Ten Black TV Stars Who Released Albums You Probably Never HeardPublished by Justin Joseph on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at 12:22 pm.
What to Brandy, Jamie Foxx, and Janet Jackson have in common? You guessed it. They were all were television stars who went on to have very successful music careers. But while those three became platinum certified, there were others that performed moderately, and a few that shouldn’t have left their day jobs—but that didn’t mean they weren’t talented, of course. Centric names the 10 Black TV Stars Who Released Albums You Probably Never Heard.
1. Jasmine Guy
In 1990, the A Different World star (pictured above) released her self-titled debut album. Featuring production from Full Force and The Untouchables, the album was a moderate success peaking at #38 on the Billboard R&B chart, and #136 on The Hot 100. However, the album did manage to spawn three hits including “Try Me” (R&B #14), “Another Like My Lover”( R&B #6) and “Just Want to Hold You” featuring James Ingram (R&B #27).
2. Countess Vaughn
After landing big breaks on Star Search, and a recurring role on 227, it was clear that Vaughn could sing. In 1992, she released Countess, her debut album. The album’s only single, a cover of James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World”, charted in the Top 100 of the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The album, released via Virgin Records, was a commercial failure, selling only 3,000 copies.
3. Tisha Campbell
Already a veteran of the stage and a star on the FOX hit comedy sitcom Martin, Tisha Campbell released her debut album, Tisha, in 1992. The song’s singles (“Push” and “Love Me Down”) received very moderate radio airplay and failed to chart on Billboard. The album itself was also a commercial letdown, reaching #136 on the Billboard 200, and selling only 40,000 copies.
4. Jason Weaver
A successful child actor, Weaver decided to take his singing talent mainstream with his 1995 debut album, Love Ambition. Released through Motown Records, the album spawned two singles, “Love Ambition (Call on Me)”, and “I Can’t Stand the Pain,” but neither yielded much success.
5. Orlando Brown
In 2006, the child star released his debut album, Trade It All. The album featured the That So Raven star singing and rapping. Needless to say, it didn’t resonate with music listeners.
6. Philip Michael Thomas
When Thomas released his debut album Living the Book of My Life in 1985, he was at the height of his fame thanks to his starring role on the crime series Miami Vice. But his popularity on the small screen didn’t translate into album sales—it sold poorly and failed to produce a hit single. He tried his hand at music again with 1988’s Somebody, but like its predecessor it too was a flop.
7. Terrence Howard
In 2008, Howard released his debut album Shine Through It. By the time of the release, Howard who got his big break in the made for TV movie, The Jacksons: An American Dream, was one of Hollywood’s premiere Black actors. However the collection of urban-alternative-country songs didn’t resonate with his core audience stateside, and it was released only in the UK. Needless to say, a follow-up album has not been discussed.
8. Cree Summer
Best known as Freddie Brooks on the hit NBC sitcom, A Different World, Summer branched out into music, as the lead singer of Subject To Change. The grunge-rock group recorded their debut album, Womb Amnesia, in 1991. But upon its release, the album failed to be promoted and only a few thousand copies were released commercially. Eight years later, Summer released her solo debut album, Street Faërie, which didn’t impact the charts.
9. Esther Rolle
Capitalizing off the success of her hit sitcom Good Times, Rolle released her debut album, The Garden of My Mind in 1975. The project was filled with spiritual ballads that—according to the album’s liner notes—promoted “love and understanding.” But it failed to promote album’s sales. It is now a rare find, and considered a collector’s item.
10. Wayne Brady
Television audiences were used to seeing Brady sing in the comedic sense, but his 2008 debut album A Long Time Coming was 100% contemporary R&B. While the 12-track album reached only #157 on the Billboard 200, it was a moderate success on the R&B album chart, peaking at #20. The project’s first single, “Ordinary,” was a top 10 hit on the Smooth Jazz Songs chart, reaching number nine.