Al B. Sure! – My Story
Albert Joseph Brown III (born June 4, 1968) is a two-time Grammy-nominated American R&B recording artist and record producer. He grew up in Leonia, New Jersey, and Mount Vernon, New York. During the late 1980s under the stage name Al B. Sure!, he became one of new jack swing’s most popular romantic singers and producers.
Brown was a star football quarterback at Mount Vernon High School in New York, who rejected an athletic scholarship to the University of Iowa to pursue a music career. In 1987, Quincy Jones selected Brown as the first winner of the Sony Innovators Talent Search. Subsequently, Brown went on to work with Jones on several projects, most notably the platinum single “The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite)” from Jones’ double-platinum-certified album Back on the Block. On this recording, Brown was one of a quartet with Barry White, El DeBarge, and James Ingram.
His debut album from 1988, In Effect Mode, sold more than two million copies, topping the Billboard R&B chart for seven straight weeks. The album included the single “Nite and Day,” which topped the R&B chart and reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. He received numerous Grammy and American Music Award (AMA) nominations, and won an AMA for Best New R&B Artist. He also received several Soul Train Award nominations, and won the award for Best New Artist. He also won several New York Music Awards. In addition, his 900 phone line was third in generating revenue, following those for New Kids on the Block and Run-D.M.C.
As a writer and producer, Brown introduced the multi-platinum group Jodeci and teen R&B performer Tevin Campbell (also one of Quincy Jones’s former protégés), as well as Faith Evans, Dave Hollister, Case, and Usher to the music industry.
In 2009, Brown signed with Hidden Beach Recordings. His first single for the label, “I Love It (Papi Aye, Aye, Aye),” entered the Radio & Records Urban AC chart at No. 33 in one week. The album Honey, I’m Home was released on June 23, 2009.
In 1991, Sure! co-starred with Martin Lawrence in a television pilot titled Private Times. Other cast members included ER’s Michael Michele and The Five Heartbeats’ Michael Wright. Sure!’s various talk show appearances include The Oprah Winfrey Show, Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America, The Arsenio Hall Show, Rolanda, and Donahue. Sure!’s television and acting performances include Showtime at the Apollo, Soul Train and The Soul Train Music Awards, the Grammys, the American Music Awards, Will Smith’s Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and ABC’s Magic Johnson Special from Hawaii. He also hosted MTV Jams.
In 2000, Sure!’s ABS Entertainment launched a television development division, and he served as co-executive producer of the HBO Comedy Special starring Jamie Foxx, filmed at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, California. Recently, Sure! teamed with the ABC Radio Network to produce a romantic nighttime show, The Secret Garden, hosted by him and featuring a blend of music and celebrity guests.
Sure! participated in the Bless the Children Foundation celebrity auction along with NFL stars Charles Woodson and Anthony Dorsett. He was presented with the key to the city of Oakland by city council member Laurence E. Reid in recognition of the work of Sure!’s ABS Ken-Struk-Shen in refurbishing parts of the city. Reid proclaimed October 19 Al B Sure! Day. Sure! was a DJ on the Los Angeles radio station KHHT, and played old-school hip hop and R&B. He was one of 590 Clear Channel employees downsized in April 2009.