It is hard to believe that super-talented musician Brian McKnight has been nominated for a Grammy 17 times and
has yet to take one home. He is joined by Snoop Dog who has been nominated 16 times and not achieved that award.
By Diane Larche
With 20 albums to his credit and numerous platinum and billboard charting records, the Buffalo NY native (also home of the late Grover Washington Jr. and Rick James) who now calls Atlanta home, doesn’t worry about that. He’s won many other awards like the American Music Award, Billboard Music Award, Soul Train Music Award and NAACP Image Award. That a Grammy has eluded him is not something he thinks about.
“Most people don’t know how you get one (a Grammy). I didn’t get in the business for awards. There is no greater award than fans. I enjoy coming out and giving fans a great time with 90s music, ” he said in an interview a few days before performing here.
Plus there are many Grammy Awards in his musical family. His brother Claude McKnight III, founder of the Acappella Gospel and jazz group Take 6 at Oakwood University in the 1990s, has about six or seven of them with his group.
McKnight, singer, songwriter, producer, musician and actor performed in concert at Cobb County’s Mable House Amphitheater Saturday night, a year after the show was canceled and rescheduled due to COVID. Fellow 90s hitmaker and soul singer Jon B opened accompanied by a drummer to add to his keyboards for a 60 minute set of love songs.
A near sell out crowd sang along to many of the popular recordings from McKnight’s 20 albums and 40 singles over a long and successful career,
most of which he wrote himself in the 1990s. He’s written for others as well including the chart-topper Christmas song “Let It Snow” for Boyz II Men.
In 2022 he will celebrate the 30th anniversary of his first album self-titled Brian McKnight that he recorded at the age of 22.
The night belonged to the 90s. He performed his first hit “One Last Cry” Saturday from his debut album and songs from his album “Back At One”
which sold three million copies.
Kicking off a 60-minute plus set with some Marvin Gaye hits ran through his catalog of 90s hits to a very receptive audience. He did a tribute to singers who have passed on like Bill Withers and Whitney Houston and performed a song he wrote in honor of his good friend the late Kobe Bryant. His 20th album released last year in 2020 would be his last with original music he recently announced. Saturday he performed for the first time live one of the singles from that album.
In addition to his smooth vocals, the multi-talented singer and instrumentalist plays nine instruments including piano, guitar, bass, drums, percussion, trombone, tuba, flugelhorn and, trumpet. “I’ve only been classically trained on the trumpet and self-taught on the others,” he shared.
When asked his thoughts on sampling which is popular with new artists using pieces of work of original artists he shared, “Kids hearing samples and don’t know who wrote the original song and who the artists are, who created it … hearing as brand new and the creator is not getting the credit they deserve for being the original creator … You should get full credit for your work.”
And with all of his major success, there is still one of his heart’s desires that has eluded him, a professional basketball career.
At 6’4 he has the physique of a ballplayer and along with Master P is known in ball circles for being top at celebrity basketball tournaments.
“If I had my way I would be the best basketball player.” He said in his earlier days he “dreamed every night if I was only three inches taller.”