Robert Sylvester Kelly (born January 8, 1967), known professionally as R. Kelly, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer and rapper. A native of Chicago, Illinois, often referred to as King of R&B, Kelly began performing during the late 1980s and debuted in 1992 with the group Public Announcement. In 1993, Kelly went solo with the album 12 Play. He is known for a collection of major hit singles including "Bump n' Grind", "Your Body's Callin'", "I Believe I Can Fly", "Gotham City", "Ignition (Remix)", "If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time", "The World's Greatest", "I'm a Flirt", and the hip-hopera "Trapped in the Closet". In 1998, Kelly won three Grammy Awards out of five nominations for "I Believe I Can Fly".
Kelly has written, produced, and remixed songs and albums for many artists, including Aaliyah's 1994 debut album Age Ain't Nothing But a Number. In 1996, Kelly was nominated for a Grammy for writing Michael Jackson's song "You Are Not Alone". In 2002 and 2004, Kelly released collaboration albums with rapper Jay-Z and has been a guest vocalist for other hip hop artists like Nas, Sean Combs, and Fat Joe.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has recognized R. Kelly as one of the best-selling music artists in the United States with 40 million albums sold as well as only the fifth black artist to crack the top 50 of the same list. In March 2011, R. Kelly was named the most successful R&B artist of the last 25 years by Billboard. Kelly has released 12 solo studio albums, and sold over 100 million records worldwide making him the most successful R&B male artist of the 1990s and also one of the best selling musical artist of all time.