Brian McKnight Biography
McKnight was born in Buffalo, New York. His musical career began in childhood when he became a member of his church, NY choir and a band leader for his high school, Sweet Home High School. In 1987, McKnight's older brother, Claude McKnight III, and his band, Take 6, signed a record deal with Warner Brothers. This encouraged McKnight to shop his own demo tapes and by the age of 19, he'd signed his first recording deal with Mercury Records subsidiary, Wing Records. (He ended up recording his albums for Mercury.) In 1992, Brian McKnight was released and was followed by two more albums for Mercury, 1995's I Remember You and 1997's Anytime. Anytime sold over two million copies and was nominated for a Grammy. It was also his last album with Mercury Records; by 1998, McKnight had moved on to Motown Records.
In 1997, McKnight recorded "Remember the Magic" for Disney World's 25th anniversary.
In 1999, McKnight released Back at One (his second release from Motown; after the Christmas album Bethlehem), which sold over three million copies. Throughout his career he has collaborated with a variety of musicians including Sin Bandera, Mase, Sean "Puffy" Combs, Mary J. Blige, Justin Timberlake, Nelly, Vanessa Williams, Ivete Sangalo, Kirk Franklin, For Real, Canibus, Quincy Jones, Boyz II Men, Christina Aguilera, Regine Velasquez, Shoshana Bean, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, Rascal Flatts, Talib Kweli, MJG (of the Southern Rap duo Eightball & MJG), Josh Groban (on his 2007 #1 Christmas album Noel Schajris), Justin Bieber, Ashley "Awesome" Speelman and CeCe Peniston.
McKnight in 2004, co-wrote with Australian Soul artist Guy Sebastian the song Wait which is a track off the Beautiful Life.
McKnight's vocal style draws from Stevie Wonder (particularly in his use of melisma), Michael Sembello, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, and his own brother, Take 6 co-founder Claude V. McKnight. Soul singer James Ingram also strongly influenced McKnight. His music production sensibilities especially his penchant for piano based pop ballads, method of background vocal recording and melismatic voice inflections all draw heavily from Ingram. Brian McKnight also has the uncanny ability to mimic the timbre and style of other singers such as Nat King Cole, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Prince.
McKnight is divorced and has four sons and 2 daughters (Brian Jr. 21,Cole Nikolas 19,Clyde Lee 18,Evan 10, Brianna 9 and Braylinn 3). On February 11, 2010, Brian proposed to his girlfriend Annalisa Mungcal during one of his performances. No wedding date has been set at this time.
McKnight currently lives in Los Angeles, California. From 2006 to 2010 he hosted a radio show, The Brian McKnight Morning Show with Pat Prescott on KTWV The Wave in Los Angeles, CA. The show was at one time simulcasted on KHJZ-FM, Smooth Jazz 95.7 The Wave in Houston, TX from 6am-9am CST, but this station has changed its format. On January 26, 2009, Brian McKnight hosted "The Brian McKnight show" from 7PM-Midnight on 98.7 KISS FM in New York City.
In October 2007, McKnight made his Broadway debut in the show Chicago.
In 2009, he appeared in the second season of Celebrity Apprentice. Each celebrity played to raise money for the charity of his or her choice; McKnight elected to play for Youthville USA.
From September 2009 to May 2010, The Brian McKnight Show, a late night talk show premiered in syndication. The show is a combination of talk and variety. The show was cancelled on May 29, 2010 due to low ratings and will not return for a second season. Although he promised to pay employees and staff in full, no one who worked on the show has received any payment. As of April 2011, employees and staff are still waiting for payment.
On March 31, 2011 McKnight sang the National Anthem for MLB Opening Day in Cincinnati, Ohio with his sons Brian, Jr. and Niko.