R. Kelly recently opened up to Vibe magazine, detailing why, in 1998, he was prepared to drop everything he had gained in the decade of his music career.
He had just received high praise and huge numbers for his R. album, which would become his highest selling record ever, with eight million albums sold in the United States.
But he told Vibe he was having some issues with his management, and it almost culminated in his leaving the music industry completely.
"I was dealing with serious management problems...I was at that position in that part of my career where I was being threatened to be left by my team," Kelly said.
It was then that the "Trapped in the Closet" singer felt completely raw, bare, vulnerable.
"I was told if I didn't do what I was told to do that I would never sing again...or that I would be blackballed from the music industry," he said. "I was actually believing some of that stuff."
His moment of clarity came, surprisingly, from a Denzel Washington movie. Kelly watched The Hurricane, a film about falsely jailed boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. The story of triumph rejuvenated Kelly's spirit, and he got to work on new music for his albums TP-2.com and The Chocolate Factory.
"I just said, 'you know what? I'm not going nowhere no matter who I'm with. Whatever this gift is, it lives within me."
Now, the singer, (who evaded child pornography charges in 2008,) has gained some consistency in his life. He is currently working on his album Black Panties, set to release this summer. He says that listeners will hear honest, self-reflective songs, especially on his track, Write Me Back.
"I'm not afraid to say I'm wrong, too," he said. "If I hadn't been through it then it's not fair for me to talk about it. That would mean that I don't know what the hell I'm talking about...I have to know what I'm talking about. The research is myself."