Ralph Tresvant

Ralph Tresvant is an American R&B singer best known as a lead singer and original member of the 1980s boy band New Edition.


Born on May 16, 1968, in Boston, Massachusetts, Ralph Tresvant was one of the lead singers of the popular five-member boy band New Edition, which was formed in 1978. The group went on to have several successful singles during the 1980s, including "Candy Girl," "Cool It Now" and "Mr. Telephone Man," becoming teen pop idols in the process. Tresvant was initially hesitant about a solo career, but after other members of the band garnered solo success, he did as well. His debut solo album, Sensitivity, launched the hit singles "Do What I Gotta Do," "Stone Cold Gentleman" and the title song.

Early Life

Born in the Roxbury section of Boston, Massachusetts, on May 16, 1968, Ralph Edward Tresvant Jr. grew up enjoying music with his older sister LaTonya and younger brother Andre. When some junior high school friends got the idea to put a group together, Tresvant and four others—Ronnie DeVoe, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell and Michael Bivins—started performing at local talent shows. They were spotted by a local up-and-coming producer and songwriter, Maurice Starr, who wanted to create a "newer edition" of the pop act The Jackson 5. Starr named the group New Edition and signed them to his independent Streetwise Records label, releasing their debut album, Candy Girl, in 1983. The album was a successful launching pad for the group, spawning the teen-oriented hit singles "Popcorn Love," "Is This the End" and the title track.


After a dispute over money, New Edition left Starr's management and record label and signed with major label MCA Records, which released the group's self-titled second album. Tresvant's smooth, approachable vocal style had become a signature for the group, and the hits continued, including the Top Five smash single "Cool It Now."

Quiet and shy, Tresvant was initially apprehensive about the idea of recording a solo project. However, after witnessing the huge success of Bobby Brown's solo albums and of Ronnie DeVoe, Ricky Bell and Michael Bivins' Bell Biv Devoe side project, Tresvant eventually relented. His 1990 debut solo album, Sensitivity, was released in 1990 and the title track spent 20 weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. R&B Singles chart. The album also included the hit singles "Do What I Gotta Do" and "Stone Cold Gentleman."

Tresvant's vocals were also featured on songs on the soundtracks for the films Mo' Money ("Money Can't Buy You Love") and The Preacher's Wife ("Somebody Bigger Than You and I"). He made a cameo appearance in the popular urban comedy House Party 2.

Personal Life

Tresvant married his childhood sweetheart, Shelly, in 1993; they have two daughters, Na'Quelle and Mariah. In 2004, he married his second wife, Amber Serrano.

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