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Vivian Green

A stalwart adult contemporary R&B artist since she crowned Billboard's R&B Adult Songs chart with her first single, "Emotional Rollercoaster" (2002), Vivian Green has built a generous catalog displaying undeniable versatility that belies her most common categorization. Traversing jazz, hip-hop soul, and house, among a greater number of styles, the nuanced but powerful singer's gradually expanding body of work is highlighted by the gold-certified A Love Story (2002) and the additional Top Ten R&B/hip-hop albums Vivian (2005) and Vivid (2015). The latter recording started a long-term creative partnership with producer and fellow songwriter Kwame Holland that has progressed with VGVI (2017) and Love Absolute (2020). Born and raised in North Philadelphia, Vivian Green started singing, playing piano, and writing songs during her childhood. She joined a short-lived group called Younique at the age of 13, and by 15 was striving to land a solo recording contract. After she turned down an offer from Columbia subsidiary Ruffhouse, she co-wrote "Dear God" for Boyz II Men's chart-topping third album, Evolution, and worked on material for Britney Spears' demo tape, while still in high school. After graduation, Green supported herself by performing at jazz clubs and singing with a wedding orchestra. She also backed other singers, and toured internationally with fellow Philly native Jill Scott, as documented by Experience: Jill Scott 826+. Meanwhile, Green recorded a demo of her own, assisted by Malik Pendleton and Eric Roberson, that resulted in a deal with Columbia proper. A Love Story arrived in November 2002 as Green's full-length debut. The first two singles off the album, "Emotional Rollercoaster" (written with Roberson and Osunlade) and "Fanatic" (a collaboration with Fred Kenney), respectively reached number one and 15 on Billboard's adult R&B chart, and thanks to club remixes had crossover success of similar rank on the dance chart. A Love Story, itself a number eight hit on the R&B/hip-hop chart, was certified gold the following May. Green then made big- and small-screen appearances, performing "Love for Sale" in the Cole Porter musical biopic De-Lovely and "Every Little Bit Hurts" (popularized by Motown's Brenda Holloway) in an episode of American Dreams. During this phase, Green also cut background vocals for studio projects by Darius Rucker and Kindred the Family Soul. Green established her customary every-few-years recording schedule with the May 2005 arrival of her second album, Vivian, which entered the R&B/hip-hop chart at number five. She worked primarily with Philadelphians such as Scott Storch and James Poyser, and again appealed to urban adult contemporary radio stations and clubs with "Gotta Go Gotta Leave (Tired)," a collaboration with Junius Bervine that topped the adult R&B and dance charts. Follow-up single "I Like It (But I Don't Need It)" became the singer's third number one dance hit. Admirer Cyndi Lauper featured Green later in the year on The Body Acoustic (and would continue to perform with her). Between albums, Green also appeared on Guru's Jazzmatazz, Vol. 4 and moved from Columbia to the eOne label. Her new deal yielded a pair of albums issued in relatively quick succession. Beautiful, released in April 2010, was set apart by a greater role played by Anthony Bell, who had worked on Green's previous LPs but this time co-wrote almost every song while producing the set with Jason Farmer. The Green Room followed in October 2012 with a broader mix of established and new associates including Phoe Notes, Steve McKie, and Rex Rideout. Among the featured artists were Brian Culbertson and Freeway, both of whom featured Green on their solo LPs issued the same year. Beautiful and The Green Room landed within the Top 30 of the R&B/hip-hop chart and continued Green's streak of albums to reach the overall Billboard 200. During the second half of the 2010s, Green began and consolidated an alliance with veteran songwriter/producer Kwame Holland. Vivid, her lively first LP for Holland's Caroline-supported Make Noise label, earned her the highest placement on the R&B/hip-hop chart since her second album, reaching number ten upon its August 2015 release. Green and Holland continued to work closely, and in October 2017 returned with VGVI. Vivid and VGVI combined to yield four charting singles, including the Maze-referencing "Get Right Back to My Baby" and the Art of Noise-inspired "I Don't Know," both of which went Top Ten adult R&B. Green and Holland subsequently allied with SoNo Recording Group for Love Absolute. Green's seventh album, it landed in November 2020.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo
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