Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds is a 12-time Grammy Award winner and Indianapolis music producer with 200 R&B top 10s and over 50 pop top 10s. As a producer and songwriter he has worked with Ariana Grande, Aretha Franklin, Beyonce, Janet Jackson, Lil Wayne, Whitney Houston and many more.
On August 8, he will return to Indianapolis to perform on the free stage at the Indiana State Fair. Here’s everything you need to know about the legendary Hoosier.
Following: Indiana State Fair 2021: Beach Boys, Babyface and Josh Turner are part of the free stage music
The nickname “Babyface” is a nod to the fact that Edmonds looks young for his age. Edmonds has stated in several interviews that Edmonds received the nickname from funk musician, William Earl “Bootsy” Collins, while playing in his band in the 1980s.
Although he initially resisted the nickname, he adopted it while touring in 1985 after his bandmate Darnell “Dee” Bristol called him by his nickname on stage after performing ” Sweet November “.
“Suddenly, at the end of the show, some girls came up asking where Babyface was,” Edmonds told the Cincinnati Enquirer in 2014. “They never asked where Kenny Edmonds was.”
Edmonds has released three consecutive multi-platinum albums: “Tender Lover” (1989), “For the Cool in You” (1993) and “The Day” (1996). His hits include: “When Can I See You”, “Every Time I Close My Eyes” and “For the Cool in You”. Throughout his career, he has won multiple Grammys for his music production, original R&B music and more.
In 1989, he co-founded LaFace Records with Antonio “LA” Reid. The label has worked with artists and groups like Usher, OutKast and TLC. He has written and produced songs for many artists, including Madonna’s “Take a Bow”, Ariana Grande’s “Baby I” and Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love to You”.
Most recently, her 2014 album with Toni Braxton, “Love, Marriage & Divorce,” won a Grammy for Best R&B Album. In 2017, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame
Edmonds comes from a musical family. His brothers Melvin and Kevon Edmonds founded After 7, an R&B group, with Keith Mitchell, in the late 1980s. The group was nominated for a Grammy and an American Music Award. Babyface collaborated with the group.
In 2019, Kevon Edmonds passed away from a short illness. After 7, now featuring Keith Mitchell, Kevon Edmonds and Danny ‘SkyHigh’ McClain, performed their first live show since the pandemic began at the Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration in July.
What did he do during the pandemic?
On his 62nd birthday in April 2020, Edmonds announced on social media that he and his family members had tested positive for COVID-19.
After recovering, he appeared on Swizz Beatz & Timbaland’s Verzuz Beat Producer Battle series, an Instagram series that invites two musicians to compete, highlighting the music in their discographies. Edmonds faced off against Teddy Riley, another singer, songwriter and music producer.
Edmonds called the match a “Celebration of Excellence in Black Music”.
On Mother’s Day 2020, he performed an “A Song for Mama” with Boyz II Men on Saturday Night Live. Each of the band members performed from their home studios.
Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds Highway
Since 1999, residents of Indianapolis have been able to drive along a 17-mile stretch of I-65 named after Edmonds. According to IndianStar reporting at the time, Edmonds donated $ 110,000 to programs that promote the artistic interests of Indiana children during the dedication ceremony.
Beneficiaries included Save the Music, an initiative that helps restore and support music programs in public schools, and the Youth Video Institute, a television production program for local teens.
Edmonds said he was honored at the time, but was not sure his name matched traffic helicopter lingo. “To be honest, ’15 minutes saved on Kenneth Babyface Edmonds’ just doesn’t sound that much to me,” he joked.
Besides the highway, Edmonds also received an honorary doctorate from the IU. Recently, artist Israel Solomon chose Edmonds as one of six subjects for a fresco honoring the heroes and heroines of Black Hoosier in Carmel.