D'Angelo (born Michael Eugene Archer, February 11, 1974) is an American R&B and neo soul singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. He is known for his production and songwriting talents as much as for his vocal abilities and was one of the most influential artists during the rise of the neo-soul movement.
D'Angelo signed a publishing deal with EMI Music in 1991 after catching the attention of record executives with a demo tape. He penned the hit song “U Will Know” on the “Jason's Lyric” soundtrack. It was performed by Black Men United for the 1994 “Jason's Lyric” motion picture soundtrack. Shortly after, he was signed and he began recording his debut album for EMI records.
His first solo album, “Brown Sugar,” was released in June 1995. Though sales were sluggish at first, the album was eventually a hit, due in large part to “Lady,” a Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. The album earned platinum certification from the RIAA and helped give commercial visibility to the burgeoning neo soul movement of the 1990s, along with debut albums by Maxwell, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill.
Following his debut album's success, D'Angelo went into a four and a half year absence from the music scene and releasing solo work. His recordings for soundtracks during this period included “Belly” for “Devil's Pie,” frequently singing covers like Eddie Kendricks’ “Girl You Need a Change of Mind” for “Get on the Bus,” Prince’s “She's Always in My Hair” for “Scream 2,” and The Ohio Players’ “Heaven Must Be Like This” for “Down in the Delta,” as well as appearing on Lauryn Hill's landmark 1998 album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” on the duet “Nothing Even Matters.”
The much-delayed “Brown Sugar,” follow-up, “Voodoo,” was released in 2000. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and went on to win two Grammy Awards, for Best R&B Album, and for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. The lead single, “Left & Right” featuring Method Man and Redman, did well, but it was the second single, “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” (a tribute to artist Prince), that became a huge R&B hit buoyed by an innovative yet infamous video featuring a nude D'Angelo from his face to his hips while singing the song.
After a long period of inactivity, D'Angelo made guest appearances on several albums, including releases by J Dilla, Common, Red Hot & Riot and The RH Factor. “Red Hot & Riot” was released in 2002 by the Red Hot Organization as a compilation album in tribute to the music and work of Nigerian musician, Fela Kuti. D'Angelo performed on a remake of the Fela Kuti classic, “Water No Get Enemy,” with fellow hip-hop and R&B artists, Macy Gray, The Soultronics, Nile Rodgers, Roy Hargrove and Fela Kuti's son, Femi Kuti.
D'Angelo was featured on the song “Imagine,” by Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, from Snoop’s 2006 album “Tha Blue Carpet Treatment.” D'Angelo also had a guest appearance on Common's 2007 album, “Finding Forever” on the track, “So Far to Go.” In November 2008, D'Angelo's collaboration with Q-Tip was officially confirmed with the release of the Q-Tip album “The Renaissance” which featured D'Angelo on the track “Believe.”