A Musical Genius who shaped music in the ’90s
Booker emerged in the late 1980s as a prominent urban contemporary R&B artist and producer. He began recording music after being signed by his late godfather Barry White to his production company in 1984. Later, he played keyboards with the short-lived Epic Records band Tease for three years. Booker, known throughout the industry as a keyboard player, is considered by his music peers to be a bass player.
Chuckii comes from a vast musical background family which includes his uncle, a jazz flautist and his grandmother, who is a gospel pianist. His mother, Selestine Booker – who has played and recorded with such Gospel artists as James Cleveland and Norman Hutchins – also played on his debut album on the song “Keep Your Guard Up”.
Booker attended the Pasadena Art Center College of Design on a scholarship program specializing in Graphic Arts. He is known to have one of the most extensive comic book collections ranging from popular Marvel and DC comics to obscure paperback novels. He was co-owner of the private recording and mixing studio Aire L.A. Studios in Glendale, California.
Booker received his recording contract in an unlikely manner. He gave his demo tape to the manager of Gerald Albright to showcase his skills as a musician, but had forgotten about the songs on the other side of the tape that contained original songs with his vocals. As a result, he was offered a recording contract with Atlantic Records.
Booker signed a recording contract with Atlantic to release his debut album Chuckii in 1989 in which he played all the instruments and sang all vocals. The album fared well on the strength of hit singles “(Don’t U Know) I Love U” and the #1 R&B single “Turned Away.” The follow-up final album Niice ‘N Wiild was released in 1992 and yielded another chart-topping R&B hit “Games”. Chuckii also wrote, performed and produced the single “Crypt Jam” from the CD soundtrack Tales from the Crypt. Booker also made a cameo in the movie House Party 3 as a piano player in the hotel lobby scenes which starred Kid N’ Play, Bernie Mac and Chris Tucker.
Booker produced for several recording artists throughout the years, including Troop, which yielded two #1 singles (All I Do Is Think of You & Spread My Wings), his godfather Barry White, Janet Jackson, Vanessa Williams, Kool & the Gang and many more. He was the musical director, producer and keyboardist for Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation World Tour as well as the opening act. Booker got the gig after he was invited by Jackson to the premiere of her long-form video Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814. Although Booker went to the premiere to mingle with celebrities, he was caught off guard when Jackson asked him after the screening to be her musical director for the tour.
In the mid- to late ’90s, Booker was also the music director and keyboardist for TLC and their CrazySexyCool tour as well as New Edition Home Again Tour and Faith Evans on her “Keep The Faith” U.S. tour. He was the pianist for Tina Turner for her Wildest Dreams Tour in 1997, replacing Kenny Moore, who succumbed to a heart attack during the tour.
Booker was also involved with one of the biggest R&B tours of 2008 as musical director with Mary J. Blige on her “Heart Of The City” tour alongside Jay-Z as co-headliner. Chuckii also served as musical director for acts such as Tevin Campbell, Chante Moore, Brownstone and recently, Keyshia Cole. In recent production, Booker was one of the producers for Lionel Richie’s album Coming Home released in 2007 as well as producer and arranger for Richie’s Collection of Holiday Classics album for NBC’s “Sounds of the Season”.
Booker has carved a sizeable niche for himself as a record producer for artists such as Lalah Hathaway, Troop, En Vogue, Angela Winbush, Diana Ross, Anastacia, Commissioned, Lionel Richie, and Bette Midler.
One of MJs favs by Booker is “Games”… Mellow, while luring you in with p-funk samples, classy bass drum and silky smooth synths, co-written by Levert!
Taken from his second studio album ‘Niice ‘n Wiild’. The single spent one week at number-one on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and peaked at number sixty-eight on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
Until Trey Songz’s song “I Invented Sex” from 2009-2010, “Games” was the most recent song to peak at number-one on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart while failing to reach the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1996, Mark Morrison sampled Booker’s “Games” in his 1996 hit song, “Return of the Mack”, not many people would have know that 😉
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