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Eric Roberson

A leading light in independent R&B, Eric Roberson has built a rich catalog characterized by his radiant tenor vocals, earnest songwriting, and continual musical progression traversing contemporary soul, gospel, organic hip-hop, and deep house. Roberson entered the music industry in his teens, through a major label. Although his first act was cut short after he charted with the post-new jack swing ballad "The Moon" (1994), he bounced back the following decade, reintroducing himself with Esoteric... (2001), his self-released debut album, and "Don't Change," a club hit (also known as "Change for Me"). A little late and perhaps too underground to benefit from the attention granted to like-minded artists classified as neo-soul, Roberson proved to be as worthy of acclaim as any of his soul-rooted contemporaries, and after a few more LPs, earned Grammy nominations for two songs off his sixth full-length, Music Fan First (2009). His next proper studio albums, Mister Nice Guy (2011) and The Box (2014), charted either within or near the top half of the Billboard 200. Since then, he has issued the Phonte collaboration Tigallerro (2016), Hear from Here (2020), and Lessons (2022), among many other solo efforts and outside projects. 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, reaching 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 the likes of 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 "Borrow You," Roberson's first charting R&B/hip-hop single since "The Moon," and "A Tale of Two" and "Still," songs that were nominated for Grammy Awards in the category of Best Urban/Alternative R&B Performance. The Recording Academy's acknowledgments, along with new support from a partnership with Purpose Music and distributor eOne, helped send Mister 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) and put together a trilogy of empowerment-themed EPs, Earth, Wind, and Fire (all in 2017). Before the end of the decade, Roberson issued the full-length LNS (2019), short for Late Night Sessions, with songs selected by his following of online subscribers, and he became a professor at Berklee College of Music. Very early into the COVID-19 pandemic, Roberson extended Erro Live: Vol. UK, a recording of a London performance the previous year, as well as the studio album Hear from Here. Those 2020 sets were followed by Lessons (2022), the title track of which fast became one of Roberson's most successful singles.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Discography

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