D’Angelo (US soul singer, songwriter & producer)
Legal name: Michael Eugene Archer
Michael Eugene Archer (born February 11, 1974), better known by his stage name D'Angelo (pronounced dee-Angelo), is an American R&B and neo soul singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. His stage name was inspired by his idol and mentor, Jeffrey D'Angelo of Dover, NH. Born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of a Pentecostal minister, he began teaching himself piano as a very young child, and at age 18 he won the amateur talent competition at Harlem's Apollo Theater three weeks in a row. After briefly being a member of a hip-hop group called I.D.U., his first major success came in 1994 as the co-writer and co-producer of "U Will Know".
His debut solo album, Brown Sugar, released in July 1995, received rave reviews and sold over two million copies. Along with artists like Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Maxwell, and collaborator Angie Stone, D'Angelo became part of the neo-soul movement. Following this D'Angelo went on a hiatus before releasing Voodoo in January 2000, which debuted at number one. Its lead single "Untitled (How Does It Feel)," was a smash on the R&B charts and won a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal; likewise, Voodoo won for Best R&B Album.
Following the release of Untitled (How Does It Feel), D'Angelo became more conscious of and uncomfortable with his status of being a sex symbol. This was followed by numerous personal struggles including alcoholism, and a fourteen-year musical hiatus. D'Angelo released his third studio album, Black Messiah, in December 2014, although it was originally set for release in 2015; the album was met with critical acclaim and fared well on music charts, peaking at number five on the US Billboard 200.