ALL ABOUT RALPH TRESVANT
Ralph Edward Tresvant was born one month premature in Roxbury, a section of Boston, Massachusetts on May 16, 1968 to Patricia Tresvant (RIP) and Ralph Hall. He has a younger sister named LaTonya and a brother named André.
His sister once said that when Ralph was younger, he was picked on a lot because he was so small. However, she said, he stayed in fights. Ralph has always showed an interest in karate and karate films, especially Bruce Lee. Even New Edition bandmate Michael Bivins once said, "Ricky, Bobby, and I always wanted to perform, and we'd enter competitions without Ralph knowing and sometimes, an hour before we were to go on stage, we'd call him. He'd be at home watching karate films with his little brother and he'd go, 'Oh, man, I don't think I wanna do that,' and we'd say, 'How can we do the song if you're not here?' and we'd get him out." Ralph's interest in karate also shows in New Edition's "Hit Me Off" video in his fighting scene.
School was also an important part of Ralph's life, even more important than music, and he wanted to live up to his parents' insistence of him staying in school. When he joined New Edition in 1980, Ralph wasn't sure how serious he should be about his music. "I just couldn't see any future in the music thing. I mean, it was fun and all, but I was under so much pressure to get good grades and stay in school, it just didn't seem real."
Even when New Edition released their debut album, Ralph still wasn't sure music was worth quitting school for. Finally, after many long, heavy discussions with his family, Ralph and his family decided a career in music might not be as bad as they once thought, as long as he had a tutor to travel with him on the road. After all, if it didn't last, Ralph could always go back to school.
After years of success, the members of New Edition went solo. Ralph explains, "There was a lot of talent in the group that people weren't noticing. See, in the group we were all kind of playing a role; but something that could show people who we really were as individuals."
Many people thought Ralph would be the first to go solo. The success of bandmates Bobby Brown and Johnny Gill (who replaced Bobby in the group when he left to persue a solo career) as solo artists and Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe as the hip-hop/R&B trio Bell Biv DeVoe made people wonder where the quiet, and at times shy, Ralph Tresvant was.
"I was trying to decide which way to go. Should I try to fit in with what people wanted me to be? Or should I just be what I feel? I wanted to wait until I was sure I could do the right thing."
Once again, with the help of his family, Ralph made a decision: "I decided to go with what I'm really all about - standing up for family values and speaking to anybody who's willing to go against all the things going against them. When you get down to it, there's nothing much you can do except go along with what you're worth. That's the message I'm trying to get out."
Ralph admits, however, that until the first single, "Sensitivity," came out, he was nervous about the album. "I didn't know how it was going to work out. The other guys from New Edition kept reassuring me. Actually, the success of the B.B.D. album and the Johnny Gill solo album paved the way for me. All the same, I was nervous until the single was released and I realized how the radio stations were picking up on it."
"Sensitivity" was #1 on the R&B charts and #4 on the Pop charts for 20 weeks. His self-titled debut album, which later became platinum, also featured the hits "Rated R," "Do What I Gotta Do," and "Stone Cold Gentleman." With all this, critics named Ralph the "Gentleman of Soul."
Ralph also considers his bandmates from New Edition to be like family. Instead of using the term "broke up," New Edition talks about how they "branched out." Ralph once said, "We're still together. Maybe we haven't worked with each other for a while, but we're to do a tour and an album in the future - and not too far off, either. You have my word on that. See, New Edition is like a tree - a very special tree, because everything else has grown off of it - and you gotta keep the roots strong and keep watering it; because that's where the support is, and that's what the message is all about."
In 1991, Ralph had a cameo in the movie "House Party 2" with the song "Yo, Baby, Yo!" which also appeared on the soundtrack. He also co-wrote and sang "Money Can't Buy You Love" on the 1992 soundtrack for "Mo' Money."
Unfortunately, Ralph's second album, titled It's Goin' Down, didn't do nearly as well as his debut album, mainly because it wasn't promoted by MCA Records. Another reason it didn't do as well was probably because he had a new sound. Ralph wrote all the songs, except three of them, which is what makes the album more special. On the songs, people saw a different side of Ralph. In a 1994 interview, Ralph explained that he wasn't just one certain thing, and he wanted to show the other sides of himself. However, many people only liked the "sensitive" side of him, not the sexier side, so they did not buy the album. The album did have two songs that were hits, though they were not as popular as the songs on his first album and soundtracks, titled "Who's The Mack" and a mid-tempo song called "When I Need Somebody," both written by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
The other New Edition members' hits also went down, and New Edition began recording the highly anticipated reunion album. New Edition had much discussion over what to title the reunion album before Ralph himself came up with the title Home Again.