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As an accomplished singer, songwriter and musician of 30 years, O’Bryan continues to focus on what he does best: delivering a soulful music experience.
Originally from Sneads Ferry, N.C., O’Bryan relocated to Santa Ana, Calif., where he was discovered by Melanee Kersey, who referred him to her husband producer Ron Kersey and “Soul Train” creator Don Cornelius.
O’Bryan released four albums with Capitol Records, featuring the hit songs “The Gigolo,” “You And I,” “I’m Freaky,” “Soul Train's A Comin,’” “Lovelite” and “Lady I Love You.”
In addition, O’Bryan released his latest album “F1RST” on his independent label. Highlighted by the songs “Just Like Doin’ It,” “Can I Kiss Your Lips” and “Man Overboard,” fans responded with enthusiastic reviews.
And now he is bringing his unique brand of music to audiences around the country.
To read O’Bryan’s biography, go to PROFILE.
The latest updates on O'Bryan
O'Bryan shined on Valentine's Day during the Lover's Holiday Tour at the Frauthenal Center for the Performing Arts in Muskegon, Mich. Check out the photos here.
O’Bryan rocked the house at Rooftop 3100 in Los Angeles to celebrate 30 years of music. Then he made a surprise appearance at the R&B Festival Live 2 in Pomona, Calif. Check out the photos here.
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Born in Sneads Ferry, N.C., O’Bryan McCoy Burnette II was playing the piano at 6 years old and then began singing in the church and at local talent shows. In 1974, he and his family moved to Santa Ana, Calif. O’Bryan was singing in the Second Baptist Church young adult choir when his friend Melanee Kersey approached him about considering a career in music.
Melanee Kersey introduced the young singer to her husband, producer Ron “Have Mercy” Kersey. A former keyboardist for The Trammps and a veteran of the ’70s Philadelphia music scene, Kersey invited O’Bryan to join a group he was putting together.
That group quickly folded, so Kersey later introduced O’Bryan to “Soul Train” television show creator and host Don Cornelius, with whom Kersey formed Friendship Producers Company. Cornelius took the young artist to Capitol Records, where O’Bryan released four albums that charted on the Billboard R&B charts.
The first album, “Doin’ Alright,” was released in April 1982 and peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart. The lead single, “The Gigolo,” was a slice of funk with new wave and rock elements that emphasized O’Bryan’s falsetto. Released in January, “The Gigolo” peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart.
The follow-up single was an updated cover of The Four Tops’ “Still Water (Love),” peaking at No. 23. Among the other standouts on O’Bryan’s debut include the mid-tempo title track; the elegant ballad “Love Has Found Its Way;” and the sentimental “Can’t Live Without Your Love.”
"YOU AND I"
O’Bryan released his sophomore effort “You And I” in March 1983. The album was named after his cover of the Stevie Wonder ballad. Given a more contemporary twist, the title track was the second single (peaking at No. 19 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart) and since has become one of O’Bryan’s signature songs. The lead single, “I’m Freaky,” was an upbeat, synth-funk song that peaked at No. 15.
Album tracks also receiving notice and airplay were the romantic “Together Always;” the fluid instrumental “Soft Touch;” and the energetic “Soul Train’s A Comin,’” which became the theme song for Don Cornelius’ show from 1983 to 1987. The album peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart.
"BE MY LOVER"
In May 1984, O’Bryan released “Be My Lover,” which became his highest charting collection (peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart). The first single — the insistent, chugging “Lovelite” — marched to the top of the Billboard R&B Singles chart. The success of “Lovelite” prompted Capitol to release the uptempo “Breakin’ Together” as the follow-up single.
But it was O’Bryan’s penchant for ballads — the quiet storm staple “Lady I Love You;” the lovelorn “You’re Always On My Mind;” and “Go On And Cry,” which was the third single — that shone as the album’s highlights. Also included on this compilation is the title track, one of O’Bryan’s better uptempo songs.
Because of a lengthy negotiation with Capitol, a fourth album — “Surrender” — was not released until December 1986. The single choices were the up-tempo “Tenderoni” and “Driving Force,” but arguably the strongest cuts on the album were three ballads — “You Have Got To Come To Me,” “Maria” and “Is This For Real” — that displayed O’Bryan’s musical and vocal development.
After a lengthy hiatus, O'Bryan formed his own independent label and released the ballad-driven album "F1RST" on Valentine’s Day 2007.
The set derived its name from what O'Bryan calls the first step of a new musical journey, highlighted by the songs "Just Like Doin' It," "Can I Kiss Your Lips" and "Man Overboard." Longtime fans of the singer welcomed his return and responded to "F1RST" with enthusiastic reviews on music buyer-driven sites such as Amazon and iTunes.
Stay tuned as O'Bryan is set to embark on a nationwide tour, bringing his unique and soulful tone to a stage near you!
Listen to some of O'Bryan's most memorable songs
You And I
Be My Lover
Want to hear more? Go to O'Bryan's personal page on SoundCloud
O'Bryan's career in pictures - then and now
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Music journalist Justin Kantor interviewed O'Bryan for Soul Tracks' "Now and Then with Justin Kantor." O'Bryan discussed the latest on his career and his plans to perform live on tour.
Read the complete interview HERE.
O'Bryan took to the stage and brought down the house at the Spring Jam at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. Check out the photos here.
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