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Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds is a pillar of contemporary R&B. As a producer and songwriter, Babyface’s discography includes hits for powerhouse vocalists like Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Beyonce, Ariana Grande, and Stevie Wonder.

Although Babyface’s career is most often associated with pop hits, he started writing songs in the singer/songwriter tradition, pulling influence from James Taylor and The Beatles.

On today’s episode Justin Richmond talks to Babyface about the childhood crushes he had that continue to inspire his songwriting today. He also plays a song he wrote in high school that he considers one of the best songs he’s ever written. And he reveals how he was on the verge of making new music with Whitney Houston a month before she died.

You can hear a playlist of some of our favorite Babyface songs HERE.

The Hosts

Rick Rubin

In addition to being a podcast host, Frederick Jay “Rick” Rubin is an American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, he is the co-founder…

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is co-founder of Pushkin Industries and host of the hit podcast Revisionist History. He is a journalist, a speaker, and the author of several New York Times bestsellers including The Tipping…

Justin Richmond

Justin Richmond is producer and co-host of the music podcast Broken Record with writer Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times editor Bruce Headlam, and music producer—and Def Jam co-founder—Rick Rubin. Justin…

Bruce Headlam

Bruce Headlam is one of the co-creators of the music podcast Broken Record. He worked at The New York Times for 19 years, including two years running the 50-person Video…