USA and later a model/actress. Bryson has a daughter, Linda.
- Peabo (1976)
- Reaching for the Sky (1977)
- Crosswinds (1978)
- We're the Best of Friends (with Natalie Cole) (1979)
- Paradise (1980)
- Turn the Hands of Time (1981)
- I Am Love (1981)
- Don't Play with Fire (1981)
- Born to Love (with Roberta Flack) (1983)
- Straight from the Heart (1984)
- Take No Prisoners (1985)
- Quiet Storm (1986)
- Positive (1988)
- All My Love (1989)
- Can You Stop the Rain (1991)
- Through the Fire (1994)
- Peace on Earth (1997)
- Unconditional Love (1999)
- Christmas with You (2005)
- Missing You (2007)
- "Peabo Bryson Biography". Musicianguide.com. Retrieved 2012-05-05.
- "Ask Us". Soap Opera Digest. 34 (22): 105–106. June 2, 2009.
- Plunkett, John (2004-01-12). "Peabo Bryson's Grammys, other possessions, auctioned to pay $1.2 million tax debt". Jet Magazine. Retrieved 2007-03-07.[permanent dead link]
- Peabo Bryson Biography @enotes.com Accessed 7-24-2010.
- Harper, Jane. "Whatever Happened To..." The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA) Sept. 28, 1998. Link to article Retrieved 7-24-2010.