Classics: Karyn White – The Way You Love Me (Warner Bros.)
“The Way You Love Me”… Do you remember? I pretty much do. As if it was still yesterday as a matter of fact…
The end of the eighties pretty much marked an evolution in the approach of R&B. This with the arrival of the New Jack Swing along with producer Teddy Riley. And, a bit before, L.A. & Babyface who came up with what’s remembered as Street Beat when not Swingbeat…
Based in Atlanta, GA, Antonio ‘L.A.’ Reid and Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds pretty much established an instantly identifiable signature for themselves. Thus on the heels of production pairs such as Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards (Chic). But also Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Alexander O’Neal) to name a few. With the whole givin’ birth to gems such as ‘Rock Steady’ (The Whispers), ‘Rose Are Red’ (Mac Band) and ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ (Bobby Brown). Not to mention the underrated ‘Nothin’ That Compares 2 U’ for The Jacksons. With Karyn White‘s ‘The Way You Love Me’ adding itself to the list.
Comin’ up with intoxicating keys over a swingin’ beat… ‘The Way You Love Me’ brought Karyn White to the upper heights. Thus scoring the first of her four #1 hits in the US R&B charts…
A native of Los Angeles, CA, Karyn White started her solo career back in 1988. On the heels of her collaboration with Jeff Lorber which saw them sharing the bill together with Michael Jeffries on the 1986 ‘Private Passion’ album. This in addition to countless featurings along with luminaries such as Howard Johnson, Dazz Band, Ray Parker, Jr. and Howard Hewett to name a few.
Taken from her 1988 eponymous debut-album, ‘The Way You Love Me’ stands among her most memorable cuts. Therefore showcasing her outstanding voice. And, in the meantime, the talents of her production team – L.A. & Babyface – who opened up the path to the New Jack Swing. We would talk about Swingbeat back then though. This with gems such as The Whispers‘s ‘Rock Steady’. But also Bobby Brown‘s ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ or Mac Band‘s ‘Roses Are Red’ among others…
‘The Way You Love Me’ opened the path to extra hits from the same package. Beginning with ‘Love Saw It’, a duet with Babyface, then ‘Superwoman’ and ‘Secret Rendezvous’. Meanwhile her 1991 follow-up album – ‘Ritual Of Love’ – saw her teamin’ up with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and eventually chart again. This with ‘Romantic’, an extra US R&B #1 hit, and ‘The Way I Feel About You’, although to a lesser extend.
‘Make Him Do Right, Karyn White‘s third album, didn’t sell as much. And this despite the presence of the firing ‘Hungah’ which came up with additional remixes courtesy of The Basement Boys and Frankie Knuckles. As the one of the smooth Babyface penned ‘Can I Stay With You’ which became her final US R&B Top 10 hit by the beginning of 1995. Meanwhile, I’d Rather Be Alone’ would be her last chart single to date. Peakin’ at #50 on the same chart later on that year.
White left Warner in 1999 and remained away from the circuit for many years to start a family. She eventually returned thirteen years later with the ‘Carpe Diem’ album. Then she came up with her first feature film role in ‘Gale And The Storm’ directed by Derrick Muhammad. But a new single – ‘Blind Man Walking’ – as a part of its OST. The latter featuring the unsung ‘Inside You’ by the likes of Joe Leavy which we welcomed among our 10 essential 2017 tracks.
The soundtrack for the film was released on Sept. 04, 2017. Meanwhile the film made its premiere on Oct. 12 that same year. And, in July 2018, Karyn White released her last single to date by the likes of ‘Lame Excuses’.
– I remember the first time I heard of Babyface. This was back in 1983 actually. At a time, a friend of mine who was livin’ in Jacksonville, FL, used to listen to a radio named 95X. Eventually sendin’ me recorded tapes of their shows. With this being how I would get to listen to boiling cuts such as Margie Joseph‘s ‘Big Strong Man’ produced by Narada Michael Walden. But also Melba Moore‘s ‘Love Me Right’ with production work courtesy of Paul Lawrence Jones. Not to mention the then unknown The Deele (featuring Babyface) with the vibrant although quite underrated ‘Just My Luck’.
I guess the next time I saw a mention of Babyface was back in 1987. This along with partner Antonio L.A. Reid as the producers of The Whispers‘ ‘Rock Steady’. Meanwhile, I would get to stumble upon the firing ‘Mary Mack’ during that same year…
A native of Indianapolis, IN, Kenneth Brian Edmonds attended the North Central High School. Eventually writing songs as obviously too shy to express his emotions differently. Not only a vocalist but also able to play guitar and keyboards, he came to play along with Bootsy Collins. With the latter givin’ him his ‘Babyface’ nickname because of his cute face while he was still a teen.
Babyface eventually hooked up with Daryl Simmons when performing under the Manchild banner. This before joining The Deele where he happened to meet Antonio L.A. Reid who whom he would form a production unit a few years later. Then a record label by the likes of LaFace Records. Meanwhile, one of his first major credits as a songwriter remains the memorable ‘Slow Jam’ for Midnight Star back in 1983.
All in all, Babyface started his solo career back in 1986. He has released a total of 10 studio albums to date. With his latest – ‘Return Of The Tender Lover’ – seeing the light on Def Jam Recordings back in 2015. This in addition to an ‘MTV Unplugged’ and two Christmas packages.
He has written and produced over 25 #1 R&B hits throughout his career and has won 11 Grammy Awards. With his name strongly associated to the establishment of the Swingbeat (also known as Street Beat). The latter opening the path for the New Jack Swing era. Thus responsible for an impressive series of masterpieces. From The Whispers (‘Rock Steady’) and Bobby Brown (‘Don’t Be Cruel’, ‘Every Little Step’). To Karyn White (‘The Way You Love Me’) and the Mac Band (‘Roses Are Red’). But also Boyz II Men (‘End Of The Road’, ‘I’ll Make Love To You’, A Song For Mama’). Not to mention Sheena Easton (‘The Lover In Me’) and The Jacksons‘ ‘Nothin That Compares 2 U’. Or ‘Mary Mack’ and ‘For The Cool In You’ which he crafted for himself among many others.
No surprisingly, Face has come to collaborate with a countless lumiaries. From Whitney Houston to Toni Braxton, Aretha Franklin and Janet Jackson. But also her brother, Michael, Ashanti, Mariah Carey, Faith Evans and Mary J Blige among many others.
Then, if it wasn’t already enough, Babyface performed on the Season 4 episode of ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ entitled ‘Mr. Walsh Goes to Washington (Part 2)’. And soon after he set up Edmonds Entertainment Group. Thus producing films such as ‘Soul Food’ and ‘Josie & The Pussycats’. Or putting together the soundtrack for ‘The Prince Of Egypt’. In addition to act as the executive producer the BET reality series ‘College Hill’ between 2004 and 2009.