R. Kelly Biography

R. Kelly is an American singer-songwriter, often referred to as the King of R&B. This biography of R. Kelly provides detailed information about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline

R. Kelly
Quick Facts

Birthday: January 8, 1967

Nationality: American

Famous: Rappers Rhythm & Blues Singers

Age: 52 Years, 52 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Capricorn

Also Known As: Robert Sylvester Kelly

Born in: Chicago

Famous as: Singer-songwriter

Height: 6'1" (185 cm), 6'1" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Aaliyah, Andrea Lee

mother: Joanne Kelly

siblings: Carey Kelly

children: Jaya Kelly, Joann Kelly, Robert Kelly Jr.

City: Chicago, Illinois

U.S. State: Illinois

More Facts

education: Kenwood Academy

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Robert Sylvester Kelly, better known as R. Kelly to his fans, is an American singer recognized as one of the best-selling music artists in the United States with 40 million albums sold till date. A multi-faceted personality, he is a singer-songwriter, rapper and is also into record production. He has written, produced and remixed many songs, several of which became chartbusters, earning him the title of the King of R&B. Blessed with a distinctive voice, he has his own innovative style of singing and rapping which easily distinguishes him from the other contemporary musicians. He is one of the best selling musical artists of all time and has been credited with redefining the musical genres of R&B and hip hop. He was inclined towards music from a young age and was encouraged by his high school music teacher to pursue his musical talents. He started performing in the streets as a teenager and formed his own musical group with some friends. He got a breakthrough when his group won a television talent show and won enough money to launch a musical career. He soon broke off from the group and embarked on a highly successful solo career. In spite of all his successes he remains a controversial figure because of his alleged involvement in sex crimes

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R. Kelly
Childhood & Early Life
  • R. Kelly was born on January 8, 1967 Chicago, Illinois, U.S. He has three siblings and was raised by a single mother, Joanne. The family lived in poverty and struggled to make ends meet.
  • He had a very difficult childhood. He was often sexually abused by a woman and was shot in the shoulder while riding his bike home, when he was 11.
  • He started singing in the church choir when he was eight.
  • He studied at the Kenwood Academy in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. He was an athletic young boy and played basketball for his high school team. However, his music teacher Lena McLin who had recognized his musical talent advised him to leave the sport and focus on music.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
Major Works
  • 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’.
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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.
  • He won the American Music Awards twice: Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist in 2000 and 2005.
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.


Grammy Awards
1998 Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television Space Jam (1996)
1998 Best Male R&B Vocal Performance Winner

See the events in life of R. Kelly in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- R. Kelly Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com
Last Updated
- July 30, 2017

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