Eric RobersonView in iTunes
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Eric Roberson entered the music industry through a major label before he became one of the foremost independent R&B artists of the 2000s and 2010s. In 1994, as a teenager, the Rahway, New Jersey native debuted on Warner Bros. with "The Moon." Although the smooth, post-new jack ballad was a minor hit -- it reached number 53 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart that summer -- its parent album was shelved. Roberson returned to Howard University on a musical theater scholarship and earned his degree. During the latter half of the '90s, armed with an EMI publishing contract, he wrote and arranged tracks for Phajja, 112, and Gina Thompson. The following decade, Roberson went fully independent with his Blue Erro Soul label, launched with his full-length debut, Esoteric (2001). The same year that album was issued, Roberson, as Erro, also made waves in clubs with "Don't Change" (aka "Change for Me"), a single originally released on Osunlade's Yoruba label. As his solo career was moving forward again, he was also working with Philadelphians Musiq Soulchild, Jill Scott, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Vivian Green, as well as with Detroiter Dwele, for whom he co-wrote and co-produced "Hold On," another single that happened to peak at number 53 R&B. Roberson released solo albums every couple years, adding to his catalog with The Appetizer (2005), ...Left (2007), and Music Fan First (2009). The latter included "A Tale of Two" and "Still," songs that were nominated for Grammy Awards in the category of Best Urban/Alternative R&B. The Recording Academy's acknowledgments, along with new support from a partnership with Purpose Music and distributor eOne, helped send Mr. Nice Guy (2011) to number 14 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Roberson subsequently took part in contemporary gospel leader Fred Hammond's United Tenors project and fronted Zo!'s "We Are on the Move" (both 2013), then reverted to Blue Erro releases with B-Sides, Features & Heartaches and The Box (both 2014). He then linked up with occasional collaborator Phonte for Tigallerro (2016). ~ Andy Kellman & David Jeffries