Chico DeBarge
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Chico DeBarge

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Chico Debarge looking to make a strong comeback
by Kathy Chaney


Since stepping on the music scene more than two decades ago, Jonathan “Chico” Debarge has shown his fans that no matter what setbacks he’s faced, he’s here to stay. His upcoming album Addiction is a testament.

The Detroit native is a younger brother of the R&B music family Debarge and carved his own following after the 1986 debut release of his self-titled CD and a second album two years later that included hits such as Talk to Me, The Girl Next Door, and Rainy Night.

But shortly after heating up the charts, Debarge was imprisoned for drug charges. After his release in the late 1990s, he was back in the studio. Three albums followed and then he was faced with another hindrance.

In 2003, he was stabbed outside a nightclub in Philadelphia. As a result, he developed a dependency on prescription painkillers.

During his recovery he penned many songs about his experiences that loyal fans will hear on his new CD and on his current tour.

“I can’t say any one thing inspired me to do this album. It is a collection of songs I’ve written while I was absent from the music industry. It tells about part of my experience – a very dramatic and drastic one,” Debarge told the Defender, referring to Addiction.

Debarge said the album possesses the same “spirit and personality” as his previous releases, but just chronicles another chapter in his life. It brings to the forefront the message of a full recovery and how he picked himself up.

______


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Photo courtesy of Kedar Entertainment

Copyright 2009 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


- The Chicago Defender


Addiction was his affliction
PROFILE | Soul singer Chico DeBarge uses album, activism to retrace rocky road
Comments

June 5, 2009

BY DAVE HOEKSTRA dhoekstra@suntimes.com
Chico DeBarge is no stranger to any stage. He's the youngest brother of Motown's popular DeBarge family and is preparing to release his sixth solo CD. But on a recent morning he stood at the center of the basketball court at the Emerson School for Visual Performing Arts in Gary. Student David Johnson, 12, asked DeBarge why he went to jail.

Freeze frame.

» Click to enlarge image

Chicago-based singer Chico DeBarge shares his life experiences with student David Johnson, 12, last week at Emerson School in Gary.
(Rich Hein/Sun-Times)


This was only the second time DeBarge, 42, had spoken to kids. He was in prison between 1988 and 1994 on drug trafficking charges. He's now a board member for the new Chicago-based non-profit organization People Reclaiming Ourselves, or PRO, which provides former convicts with resources to re-enter society. DeBarge has lived in Chicago for the last year and a half.

"I went to prison because I had a friend that I introduced to another friend and they made a drug transaction," DeBarge told Johnson. "I was an [interstate] conspirator of a drug transaction. I knew what they were doing. I didn't want to say 'no' because I wouldn't look cool. One of them was a cousin of mine."

In an interview after his appearance, Jonathan Arthur "Chico" DeBarge said it took a long time to acquire the confidence to confront his past.

"I wasn't honest with myself about a lot of mistakes I made," he said. "I wanted to blame society. I wanted to blame my upbringing. You want to blame your girl for leaving you. A man becomes a man when they accept their responsibilities. And then you can be an example for someone.

"I wouldn't say a leader -- but an example."

PRO president Jamie Sevier said DeBarge is an entertainer "who has actually been through the process. People are more likely to want to hear his story and his involvement with the organization. I also co-manage a jazz band, Zzaje, which is how we met. He picked up our PRO brochure and wanted to be 100 percent involved."

DeBarge addresses some of his missteps in "Addiction" (Kedar Entertainment), a gripping neo-soul album due out July 14. The record was made at VMR Studios in west suburban Brookfield, at Tyrus Lamb Recordings in south suburban Robbins and in New Jersey. A tour brings DeBarge to Chicago's House of Blues on June 25.

"Addiction is the affliction," DeBarge explained. "There's also songs that reflect not just my issue with addiction but my issue with people who have addiction. I had a relationship with someone who had a substance abuse problem with alcohol. It was reckless. It is not telling a sad story. It is hopeful as well."

DeBarge did time in Leavenworth, Kan., and at a low-security federal prison in Milan, Mich. (former residence of the wife of George "Machine Gun" Kelly).

