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Color Me Badd is an R&B vocal group that was formed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S. The original members of the group were Bryan Abrams (born November 16, 1969), Mark Calderon (born September 27, 1970), Sam Watters (born July 23, 1970) and Kevin Thornton (born June 17, 1969). The group sold 12 million records in the United States. The group has been well known in Australia, Philippines, Indonesia, parts of east Asia, the United Kingdom, other parts of Europe, Canada and the United States. The group has been on T.V. shows, commercials, their songs have been in movies such as New Jack City, No Strings Attached and Glee. The group has not only had songs in movies but has starred as themselves on top TV shows in the '90s such as Beverly Hills, 90210.
This a cappella hip-hop group, whose R&B harmony vocals were offset by mild rap interjections and a post-New Kids on the Block street-dance image, were discovered by Kool & The Gang's Robert Bell in 1990.
Color Me Badd had five U.S. hit singles from their debut album C.M.B. throughout 1991 and 1992. These were "I Wanna Sex You Up" (U.S. #2), "I Adore Mi Amor" (U.S. #1), "All 4 Love" (U.S. #1), "Thinkin' Back" (U.S. #16) and "Slow Motion" (U.S. #18). "I Wanna Sex You Up" was also on the New Jack City soundtrack and hit number one in the United Kingdom.
Their debut album, C.M.B., was released in September 1991. It sold over 6 million copies worldwide and became certified 3x platinum in the United States by the RIAA.
Color Me Badd performed at the 1991 Smash Hits Poll Winners' Awards in the United Kingdom, winning the Best New Group trophy. In January 1992, they were awarded the Favourite Single R&B/Soul trophy at the 19th annual American Music Awards, held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. In March 1992, Color Me Badd won the Best R&B/Soul Single and Song of the Year categories at the sixth annual Soul Train Music Awards.
In October 1992, the group released a remix album entitled Young, Gifted & Badd: The Remixes. It contained the hit single "Forever Love" (U.S. #15), which was also featured on the Mo' Money soundtrack. However, the album peaked at U.S. #189.
The group's third album Time and Chance was released in November 1993. A hugely ambitious project, consisting of nineteen new tracks, this album represented a slight shift in musical style for Color Me Badd. Working with top producers including David Foster, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, a more soulful and funky sound had clearly emerged. Although some critics gave it positive reviews, the album did not fare well on the Billboard Album Charts, peaking at #56. It was certified gold in the U.S., for shipments of more than 500,000 units. With the music industry at the time embracing groups such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam, it was difficult for Color Me Badd to deliver the same success on the singles charts as they had done before. The album's title track "Time and Chance" peaked at U.S. #21, while its follow up "Choose" also topped out at U.S. #23.
The group re-emerged in 1996 with their fourth album called Now and Forever. With high-profile producers including Narada Michael Walden, Babyface, Jon B and Boyz II Men, this album was well received by both critics and R&B fans alike. However, once again, sales were well below those expected from the group at around four thousand copies in the U.S. alone.
The album produced one major hit single, "The Earth, The Sun, The Rain," which peaked at U.S. #19. However, it became a popular airwave staple and remained on the Billboard Charts for 19 weeks (the group's second-most-enduring single). The second single, "Sexual Capacity," was a minor hit and appeared on the soundtrack to the Demi Moore film Striptease. This song was co-produced by Robin Thicke under the name Rob Thicke.
After moving to Epic Records, Color Me Badd's fifth album, Awakening, was released in July 1998. Remaining true to their R&B roots, they again received critical acclaim for their vocal harmonies. "Remember When" achieved minor success on radio and has a companion video shot as well.
Kevin Thornton had previously left the group in October 1998 to pursue a call to ministry. He later released a Christian solo album, in 2005, that features contemporary hip-hop/rap material with gospel and soul music. Thornton became a licensed minister, in August 2006, and has since served as an evangelist, youth pastor and worship leader at his home church, Without Walls Church, in Fort Worth, TX. He has partnered with the church's non-profit Fort Worth Hope Center in helping to feed over 100,000 families a year in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. He is also actively involved in bringing awareness to the realities of human sex trafficking in America, through his partnership with "Traffick911."
