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Multi-instrumentalist O'Bryan got into the business after a friend (who was in the choir he sang in as a young adult in Southern California) married Ron Kersey, who had worked in Philadelphia with groups like the Trammps in the 1970s. Upon her recommendation, Kersey got O'Bryan into a group he was forming. That quickly fell apart, but Kersey helped the singer connect with Soul Train impresario Don Cornelius, who helped O'Bryan land a deal with Capitol. During the '80s, he cut four albums and nine singles that made the R&B charts. His up-tempo tracks could sound something like a more mainstream Prince, though he tread far closer to the urban contemporary mainstream on his ballads. "The Gigolo" made number five in 1982, and over the next few years he had some up-tempo and ballad follow-ups. "I'm Freaky," which was reminiscent of "Gigolo," was the best of these; "Lovelite" was the most successful. In 2007, he returned with the ballad-heavy F1RST, issued digitally through the Headstorm label with plans for a CD version.