9/11/2010 10:36:00 PM

El DeBarge in Ebony magazine; photo shoot.

Posted by SouthernGurl

The Dark Gable of R&B has return and he says he's 'bringing lightskin back!' B.C.M. favorite, El DeBarge handsomely graces the October issue of Ebony magazine. Just looking at the photos will make you fall in love with El all over again! In the article, El dishes on his infamous past that has led to his  triumphant return to music (and if you watched his BET Awards performance, he sang as if he never left us!); a past that, we all know included hardcore drug abuse, prison time, growing up in a dysfunctional family and an 'out-of-sight-out-of-mind' mentality from folks when others randomly asked, 'Where's El?' However, in the interview El shared things about his life that some people, like myself, never knew. For example, although I knew that the DeBarge family come from gospel roots, I had no idea that Bishop William Abney, who penned the gospel classic I Won't Complain is actually El's uncle! Or that El originally wanted to be a gospel artist. Little brother Chico also joined in on the interview. Now that I think about it, El talked more about his personal life than his new album Second Chance, which according to Billboard.com, has been pushed back to late November. Just in time for the holidays!

Oh, and remember when I made that comment suggesting someone give El (and/or his family) their own reality show? Well, it went from my mouth to God's ears because the currently single father of 12 (hey, that's the number he's claiming) has a reality show (network to be announced) in the works which will focus on how he's rebuilding his life, raising his kids and dealing with their mothers. Yall know I'mma watch!

Peep excerpts from his interview below:
EL ON HOW GOD PULLED HIM FROM FROM HIS DRUG ABUSE: 'I was in a drug coma. I went to sleep for about 22 years. I was crying to God, 'Lord, please help me get off this. I don't want to be like this.' I was never in denial about the fact that I had a problem. I just didn't know if I was going to ever get off of it, but I didn't give up. Drugs had me. When I came out of my addiction, when God saw fit to have me locked up in prison, that was really a rescue. He let me know right there in prison, 'I had you the whole time. I allowed you to go through this for such a season, for a reason. And you're in prison right now because I plucked you out of the situation. I'm the one who had you locked up for your own sake, But when you come out of here, watch what I do for you.'

EL ON WEANING HIMSELF OFF OF DRUGS: 'I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. It wasn't about my career anymore, it was about my life. [Going cold turkey] is worse than what you see on TV or in the movies. They really don't want to make it graphic. It's nastier than that. It's bad, bad. You hurt past your body. You hurt from the inside out. Your hair hurts.'

EL ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS FATHER: 'I stayed out of my father's way growing up. My daddy had problems. I was so young when it all started. I was born into it. I didn't know the difference. My father gave all of us love. That was the disturbing thing about it. He was like Jekyll and Hyde. He would hug us and play games with us. The next thing you know, it was on and popping! Then he'd apologize. 'I love you. I'm sorry, and pray for your daddy.' He would always win our sympathy and our empathy. Always. You could tell he was dead serious. He would cry. He wasn't faking. That man had some issues.'


EL ON PRISON LIFE: I didn't have any problems. All the gangs liked me--Blacks, Whites, Mexicans, gay people. There are a lot of gay people in prison. They loved me. They were really cool. They had respect for me because they saw that I respected them. I didn't discriminate. I looked at them as God's people. Whatever their issues are, only God can judge.'

EL'S BROTHER CHICO ON THEIR PACT TO REMAIN SOBER: 'He's assertive and proactive in his restoration and recovery. We made a pact to call each other in moments of trouble or just being troubled in mind. I believe God is going to heal our entire family. Me and El talk about it. It's part of our life to talk about our past. It's a testimony of God's goodness and delivering power.'

GEFFEN RECORDS CHAIRMAN RON FLAIR ON GIVING EL A 'SECOND CHANCE:' There's a lot of trepidation and concern about whether adults really buy records. We're in an intense youth-culture business. So to make the step forward and sign somebody who is 49 years old, I really had to do my homework and figure out how I was going to connect the dots. I understood how musically stupendous he was, and I wasn't really that aware of his importance until I got to know him and got a little bit more in the picture. He looks amazing. He looks like he's been cryogenically preserved.'
  • El has gospel roots. He also looked up to his uncle is Bishop William Abney who penned the gospel classic 'I Won't Complain.'
  • El originally aspired to become a gospel singer, hoping to play the piano like Andrae Crouch and sing like Walter Hawkins.
  • At the age of 7, El says, 'It was 3 o'clock in the morning. She woke me and Bobby and said, 'The Lord told me to anoint El's fingers. He's going to play the piano.' She told my brother to teach me a song right then. So he taught me 'Mary Had a Little Lamb.' I've been playing it ever since.'
  • By age 11, El was playing the organ during regional church conferences in the Detroit area.
  • At age 25, El tried marijuana for the firs time.
  • At age 28, El was snorting cocaine and eventually began hitting the crack pipe. When asked about it he says, 'I don't know why. I'm still trying to figure that out. I stepped to it and it had a left hook out of this world. I felt dirty. I felt like somebody was raping me. When I used that, it's like something evil would come over me.' At the peak of his addiction, El was using an ounce of coke a day. He was able to sufficiently fund his habit by using the money he received from royalties.
  • El's brush with the law began in 1985 when he caught his first case for assault and battery; the charges were later reduced to a misdemeanor charge of creating a disturbance in 1985.
  • By 1996, El caught charges for possession of a controlled substance, vandalism and disturbing the peace.
  • In 2001 he was arrested on a domestic battery charge and placed on probation.
  • At one point El became a vagabond. When he wasn't laying up in a hotel room, he was moving from one person's house to the next. His drug abuse led him to place his own life in danger by getting high in crack houses; some of which had been robbed or raided by the police.
  • In 2008, El was arrested again for vandalism and possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to 2 years in prison; served one year and was released in 2009.
  • While in jail, El says inmates would not only ask him for autographs (so that their family could sell them on Ebay), they'd also ask him to write letters for them with the lyrics to his songs....including the ad libs; and sing to them until they fell asleep!
  • Upon his release from prison, El voluntarily attended drug counseling, anger management and self-awareness classes. Why? He says, 'The tools you get from anger management help you to be ahead of the game. It's like an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.'


liesel J. said...

This is great, thanks for posting this. El is in interviews today still saying the release date for the album is Sept. 28th. Ebony had misinformation.

ClassyOne said...

Love your site SouthernGurl!

I love El too! He's bringing back that old school and sexy r&b. Something that's been missing for more than a minute. Can't wait for his new album to drop. SO proud of him and everything he has accomplished so far.

ebonyeyes said...

I love this man!! If I have to wait until November to hear some classic El DeBarge, I'd gladly wait. He's so worth it.

Anonymous said...

I'm predicting El will be have the greatest and most successful comeback for 2010. God has blessed him tremendously!

Anonymous said...

Southern girl, this is a great article. Thanks for posting and writing this. I'm so proud and amazed at El DeBarge. So glad that he is bringing REAL R&B back. I loved him from the beginning and I love him just as much now and maybe more :-) for his strength and courage. God has always kept him safe and will continue to do so. I can't wait till Sept. 28th!

Caren said...

When I saw El on BET recently, I almost fell over. To me, he was my favorite act that night. I haven't stopped down-loading his music and anything written about him. I purchased the "Second Chance" video and 10 of Chico's songs. Nobody can tell me GOD isn't real! I love you El and Chico! I wish you nothing but the best!

xfactor101 said...

I so glad you are on the road to recovery El..I love both you and my baby Chico..God Bless

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