Did you know that El DeBarge is the sixth of ten children and primarily the lead singer of the family group DeBarge? He sang in the local choir and played piano as a child.
At the age of 19, El impressed Motown CEO and founder Berry Gordy because of his singing and piano playing ability. Gordy signed DeBarge, which initially consisted of El and brothers Mark and Randy. Later, their sister Bunny and brothers James and Bobby would join the group.
El's first professional recording experience was as a background vocalist for Switch's 1979 hit "I Call Your Name." Switch later became a band that would influence the DeBarge sound.
One of DeBarge's most popular songs, "All This Love," was first written by El with Marvin Gaye in mind. Gaye eventually left their shared label and DeBarge ended up recording it themselves. The song went on to peak at No. 1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in 1983.
At the age of 16, El dropped out of high school and began performing with his elder brothers in clubs and venues in Michigan. By this point, El had become a father for the first time. He would later father 11 other children.
El remains the only member both outside of DeBarge and in the family to receive a Grammy Award nomination. The singer received three Grammy nominations — Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Song and Best R&B Album — for his latest album Second Chance.
(Photo: Michael Caulfield/WireImage)