Sam Watters pursued a second career as a record producer, achieving success in later years with Jessica Simpson, Celine Dion, Fantasia, Anastacia, Natasha Bedingfield, Kelly Clarkson, 98 Degrees, Blake Lewis. Watters is also a member of the production/songwriting team, The Runaways, which also includes Rico Love, Wayne Wilkins, Ryan Tedder, and Louis Biancaniello. Watters married R&B singer and former American Idol contestant Tamyra Gray in 2006.
Mark Calderon continues to write and produce music for various artists including new music for Color Me Badd. He has worked with artists such as Stevie Brock who re-made the hit single "All For Love" which reached #1 on Disney Charts, worked with the artist IPV who is signed with Wright Entertainment as well as getting songs played on the hit series "House MD" and "Knight Rider". He continues to write Christian music, starting with his song "He'll Be There". He has been a part of several mission trips to help those less fortunate and continues to be involved with helping the needy. He is married to Lisa Calderon (wife of 21 yrs) who was their fashion stylist and who worked with entertainers such as Whitney Houston, Ralph Tresvant, Bobby Brown, as well as many other artists.
In 2001, Bryan Abrams released a solo album entitled Welcome to Me. In 2007, Abrams co-starred in the VH1 reality TV series Mission: Man Band. In 2007, Abrams co-wrote and recorded an appearance on the Insane Clown Posse song "Truth Dare", which was released on the Psychopathic Records compilations Psychopathics from Outer Space 3 (2007) and Featuring Freshness (2011). Abrams publicly announced his departure from the group in August 2013.
In July 2010, Color Me Badd re-emerged as a duo composed of members Bryan Abrams and Mark Calderon. They headlined a concert in Hawaii (also starring All-4-One and Shai), and were well received by the audience and the local media. Later that year, Kevin Thornton reunited with the group. The trio first emerged together on the DirecTV Gameshow: "Rock and a Hardplace" hosted by 'Meatloaf.' They raised funds for an L.A. charity group called "FACE" (a grass-roots organization bringing alcohol abuse awareness to youth) and competed against '70s R&B group "Divas." In early 2012, Mark Calderon and Bryan Abrams collaborated on a song with the Insane Clown Posse on The Mighty Death Pop!'s "White Pop" version's bonus CD called Mike E. Clark's Extra Pop Emporium. It is a soft R&B remix of the song "Ghetto Rainbows." Although the song is believed to be a full Color Me Badd collaboration with ICP, it features Bryan Abrams and Mark Calderon only, and was also co-written by the duo.
In 2013 Color Me Badd launched their official website colormebaddmusic.com.
Mark Calderon and Kevin Thornton continue to tour the United States and abroad as Color Me Badd with newcomer Martin Kember (formerly of the group AZ-1). The trio is currently working on a new Color Me Badd album scheduled for release in 2014.
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|1993||Time and Chance||56||20||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1996||Now & Forever||113||39||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
|2000||The Best of Color Me Badd|
|Year||Album details||Peak position|
|1992||Young, Gifted & Badd: The Remixes||189|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
|1991||"I Wanna Sex You Up"||2||1||4||11||18||4||2||1||5||1||C.M.B.|
|"I Adore Mi Amor"||1||1||27||—||8||44||11||8||—||44|
|"All 4 Love"||1||—||9||—||8||23||3||1||25||5|
|"Color Me Badd"||—||56||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Forever Love"||15||23||—||—||41||—||—||—||—||—||Young, Gifted & Badd: The Remixes|
|1993||"Time and Chance"||21||3||—||—||58||—||—||—||—||62||Time and Chance|
|"In the Sunshine"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Let's Start with Forever"||115||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1996||"The Earth, The Sun, The Rain"||19||25||—||—||12||69||—||30||—||—||Now & Forever|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|