It’s easy to miss the unassuming presence of a new love song especially amidst the post-crunk newly synthesized era that’s been sonically florescent for the past five years. Love is a sound typically taken for granted yet melodies such as Usher’s “Burn”, “Confessions” and “You Got It Bad” or Mary J Blige’s record breaking smash “Be Without You” somehow managed to remain securely unbothered in the number one spot. Unmistakably rooted in R&B, and soul music often with Jazz extensions, eight-time Grammy winning Producer and Songwriter Bryan-Michael Cox is appropriately named one of Billboard’s “Top 10 Producers of the Decade” and sits on Billboard’s “Hot R&B Song of the Decade List”, “Hot 100 Songs of the Decade List”, “Top 200 Albums of the Decade List” and is a 2009 Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductee.
Cox is a consistent team player who began his career as an intern at Noontime Records in Atlanta, Georgia. He then went on to co-produce as Jermaine Dupri’s wingman and finally garnered numbers on his own that quickly established Bryan as a league MVP. Yet, when there is discussion of great music producers, in spite of having landed 25 number one hits, 12 Grammy Award Nominations including eight wins, 20 top ten hits and eclipsing the record previously held by the Beatles for Billboard’s most consecutive number one hits.
Bryan’s genetic fervor for music dates back to his mother’s love for all styles of music. And her own passion as an instrumentalist. Bryan’s mother played the flute. Unbeknownst to Pamela Cox, with the birth of Bryan, her dreams would only be temporarily deferred. “My mom would buy music instead of food when I was little. We would spend her entire paycheck at the record store.” Bryan-Michael (his given first name) would express his musical ambitions to his mother by the time he was 7 years old thereby allowing enough time to prepare him for his eventual enrollment in Houston’s High School for the Performing Arts.
While at the High School for the Performing Arts, Bryan would literally have a date with Destiny, when he met a Freshman during his Senior year named Beyonce’ Knowles. “The first demo tape that I ever did was with Beyonce,” reminisces Bryan. Although the two wouldn’t reconnect until nearly 7 years later when Bryan produced a track on Destiny’s Child’s Survivor Album it was the early confirmation from Matthew Knowles that prompted Bryan to blaze his tuneful path.
“Back then there was three choices if you wanted to be in the music industry, live in New York, LA, or Atlanta. I enrolled in Clark Atlanta University because although my Mom supported my dreams one hundred percent I had to go to college, so I chose Clark because I was just trying to get to Atlanta.” Aptly branded “Black Hollywood” in the late nineties Atlanta was home to LaFace records whose roster read like a music industry walk of fame.
Twelve years later, with dozens of music productions to his credit including explosive hits like Mariah Carey’s ‘Shake It Off” and “Don’t Forget About Us” along with youthful ballads like Chris Brown’s “Say Goodbye” and simultaneous releases by Usher, Mary J Blige, Keyshia Cole, Trey Songz, Day 26, Justin Bieber and Monica, his image has remained that of a southern gentleman with urban sophistication, a subdued soulfulness and unparalleled talent. Many are often surprised that the 33 year-old has received such accolades and honors so early in life. Launching his professional career in 1998, Cox has watched the recording industry change over the years. As a relentless businessman, leading producer, artist, and renowned songwriter Bryan-Michael Cox continues to exceed his personal best.
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