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Regina Belle

Regina Belle

Early life and educationBelle 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 age 8. Belle attended Dwight Morrow High School where she studied trombone, tuba and steel drums. After graduation, she studied opera at the Manhattan School of Music. At Rutgers University, she became the first female vocalist with the school's jazz ensemble. Belle's musical influences include Phyllis Hyman, Billie Holiday, Shirley Caesar, and Nancy Wilson. Belle 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 which helped to attract the attention of Columbia Records. They eventually signed her to a record deal.Personal lifeBelle resides in Atlanta, Georgia and is married to ex-NBA basketball player John Battle. Battle played 10 years in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers. He is now a pastor in Atlanta, Georgia. Belle and Battle have five children: Winter (1979), Tiy (1989), Jayln (1991), Sydney (1994), and Nyla (November 10, 1995). Winter, the eldest daughter, is married and has 2 children, Lea and Joshua, making Belle a grandmother.CareerIn 1987, she released her debut album All By Myself. It includes her first hits "So Many Tears" and "Show Me the Way." 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 the songs "I Can't Imagine", "Without You" and "A Whole New World", which was the featured pop single from the soundtrack to the 1992 Disney movie Aladdin. The song hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and won the Grammy Award in 1993 for "Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal as well as a "Best Song" Oscar in the same year Later in 1993, Belle released her Platinum selling third album, Passion. The album featured the Disney hit "A Whole New World", "Dream In Color" and "If I Could", which reached # 9 on the R&B charts.Belle released Reachin' Back in 1995 followed by Believe in Me in 1998.In 2001, Regina Belle's 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." 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, she released on Pendulum her second gospel album, called "Higher", on which Belle 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.


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Peabo Bryson - Regina Belle - A Whole New World

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