Peabo BrysonPeabo 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, United States. He is well known for singing soul ballads (often as a duo with female singers) and has contributed to two Disney animated feature soundtracks. Bryson is a winner of two Grammy Awards.
Early Years and CareerHe 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.
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:
Bryson won two Grammy Awards: in 1992 for his performance of the song "Beauty and the Beast" with Celine Dion and in 1993 for "A Whole New World" with Regina Belle.
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.
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.
In 2018, Bryson released his new album Stand For Love, which was produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The project was released on Jam & Lewis' newly reactivated label, Perspective Records.
Personal lifeBefore marrying his present wife, former singer and member of English R&B group The 411 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 and Boniface have a son, Robert, born January 1, 2018.
Bryson also has a daughter, Linda (born c. 1968), from a previous relationship, along with three grandchildren.
On April 29 2019, it was reported that Bryson had suffered a heart attack, and had been taken to Atlanta hospital where he was said to be in a stable condition. However he has since made a full recovery and is currently touring.