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Regina Belle
Regina Belle.jpg
Belle in concert on the Holland America Line Ship, 2008.
Born
Regina Elaine Belle

(1963-07-17) July 17, 1963 (age 59)
Education Rutgers University
Occupation
  • Singer-songwriter
Years active 1982–present
Spouse(s)
(m. 1985; div. 1990)

John Battle
(m. 1991)
Children 5
Relatives Bernard Belle (brother)
Musical career
Genres
Instruments Vocals
Labels
  • Columbia
  • MCA
  • Peak
  • Concord
  • Pendulum
  • W.D.E.
Associated acts

Regina Elaine Belle (born July 17, 1963) is an American singer-songwriter who started her career in the mid-1980s. Known for her singles "Baby Come to Me" (1989) and "Make It Like It Was" (1990), Belle's most notable for two hit duets, both with Peabo Bryson: "Without You", the love theme from the comedy film Leonard Part 6, recorded in 1987 and "A Whole New World", the main theme of the Disney's animated feature film Aladdin, recorded in 1992, with which Belle and Bryson won the Grammy award. The theme song "Far Longer than Forever" from the animated movie The Swan Princess, performed with Jeffrey Osborne, was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1995 for Best Original Song.

Biography

Early life and education

Belle was born in Englewood, New Jersey. It was at Englewood's Mount Calvary Baptist Church, and then Paterson's Friendship Baptist Church (presided over by Belle's uncle, the Reverend Fred Belle), that Belle began attracting attention with her vocal abilities. She sang her first solo in church at the age of eight. She attended Dwight Morrow High School, where she studied trombone, tuba and steel drums. After graduation, Belle studied opera at the Manhattan School of Music. She attended Rutgers University and became the first female vocalist with the school's jazz ensemble. Belle's musical influences include Phyllis Hyman, Billie Holiday, Shirley Caesar, Patti LaBelle, and Nancy Wilson. She was introduced to the Manhattans by New York radio DJ Vaughn Harper and began working as their opening act. She recorded the duet "Where Did We Go Wrong" with the group on their Back to Basics album, which helped to attract the attention of Columbia Records. She recorded a second duet, "Maybe Tomorrow", which appeared on the B-side of "Where Did We Go Wrong". They eventually signed her to a record deal.

Career

Regina Bell 1991
Regina Belle in 1991

In 1987, she released her debut album All by Myself. It includes her first hits "So Many Tears" and "Show Me the Way". In the same year, Belle recorded her first successful duet with Peabo Bryson: the song "Without You", the love theme from the comedy film Leonard Part 6, also released in 1987. The song was her first single to appear on the Adult Contemporary (chart), peaking at #8 and was also her first single to appear in four charts, including the UK Singles, peaking at #85, her best position in this chart until 1989. Her follow-up album, Stay with Me, released in 1989. Belle recorded a duet in 1991 with Johnny Mathis, "Better Together" which appeared on his album Better Together: The Duet Album. Continuing her tradition of duets, Belle teamed up with Peabo Bryson for four songs: "Without You" (in 1987), "I Can't Imagine" (in 1991), "A Whole New World" (in 1992) and "Total Praise" (in 2009).

Later in 1993, she released her Platinum selling third album, Passion. The album featured the Disney hit, "A Whole New World". The theme song "Far Longer than Forever" from the animated movie The Swan Princess, performed with Jeffrey Osborne was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1995 for Best Original Song. She released Reachin' Back in 1995 followed by Believe in Me in 1998.

Regina Belle performs at the White House
Belle performing for President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush during a Black Music Month celebration in the East Room of the White House on June 30, 2001.

