Five-time Grammy Award-nominee and double-platinum-selling artist Tevin Campbell strolled into the R&B game in the late 1980s. The singer gained recognition after belting out “Tomorrow” on Quincy Jones’s Back on the Block, and things were looking up when the then-13-year-old released his debut album T.E.V.I.N. back in 1989. His 1993 sophomore follow-up, I’m Ready, gave us his classic love songs “I’m Ready” and “Can We Talk,” but after that record, Tevin’s later projects struggled with maintaining the same levels of success.
Frazer Harrison / Staff / Getty Images
Tevin grew up in the spotlight and admits that he’s grateful he’s been able to continue working as a singer decades later because he isn’t equipped to do anything else. He recently participated in the Black Music Honors’ celebration paying tribute to music icon Freddie Jackson, and in an interview, he shared some details about his rise to fame.
“I love to sing. It’s all I did. So, I wasn’t surprised when it happened,” he said of becoming a professional singer at a young age. “I’m actually really thankful and blessed that I’m still able to do it today, perform in venues like this. That’s all I know how to do. I can’t flip a burger. I can’t do anything. All I know how to do is sing.”
“When I was in the business when I was younger, it was more work for me than—I didn’t actually start to live my life until I left the business,” he revealed. “You don’t want to do that. So, you do make a lot of sacrifices in the business, but you have to stay humble and you have to live that normal life. That’s what I do now. It keeps me grounded. I don’t believe in being treated special [or] feeling entitled just because you have a talent. And I had to get over that,” he said with a laugh. “I wasn’t always like that. I was a brat. But really, love yourself. You have to just be one with yourself.”
Watch his Black Music Honors clip below before taking a walk down memory lane with a couple of his classics.