"Once I had my freedom taken from me, I treasured it," he said. "I treasured the music business and who I was. I wanted to be that again. I didn't need to come out and be successful in terms of obtaining fame. I just wanted to come out and be significant to someone. I wrote and honed my craft."

While he was down, DeBarge saw movements like New Jack swing and neo-soul come and go. "Real soul music comes from the soul," he said. "It is not a sound. A rock 'n' roll artist can sing soul music because he is coming from a deep, soulful moment."

The roots of the DeBarge singing group date back to their 1982 breakthrough album "All This Love," which delivered the hit title track single. Their biggest hit was the 1985 disco single "Rhythm of the Night." The original group consisted of brothers El, Mark, James, Randy and sister Bunny. They auditioned for Jermaine Jackson, who recommended them to Berry Gordy. Chico was signed to Motown as a solo artist in 1987. He never appeared with the family but wrote songs for the group.

James briefly eloped with Janet Jackson, and Chico dated Nona Gaye, the only daughter of Motown singer Marvin Gaye).

In 2003, Chico was stabbed outside a South Philadelphia nightclub by mob associate John "Johnny Gongs" Casasanto. He was given OxyContin for the pain.

"I got addicted and it progressed to the street," he said. "Every street of every city I was in. It progressed to heroin. It's like you get caught in a hurricane and you can't change the wind. I isolated myself. I didn't want to be a letdown to everyone, especially my mother."

Etterlene "Mama D." DeBarge, 74, is a devout Christian matriarch who lives in Grand Rapids, Mich. She ministers through her MySpace page.

On the jazzy song "I'm OK" from the new record, DeBarge walks the bridge between the despair and redemption of addiction. He pleads, "I need you to love me/not to judge me."

DeBarge wrote the song for his mother.

"I was pretty much th - The Chicago Suntimes



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'Oh No'! Chico DeBarge Is Back With A Hit
Friday, June 19, 2009

I have long forgiven Chico DeBarge for bringing to the general public these examples of hair "juicyness" and midriff-baring outfits. It was the 1980s after all, and besides, he returned from jail in the '90s with a smash of a record that was Long Time No See. The number of jams on that album were nearly endless. After taking a five-year hiatus from recording--an ocean of time in the music industry--Chico is back with a new album, Addiction, coming next month. In short, the album's first single "Oh No" is the business. It's one of those songs that you'll listen to over and over again because...it's grown. And it's real R&B, not a computerized attack on your eardrums by a self-obsessed moron. "Oh No" can be purchased from iTunes, and the full album will be released July 14th. Can't wait.


Chico DeBarge: "Oh No"


Chico DeBarge Addiction [Amazon]
- SoulBounce.com


The summer are months packed with some of the most anticipated multi-genre releases in years. Kicking things off with July, Maxwell, Daughtry, Fabolous, Joe, Jordin Sparks and Chico DeBarge are set to release projects that have been on the burner for some time.

First up in the busy month of July, which also includes the Essence Music Festival, is former "Fortunate" and "Lifetime" singer Maxwell.

Maxwell's long anticipated album, his first in nearly seven years, is due for release Tuesday, July 7 featuring the singles "Pretty Wings" and "Bad Habits". Titled "BLACKsummers' night," Maxwell's album is the first of a trilogy set to be released over the next 3-4 years.

Once Maxwell's album hits shelves July 7, the month of July heats up quickly with at least seven notable releases on Tuesday, July 14. Included in those releases (see below) is rapper J. Kwon's "Hood Hop 2.5;" SWV singer Coko's latest solo effort "The Winner In Me;" R&B singer Joe's "Signature" and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks' sophomore disc "Battlefield". On top of those releases are two other heavily anticipated efforts, the first is Daughtry.

Grammy-nominated Daughtry, including American Idol runner-up Chris Daughtry, will release the follow up to the self-titled 2006 debut that earned them both American and World Music Award nods. Titled "Leave This Town," the five member group's effort is led by the single "No Surprise" and features twelve tracks (see tracklisting below).

