Robert Sylvester Kelly was born on the 8 of January 1967, at Chicago Lying-in Hospital in Hyde Park, Chicago. Kelly is the third of four children.
Kelly’s single mother, Joanne, was a singer. She raised her children Baptist. Kelly’s father was absent throughout his son’s life.
Kelly’s family lived in the Ida B. Wells Homes public housing project is in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood.
Kelly’s high school music instructor Lena McLin described Kelly’s childhood home: “It was bare. One table, two chairs.
There was no father there, I knew that, and they had very little.” Kelly began singing in the church choir at age eight.
Kelly grew up in a house full of women, whom he said would act strangely when his mother and grandparents were not home. At a young age Kelly was often sexually abused by a woman who was at least ten years older than himself.
“I was too afraid and too ashamed,” Kelly wrote in his 2012 autobiography Soulacoaster about why he never told anyone.
At age 11, he was shot in the shoulder while riding his bike home; the bullet is reportedly still lodged in his shoulder. Kelly was eight years old when he had his first girlfriend, a girl named Lulu.
They would hold hands and eat make-believe meals inside their playhouse built from cardboard, where they “vowed to be boyfriend and girlfriend forever.”
Kelly wrote in his autobiography that their last play-date turned tragic when, after fighting with some older children over a play area by a creek, Lulu was pushed into the water.
A fast-moving current swept her away while she screamed Kelly’s name. Shortly after, she was found dead downstream. Kelly calls Lulu his very first musical inspiration.
- As a youngster he formed a group, MGM (Musically Gifted Men), with his friends Marc McWilliams, Vincent Walker, and Shawn Brooks. In 1990, MGM recorded and released their first single, ‘Why You Wanna Play Me’ and disbanded shortly after.
- In 1992, Kelly released his debut album ‘Born into the 90’s’, with the group Public Announcement as his back-up. The album produced several hit songs and was eventually certified platinum.
- His self-titled album, ‘R. Kelly’ was out in 1995. Featuring introspective lyrics and foot-tapping music, this album became a huge hit and spawned three No. 1 singles: ‘You Remind Me of Something’, ‘Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)’ and ‘I Can’t Sleep Baby (If I)’.
- In 1998 he released ‘R’, the album that would become the most commercially successful one of his career so far. It also received highly positive critical reviews and earned many awards and nominations.
- His album, ‘Chocolate Factory’ (2003) debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. It became a huge international success and over three million copies of the album were worldwide. It also received rave reviews from publications such as ‘The New York Times’ and ‘USA Today’.
- In 2005, he released the album ‘TP.3 Reloaded’ which became his fourth No. 1 hit on the Billboard 200 album chart. It featured songs like ‘In the Kitchen’, ‘Reggae Bump Bump’, ‘Happy Summertime’, and ‘Slow Wind’.
- His 2007 album ‘Double Up’ featured the single ‘I’m a Flirt Remix’ which peaked at No. 1 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. The album featured guest appearances by Swizz Beatz, Snoop Dogg, Nelly, Chamillionaire, T.I., T-Pain, Usher, Huey, Ludacris, and Kid Rock.
- In 2010 his album ‘Love Letter’ was out. Normally known for his sexually explicit themes, Kelly surprised his audiences with this album in which he incorporated touching lyrics on love and forgiveness. This album too became a big hit like his previous ones.
- He returned to sexually charged themes with his 2013 album, ‘Black Panties’. The album debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart, and received mixed reviews from the critics.
Kelly entered Kenwood Academy in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood in the fall of 1981, where he met his music teacher Lena McLin, who encouraged Kelly to perform the Stevie Wonder classic “Ribbon in the Sky” in a high school talent show.
McLin encouraged a young Kelly to leave the basketball team. She said he was furious at first, but after his performance at the school talent show, he changed his mind.
Personal Life & Legacy
- He married Andrea, his former backup dancer, in 1996. The couple has three children. They divorced in 2009 after almost 13 years of marriage.
- Videos of Kelly engaging in sexual acts with a minor girl surfaced in 2002 and he was indicted in Chicago on 21 counts of child pornography.
- His third studio album, ‘R’ went on to become his biggest selling album to date, selling eight million copies in the US. It peaked at No. 1 on the R&B albums chart and spawned the No. 1 U.S. pop hit, ‘I’m Your Angel’ and the No. 1 R&B hit, ‘I Believe I Can Fly’.
Awards & Achievements
- In 1995, his song, ‘You Are Not Alone’, was named the ‘First Song to Debut the US Single Chart at Number One’ in the Guinness Book of World Records.
- R. Kelly is the winner of three Grammy Awards from 25 nominations: Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Song, Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media, for the song, ‘I Believe I Can Fly’, in 1998.
R Kelly’s Net worth Today
As of 2019, R Kelly’s net worth is $1 million.
How Kelly’s Many Financial and Legal Troubles Cost Him A Lotof Money
Since 1994, Kelly has faced a slew of sexual misconduct allegations, which Vox has done a thorough job collecting. Many of these accusations stem from Kelly’s contact with minors and also the many women who claimed abuse.
While he seems to consistently be in the hot seat, the singer has frequently settled these issues out of court, reportedly paying tens of millions of dollars to make these problems disappear.