Classics: Ralph Tresvant – Sensitivity (MCA)
Strangely enough, Ralph Tresvant never managed to gain a notoriety comparable to the ones of Bobby Brown or Johnny Gill. Two R&B heavyweight champions with whom he shared the duties as a member of New Edition. Eventually takin’ the lead at times. No more than the couple of masterpieces he graced us with as a solo artist changed anything at the end. Beginning with the vibrant and blissful ‘Sensitivity’ back in 1990. A smooth jam that carries the instantly recognizable signature of famous Minneapolis producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.
‘Sensitivity’ tells a lot about Tresvant though. At least as an artist if not as a man… With thanks to his velvet voice adding so much to the beauty of this composition. Not to mention its lyrics, most likely highlighting his obvious delicacy.
In the meantime, hard to not find a parental link with ‘That’s The Way Loves Goes’ which Jam & Lewis produced for Janet (Jackson) three years later. With both of them givin’ us a preview as to what quiet storm R&B is about…
A native of Boston, MA, Ralph Tresvant started performing at local talent shows along with Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell and Michael Bivins. This being how he and his partners came to the attention of Brooke Payne who gave them the name New Edition to signify they were a new edition of the Jackson 5. Therefore responding to Maurice Starr‘s search at the time. The latter signing them on his Streetwise Records label. Meanwhile a fifth member by the likes of Ronnie DeVoe (Payne‘s nephew) joined the band.
Featuring gems like ‘Popcorn Love’ and its title track, their 1993 ‘Candy Girl’ album ideally put them on the map. After a dispute over money, New Edition left Starr‘s management and record label though. Soon after signing a new deal with MCA then releasing their self-titled second album. Meanwhile solidifying their position with the Top Five smash hit ‘Cool It Now’ then ‘Mr Telephone Man’ with Tresvant takin’ the lead vocals.
A third album – ‘All For Love’ – followed, featuring another hit by the likes of ‘Count Me Out’. But the story of the band would get through period of turbulence. With Bobby Brown voted out by the group’s management team after behavorial problems back in December 1985. Then the first rumors of Ralph Tresvant goin’ solo. This bringin’ his pals to recruit a new lead singer by the likes of Johnny Gill, although Tresvant managed to stay with them at the end. Their 1988 ‘Heartbreak’ album marking the start of their collaboration with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. This resulting in an impressive series of 5 hit singles. From ‘If It Isn’t Love’ to ‘Can You Stand The Rain’ and ‘N.E. Heartbreak’ among others.
Following Bobby Brown‘s example, the group went on a hiatus. Leavin’ the time to his members to release their own projects. With Ralph Tresvant goin’ further way with producers Jam & Lewis. This resulting in the release of his eponymous debut-album back in 1990. An effort which spanned ‘Sensitivity’, his biggest success under his own guise. But also ‘Stone Cold Gentleman’ with a rap from fellow New Edition member Bobby Brown.
Tresvant came back as a solo artist in 1993. This resulting in the release of his ‘It’s Goin’ Down’ album featuring the Marvin Gaye-esque ‘Who’s The Mack’ produced by Jam & Lewis.
One could also find Tresvant‘s vocals on various film soundtracks. From ‘Mo’ Money’ (‘Money Can’t Buy You Love’ and ‘The Best Things In Life Are Free’). To ‘The Preacher’s Wife’ (‘Somebody Bigger Than You And I”) along with Bobby Brown, Faith Evans, Johnny Gill and Monica. And he also made a cameo appearance in ‘House Party 2’ delivering one single for its soundtrack by the likes of ‘Yo Baby Yo’.
Tresvant made his return as a solo artist back in 2006. Putting an end to a 13 years hiatus with his third album – ‘Rizz Wa Faire’ – on Xzault Media Group.