R&B/soul singer Chico DeBarge is also set to release an album July 14. DeBarge, returning under a new deal with Kedar Entertainment, will release "Addiction". His first album in over five years and first project since an admitted addiction to painkillers and street drugs after a series of troubles in the early 2000s, Debarge says "Addiction" "talks a whole lot about me finding myself and my recovery. I don't want to just come off as a celebrity. I'm a person that's normal and in the streets and deals with everyday life like everybody else. I deal with the demons in my life just like everybody else". Debarge's album is due to feature collaborations with fellow labelmate Joe ("Tell Ur Man") and Talib Kweli.

Later in the month, Hip Hop recording artist Fabolous will release his anticipated project "Loso's Way". Featuring the singles "Throw It In The Bag" and "My Time," Fabolous' new album is full of a who's who of players in both R&B and Hip Hop. Amongst those rumored to be featured on the Def Jam effort, are The-Dream, Jeremih, Ryan Leslie, Lil Wayne, Ne-Yo, Jay-Z and Trey Songz......"Loso's Way" is due in stores July 28.

- Examiner.com


Chico DeBarge Eyes Summer 'Addiction' Release
By SingersroomNews | Posted on 04/10/09 | Filed Under: R&B News, Chico Debarge
Former "Talk To Me" singer Chico DeBarge is close to releasing the long-anticipated album "Addiction" this summer !

"Addiction," DeBarge's first release since 2003s "Free," will be released under the singer's new deal with Kedar Entertainment.

As previously reported on Singersroom, the album is confirmed to feature a collaboration with labelmate and fellow R&B singer Joe who is due to release an album this summer.

Joe, speaking with Singersroom says "I have to say ("Addiction") it’s going to be one of the best albums coming out in this decade simply because it is one of the most honest albums I have heard. He’s got a story to tell and I definitely support what he does."

A single from the Chico DeBarge's "Addiction" album will be released soon.

"Addiction" is slated for release via Kedar Entertainment July 14.



- Singersroom News


Joe and Chico Debarge
B.B. King Blues Club
June 15th, 2009
by Ann Marie Collymore

Pandemonium would be the word to describe the fervor in B. B. King's last night. It was only fitting that we were treated to a double bill with Chico Debarge opening as a guest for his brethren, Joe. The release of Chico Debarge's first album in six years, Addiction, has been a hot topic on the Internet and on iTunes, with his single "Oh No," while Joe's new album, Signature, is making waves with his new single "Magic." Both Joe's and Chico Debarge's albums will be released on July 14th. Joe and Chico brought their own very different sets of energy to their segments. One was sensual, smooth and soulful, and the other debonair, gritty and sweaty. It was a night that decimated the decibel meter to smithereens.

Chico's ad-libs cooed from backstage while the band's first cord was played. As he took the stage and sat behind his keyboard, he seemed relaxed and calm. Ready to take on a restless crowd that had waited for 45 minutes, Chico sang the very rich "Nefertiti" and "I'm Ok" from his soon to be released album. However, his jazzy and groovy rendition of "Love Still Good" had everyone on their toes as he took it back to the classic Long Time No See. "Virgin" became an upbeat rhythmic melody with a stellar instrumental break. He didn't miss a beat. Chico also explained that the title of the album was derived from where he had been - a very dark place over on the other side. However, it is a place where he came from and was quite pleased to be here today and reap the benefits. After segueing into a new track about a woman who was just "So Sick," the first cords of "Iggin Me" were played and Chico let loose. It was as though all of his energy for the soiree was pent up for this one song. Everyone in the venue felt it and sucked up his energy like a sponge. Chico had the women screaming from the top of their lungs with one of his straightforward questions of the night - "Does your man love you with a love jones?" He then stepped away from the keyboard to partake in the funkiest track of the evening, "I Forgot Your Name." Sung to a slowed-down melody of Luther's "Never Too Much," it definitely was a fitting jam to end his set. Only problem is, the set was just too short. Especially after having the patrons wait for the elongated period of 45 minutes before the show. A little more Chico, would have been just right.

