A seasoned R&B singer and instrumentalist, Stokley enjoyed nearly a quarter-century of success with the group Mint Condition before he made his debut as a solo artist.
Stokley Williams was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on July 15, 1967. Williams' father was a respected scholar in African studies, and the youngster began learning to play percussion instruments at the age of four. By the early '80s, Williams co-founded Mint Condition with a handful of high school friends, singing lead and playing drums. After years of playing locally, the band landed a break in 1989 when they were discovered by Minneapolis R&B titans Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who saw them playing a local showcase. Impressed by their New Jack Swing style, Jam and Lewis helped Mint Condition score a record deal, and their debut album, 1991's Meant to Be Mint, scored a pair of hit singles, "(Breaking My Heart) Pretty Brown Eyes" and "Forever in Your Eyes," and the group released a steady stream of material from the early '90s well into the 21st century. It didn't take long for Williams to earn a reputation as a versatile talent outside of the group. By 1995, his résumé included vocal and percussion credits on albums by Janet Jackson, Sounds of Blackness, Johnny Gill, and Color Me Badd, and later he'd work with the likes of Prince, Elton John, and Toni Braxton. Williams received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best R&B Performance for his 2011 duet with Kelly Price on the song "Not My Daddy," and he contributed production and vocals to Wale's 2013 album The Gifted, as well as 2015's The Album About Nothing. In 2017, Williams made his long awaited solo debut, billing himself simply as Stokley; the album, Introducing Stokley, was released by Concord in June of that year. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi