Regina Belle has made a career following her heart and moving gracefully between the worlds of R&B, gospel and jazz. Inspired by a range of iconic talent including Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Donny Hathaway, Nancy Wilson, John Coltrane, Joe Henderson, Al Jarreau, Pastor Shirley Caesar, and Phyllis Hyman, Belle’s repertoire spans decades and crosses genres. She has made a career selecting songs that have special meaning to her.
“I am amazingly blessed. I will never say that I’ve lived the perfect life to be shown such favor with God or the people, but here I am,” declares Belle. “If I cannot identify with a song, and if the music does not move my soul, make me feel better, take me up when I’m down or higher when I’m up, then I don’t want to record it, play it or sing it.”
A New Jersey native, Belle attended Rutgers University, where she was 15 credits shy of obtaining her degree in Africana studies with a minor in music. It was during that time, she landed an audition with The Manhattans, became their opening act and soon after was signed to Columbia Records. In May 2015, Belle came full circle, completing her remaining college credits and earning her degree.
Belle made her recording debut with the 1987 album All By Myself, which featured such hits as “So Many Tears” and “Show Me The Way.” Her album Stay With Me followed in 1989; two years later she made a big splash with Johnny Mathis, recording “Better Together” on his album Better Together: The Duet Album. In the ‘90s, Belle had several collaborations with Peabo Bryson including “Without You.” During that decade, she released Reachin’ Back and Believe In Me. In 2001, Belle had the honor of performing for President George W. Bush at the White House. The same year she enjoyed success with her cover of the Bill Withers/Grover Washington Jr. hit “Just the Two of Us” on the tribute album To Grover, With Love. In 2002, This Is Regina! featured the top charting R&B single “Ooh Boy” and the Glenn Jones duet “From Now On.”
In 2004, the legendary George Duke produced her album of jazz standards, Lazy Afternoon, and in 2007 she had the joy of co-writing and singing on Paul Taylor’s album Ladies Choice. In 2008, Belle realized the dream of releasing her gospel debut album, Love Forever Shines, which united her with special guests, Melvin Williams (of The Williams Brothers), and Shirley Murdock. Her second gospel album, Higher followed in 2012. In 2016, Belle released, The Day Life Began, she marked her 15- year return to R&B.
“I’ve always understood that I couldn’t sing just anything,” says Belle of her recording repertoire. “My grandmother made it a point of telling me not to embarrass the family. She would say that I hadn’t gotten to where I was without having stood on the shoulders of family members who prayed and paid dues. My songs have always been inspirational, and my live shows are intergenerational and family friendly.”
Belle has been married for 27 years to Pastor John Sidney Battle III, a former NBA star with the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers. He is the senior pastor of three churches: Spread the Word in College Park, GA; New Shield of Faith Worship Center in Atlanta, GA; and Bread of Life in Newnan, GA. Belle is also an ordained minister of the Gospel. The husband-and-wife team are the parents of five children. An avid reader, Belle enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and watching old movies and Westerns with the likes of Sidney Poitier, Lena Horne, Hattie McDaniel, Betty Davis. “I’ve had many triumphs in my life as a wife and mother while maintaining a career,” says the artist, who successfully underwent brain surgery in 2009.
With an abundance of talent and grace, the incomparable Regina Belle is affirming that a whole new world of music awaits and that her new recording “Freedom” signifies the beginning of an exciting new chapter. She concludes, “I draw strength from knowing that I’m operating within the purpose for my life and I’m having a ball doing it!”
For more information on Regina Belle, please visit, www.iamreginabelle.com.