Joe's entrance alone was something to talk about. With DJ Kool Kid on the one's and two's and the band - it was surely a full set. To the tune of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" and dressed as suave as a Brat Pack member, Joe stepped onto the stage with drink in hand. The shrills were at high pitch and it continued from there on in. Every pelvic thrust, every sexual innuendo, every piece of clothing shed - was a problem. Joe waltzed through his set effortlessly. He was relentless with every song, diving into his repertoire one by one - "Why Just Be Friends," "If I Was Your Man" and "Baby Where You At." And then he switched into party mode, cranking it up with "Stutter" and "Ride With U." Joe's stage presence and voice carried along the show without a hitch. His quiet-storm set turned the venue into a call and response episode, with rousing renditions of "More And More," "I Wanna Know" (which the crowd sung word for word) and "All The Things Your Man Won't Do." Unbeknownst to us, Joe has some serious acoustic guitar playing abilities and strummed his way through "All That I Am" and "No One Else Comes Close." Chico returned onstage for an unrehearsed duet of the fan favorite "No Guarantee" and Joe finished his set with a dedication to Big Pun on "Don't Wanna Be A Player" - or so we thought. In all of the excitement, Joe forgot to plug his new single "Magic" and ended with a little taste. Everyone was quite full from the festivities, however the last track was just the right serving to end the night.

From slow and mid tempo, to needing a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, would be the only way this show could be described. Besides the screaming of insurmountable proportions, it was a night of great music that had a whole slew of New York City women basking in the glow of the day after, on Tuesday morning.

- Soul Tracks


Chico DeBarge, "Addiction" (Kedar Entertainment)

Though he comes from the famous DeBarge singing clan, Chico DeBarge's chart success has been nominal. His biggest hit was arguably 1997's "No Guarantees," and that came after time behind bars and a drug addiction slowed his career.

But the 39-year-old singer is a talent that deserves a spotlight, and his latest CD, "Addiction," might get you hooked on this underrated performer.

DeBarge's sixth album is a collection of cool jams that play smooth on a summer day. The album explores many sounds — there are elements of R&B, soul, hip-hop, jazz and spoken word.

Lyrically, there's nothing particularly noteworthy about the singer's content — it's clear his addiction is loving women — whether it's his own lady or someone else's (check out "Tell Ur Man" featuring Joe). But his distinctive style is what makes him stand out.

CHECK THIS OUT: Put on the cool "Nefertiti/Center of the Universe," DeBarge's pledge to his queen-to-be.

- Associated Press, MESFIN FEKADU


Chico DeBarge's Musical "Addiction"

When you're born into a musical dynasty like Chico DeBarge falling far from the tree simply isn't an option. The youngest of the DeBarge clan welcomes back his devotees with an introspective junior offering, "Addiction," a harmonic dependency strong enough to lure his fans from any withdrawal from 1997's "Long Time No See" by inducing a soulful seduction. From the horn-infused, foreplay-by-play anthems "Tell Your Man" featuring Joe and "Hey U," to the provocative "I Want U" and "I Forgot Your Name," DeBarge recounts the joys and perils of love like the bad boy that every good girl willingly falls prey. No stranger to assuaging the ladies with his falsetto, clean shaven head and smoldering features, Chico admits that unlike his indie project, "The Game," this album "is more like my first one and I chose to return to that formula because it worked for me."

Despite his album's title, Chico admits he's never been a sex addict, he's never balked at inquiries about his family's sordid history with drug addiction or his own. In 2003, DeBarge found himself addicted to the pain killer oxycontin, after healing from a knife wound he got during an assault at a Philly show. "My brothers and sisters didn't do the actual drugs around me but I still had a propensity to be addicted to drugs. However, I had it easier when it came to kicking my habit because it wasn't a lifestyle for me where I craved it emotionally or psychologically or my friends were addicts and I might be tempted to start using again. Every morning I wake up and I start the war with addiction because I'm not going to let it start with me." See, ladies, that's the kind of soldier and man we can't help but love and support by copping his album.
- Essence.com, Kenya N. Byrd


Last night I went to the Joe/Chico DeBarge album release party in New York City. Both Chico Debarge's new album Addiction and Joe's record Signature hit stores this week, and they each performed their classic hits while introducing new music to an intimate audience. It was so refreshing to hear music dedicated to women, to hear a man sing how much he appreciates and values us for who we are. For a short time we were missing that in the music game, especially considering the dearth of soul men these days. Where were the gentlemen of music? We did get a taste of it from artists like Ne-Yo and Musiq Soulchild, but it seems like those guys were few and far between. They have shown that it is cool to hold open the door for a woman again. And with Maxwell topping the charts and Ginuwine and Al B. Sure also dropping new music after long absences, women get to hear plenty of sweet, soothing voices.