In 2001, her cover of "Just the Two of Us" from the tribute album To Grover, With Love made a surprising return to the Billboard charts. Within months Belle would sign with the jazz-oriented independent label Peak-Concord Jazz. She released the album This Is Regina!, which featured the R&B hit single "Ooh Boy", and also released were, "Don't Wanna Go Home" and "From Now On" with Glenn Jones. In 2004, she released a jazz standard album, Lazy Afternoon, produced by George Duke. The album included covers of the Isley Brothers' "For the Love of You" and Tony Bennett's "If I Ruled the World". In 2007, she collaborated with smooth jazz saxophonist Paul Taylor, co-writing and singing on his album "Ladies Choice". Belle released her debut gospel album Love Forever Shines on May 13, 2008, via Pendulum Records. The 14-track collection features guests Melvin Williams (of the Williams Brothers) and Shirley Murdock. On June 5, 2012, Belle released on Pendulum her second gospel album, called Higher, on which she stated: "I think that, with the second CD [Higher] I had a better understanding of where I wanted to go [compared to Love Forever Shines]". Belle has appeared in concert with many other performers, including Ray Charles, Boney James, Paul Taylor, The Rippingtons, Gerald Albright, Will Downing, Maze, Frankie Beverly, Phil Perry, Al Jarreau, and Stephanie Mills.

Personal life

Belle has been married twice. Her first marriage was to saxophonist and flute player Horace Alexander Young from 1985 until 1990, and together they adopted daughter named Tiy (born 1989). Belle married former NBA basketball player John Battle on June 25, 1991. The couple has four children together, two of which are adopted: daughter Winter, and son Jayln. After suffering miscarriages of two sets of twin boys, the couple had daughter Sydni (born 1994) and Nyla (born November 10, 1995). Belle has two grandchildren from Winter, Thea and Joshua. Belle successfully battled a brain tumor in 2009. However, she is now deaf in her left ear. Belle and her husband reside in Atlanta, Georgia. John is a pastor of a church in Atlanta.

Discography

Studio albums

Year Album Chart positions Certifications
Record label
US
US R&B
US Jazz
US Gospel
UK
1987 All by Myself 85 14 53 Columbia
1989 Stay with Me 63 1 62
  • US: Gold
1993 Passion 63 13
  • US: Gold
1995 Reachin' Back 115 18
1998 Believe in Me 42 MCA
2001 This Is Regina! 61 Peak
2004 Lazy Afternoon 58 12
2008 Love Forever Shines 119 15 3 Pendulum
2012 Higher 44 15
2016 The Day Life Began 11 Shanachie
"—" denotes the album failed to chart.

Compilations

  • 1997: Baby Come to Me: The Best of Regina Belle
  • 2001: Super Hits
  • 2006: Love Songs

Singles

Year Single Chart positions
US
US R&B
US A/C
US Dance
US Gospel
UK
1986 "Where Did We Go Wrong?" (with The Manhattans) 42
1987 "Show Me the Way" 68 2 97
"So Many Tears" 11
"Without You" (with Peabo Bryson) 89 14 8 85
1988 "How Could You Do it to Me" 21
"After the Love Has Lost its Shine"
"You Got the Love"
1989 "All I Want is Forever" (with James "J.T." Taylor) 2 34
"Baby Come to Me" 60 1
"Good Lovin'" 73
"Make It Like It Was" 43 1 5
1990 "What Goes Around" 3
"This is Love" 7 29
1992 "Better Together" (with Johnny Mathis) 68
"A Whole New World (Aladdin's Theme)" (with Peabo Bryson) 1 21 1 12
1993 "If I Could" 52 9 12
"Quiet Time" 47
"Dream in Color" 63
"The Deeper I Love"
1994 "Far Longer than Forever" duet with Jeffrey Osborne
1995 "Love T.K.O." 29
1998 "Don't Let Go"
"I've Had Enough"
2001 "Oooh Boy" 63
2004 "For the Love of You"
2008 "God is Good" 83 2
"I Call on Jesus" 17
2012 "Make an Example Out of Me" 19
"—" denotes the single failed to chart.

Awards and nominations

Year Nominated work Award Result
1991 "Make It Like It Was" Best Female R&B Vocal Performance Nominated
1994 "A Whole New World" (with Peabo Bryson) Record of the Year Nominated
Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Won
1999 Believe in Me Best Traditional R&B Vocal Album Nominated
2002 This is Regina Best Traditional R&B Vocal Album Nominated
  • MTV Movie Awards
    • 1993, Best Song From a Movie: "A Whole New World" (with Peabo Bryson) (Nominated)
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