Robert Sylvester Kelly (born January 8, 1967) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and former semi-professional basketball player. He is credited for helping redefine R&B and hip hop, earning the nicknames "King of R&B" and "King of Pop-Soul". A native of Chicago, Kelly began street performing during the late 1980s and debuted in 1992 with the group Public Announcement. In 1993, Kelly went solo with the album 12 Play.
Kelly is known for various songs including "I Believe I Can Fly", "Bump N' Grind", "Your Body's Callin'", "Gotham City", "Ignition (Remix)", "If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time", "The World's Greatest", "I'm a Flirt (Remix)", and the hip-hopera "Trapped in the Closet". In 1998, Kelly won three Grammy Awards for "I Believe I Can Fly". Although Kelly is primarily a singer-songwriter, he has written, produced, and remixed songs, singles and albums for many artists. In 1996, he was nominated for a Grammy Award for writing Michael Jackson's song "You Are Not Alone". In 2002 and 2004, Kelly released collaboration albums with rapper Jay-Z and has been a featured vocalist for other hip hop artists including Nas, Sean Combs, and The Notorious B.I.G..
As of 2019, Kelly has released 12 solo studio albums, and sold over 75 million records worldwide, making him the most successful R&B male artist of the 1990s and one of the world's best-selling music artists. He is the 55th best-selling music artist in the United States, with over 32 million domestic album sales. Kelly is listed by Billboard as the most successful R&B/Hip Hop artist of the years 1985-2010 and the most successful R&B artist in history. He has won awards including Grammy Awards, BET Awards, Soul Train Music Awards, Billboard Music Award's, NAACP Image Awards , and American Music Awards.
Since the 1990s, Kelly has been the subject of numerous allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct, often with underage girls, all charges he "categorically denies". In 2002 he was indicted on 13 counts of child pornography, but was acquitted of all charges in 2008. In January 2019, a widely viewed Lifetime docuseries titled Surviving R. Kelly detailed allegations of sexual abuse by multiple women, allegations Kelly denies. Facing pressure from the public using the Mute R. Kelly hashtag, RCA Records dropped Kelly. On February 22, 2019, Kelly was indicted on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. On July 11, 2019, Kelly was arrested on federal charges alleging sex crimes and obstruction of justice. Kelly faces a total of 18 federal counts, including child pornography, kidnapping and forced labor, as of July 12, 2019.
He is also known as Robert Sylvester Kelly and Robert Kelly.