Brian McKnight is a talented singer/songwriter who has fashioned a surprisingly strong career over two decades as a soul balladeer. Coming from an extremely religious background and being the brother of Take 6's Claude McKnight, it was thought by many that Brian would be a gospel singer or a secular singer who fairly explicitly infused gospel into his music. However, like Marvin Gaye a generation earlier, despite his religious influences McKnight's music has alternated between the spiritual and the sexual, often creating an uncomfortable, seemingly contradictory musical landscape -- even within a single album.
From a critical standpoint, McKnight's songs are typically melodic (if occasionally simplistic) and his voice is warm but fairly unassuming. There is no question, however, that from his sensitive first hit ballad, "One Last Cry," through the big singles "Crazy Love," "On the Down Low," "Love of My Life" and especially his #1 crossover hit, "Back At One," McKnight has been one of the most consistently popular soul acts of the 90s and 00s, with nearly every album hitting both the Soul and Pop top 20. Further, he has established an extremely loyal female following and a persona as a soul "loverman" that is the envy of most other male soul singers today.
by Chris Rizik