Chico DeBarge is the younger brother of the group DeBarge from the 1980s. He came on stage with a cool, confident demeanor and drove the ladies crazy. He started his career in the late '80s and had success with his rugged good looks and smooth songs.

Joe sang his classic ballads, topped by his heart-melting classics "If I Was Your Man" and "All the Things (Your Man Won't Do)." He struck quite a silhouette in a sexy gray and burgundy three-piece suit, and the women in the audience hung on his every note. Hearing both these sexy R&B singers make you appreciate good sensual, romantic music.
- MTV News, Selina Kaye


Discography

ALBUM RELEASES:

1997: Long Time No See peaked at # 86 on the Billboard 200 album chart.

1999: The Game peaked at 41 on the Billboard
200.

SINGLES AND CHART POSITIONS:
1986: Talk to Me (US #21, R&B #7, UK #88)
1987: The Girl Next Door
1987: Rainy Night (R&B #18)
1997: Iggin' Me (UK #50)
1997: Love Still Good
1998: No Guarantee (featuring Joe)
1998: Virgin (R&B #97)
1999: Soopaman Lover (R&B #55)
1999: Give You What You Want (Fa Sure) (US
#71, R&B #11)
1999: Give You What You Want (South Central
Remix) (featuring Trina)
2000: Listen to Your Man (featuring Joe) (R&B
#41)
2000: Playa Hater
2003: Home Alone
2009: Oh No

Photos

Bio

ADDICTION: Reality Music

"Addiction" is a musical screenplay that embodies the extended works of Chico Debarge's "Long Time No See" as a ghetto Griot whose musical works personifies life in the streets and that of everyday people.

Chico creates a musical movie canvas, as one listens the scenes play out, becoming ever more real and life-like. The plot, the intricacies and details along with the poetic subliminal messages linger in your mind long after the songs are over. Following the formula and vein of his classic recording, Chico partnered once again with Kedar Massenburg of Kedar Entertainment whose musical directives were essential in defining this enormous talent. As Kedar states "Chico has written a beautiful masterpiece while living through his own pains and continual struggles. His life speaks volumes and he relates to everyone's joys and pains, creating music of substance, essentially reality music."

These realities have honed Debarge's craft of storytelling which have grown more mature as the years have gone by with his life becoming ever so real, with insurmountable challenges. Chico looked to his musical roots for not only sound and style, but also direction. "Addiction" takes us on a journey from one moment to the next. As the tracks change like pages in a book, we sit and listen, waiting for the next musical introduction.

As the album opens, Chico speaks frankly and briefly to his own addiction, without beating the point, all the while creating metaphorical references to each and everyone's problems. The problems that everyday people face in light of drugs, sex, food, abuse; addictions we all face and struggle with daily. The featured single - "Oh No!" with its up-tempo Roots-like groove and live instrumentation brings us back to the Chico we know. He takes us directly to the sexy-yet bashful and down-to-earth Chico his audience has come to appreciate and love.

"Addiction" speaks to love and the complexity of its nature - the wanting more. Such songs as "She Love's Me" exposes the rare honesty people face in accepting affection in light of a perilous environment. Chico being a proponent for intimacy and affection is easily heard in "I Forgot Your Name" and "Tell Your Man", which features JOE - where they advise women to tell their men to treat them right, or else. Respectful of other musical story-tellers, Chico's collaboration with hip-hop Presario, Talib Kweli on the cut, "Math" is an R&B/Hip-Hop classic in the making. Through "I'm Okay" and "Slick," Chico provides the listener with an idea of his own battles, all the while assuring the audience that he is okay and that support is always necessary and needed.

The raw, unabashed emotion seen in the Chico's musical veins introduced by Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke has Chico reaching to new heights in this effort with original instrumentation from seasoned professionals, geniuses to be precise; Musicians entrenched in the ways and waves of sounds, creating music for an ongoing film score and soundtrack for a musical screenplay called

"Addition: Reality Music."