Rodney Jerkins grew up in a very religious family where he was not even aloud to listen to pop / mainstream music. Not to say that music was not in their lives at all, it was a tradition in the Jerkins family to learn classical piano and Rodney did so from the age of 5.
Rodney used to do all he could so that he could listen to urban music and grew to be inspired by mega producer Teddy Riley. Fred Jerkins (his brother) had a drum machine, Rodney used to sneak into his room so he could have a play about. He soon started mimicking Teddy Rileys sound (Of which you can here in his early music i.e. Dont Wanna Be a Player). He started producing tracks for local talents and eventually recorded a urban gospel album with his brother Freddie called On the move.
Rodney asked his parents to take him to one of Teddy Rileys studio to try and meet him, his parents did not think there was a chance but took him anyway. When they got there Teddy came rolling along in his car and Rodney ran up to him. His bodyguards grabbed hold of Rodney, but Teddy told them to get off him as he was just a kid. Teddy took Rodney & his parents into his studios and showed them around.
Teddy became a mentor for Rodney and eventually offered him a deal with his record company. Rodney had a think about this and decided if Teddy Riley wanted to sign him now, what were people going to think in a couple of years when he created the Darkchild sound.
Rodney did his first professional work for an act called Casserine on a track called If youre ready the first single off the album and then another track called Unconditional Love. He then went on to produce other acts that were not huge hits like Brownstone, Simone Hines, Gina Thompson, One Accord & Shaquille ONeill. His first big hit break was working on a few tracks for Mary J Bliges Share my world album.
Rodneys career took a turning point when he was asked to produce the majority of Brandys new album. This was the biggest project he had been on & what made it worse was the fact that Brandy was extremely nervous about coming back into the limelight since it had been so long since her last album. They started working on some tracks and Rodney came up with the song The Boy Is Mine. Rodney then said to Brandy that this would sound hot as a duet. Monica was then put on the track.
When the track was released it shot to the top of the charts internationally and was the summer hit of 1998. With this hit under the belt he approached Whitney Houston, someone he had always wanted to work with. He kept sending Demos to Clive Davis (Head of Arista at the time) and eventually gave in. He got 4 tracks on the My Love Is Your Love album.
Rodney became the most in demand producer in the business at that time spinning out hits for Toni Braxton, Destinys Child, Jennifer Lopez, but his next big break was about to come.
Rodney got a call from Michael Jackson, the person he has idolized since a child in about 1998 to work on his come back album. He originally went to Michael with some tracks he had penned that were a similar style to his tracks that were out at that time like The boy is mine. Michael explained to him that he wanted a new sound from him and they continued to work with each other for the next three years. The album was pushed back several times. There were a lot of rumours surrounding that album that Rodney had been fired because one of the members of the team had leaked some his tracks to prove he was working with Michael (Which were never confirmed). When it was finally released in 2001 the album wasnt as much of a success as anticipated due to Michaels issues with Sony, but still sold millions.
Rodney had a lot of hits that year and also worked on a new multimillion selling album for Britney spears. After this project Rodney was asked to produce the majority of Brandys third album Full Moon. Rodney is very aware that is the music business you have to be a leader and not a follower. Knowing his sound was very well established, he decided to create a new sound and launch it on Brandys new project. The sound was called Knock on, knock off the first track to get this working was What about us. The sound was based on random electronic beats that makes the track sound likes it has been reversed. It was a completely new sound that had a mixed reaction from the public and was not used for many artists. The most obvious ones were Deborah Coxs Like I did & Toni Braxtons Whatchu Need.
Nearing the end of 2002 you were not hearing as many Darkchild tracks on the radio and were not appearing on as many albums, because Rodney was up to two things first one, working on promoting new artists rather than established ones and secondly he had signed a deal with Cash / Money. Although nothing was ever released under this label, they worked on a few projects together. They worked on former N-Toon members album Lloyd on two tracks Trance & She wants to be with me. They worked on an artist called Gloria Velez, they worked on the Blaque project, they worked on a project for new artist Lil Zal and finally they worked with Fats a rapper that was with Rodney for years and was released
Rodney was focusing on soundtracks for films which can be heard on the soundtrack for Honey, he did the theme for Scary Movie 3 worked on a new film called My Babys Father. Rodney has always said that he would like to get into producing films and I think this is his way of stepping into it.
Rodney made his big come back with Destinys Child's Lose My Breath. That song was an international hit, one of his biggest singles ever.
Darkchild is back and has a new label. Darkchild Records will now be distributed though Bungalow / Universal and has new artists signed to him. There is Atiba who is a reggea artist with a similar style to Sean Paul, there is Asia Lee a young female rapper, there is Anesha Burchett a young urban gospel singer, there is Shamari Fears former lead singer of Blaque & finally the beautiful Joy Enriquez his wife.
Rodney has also just released his instrumental album Versatility. Which features Atiba & has Michael Jackson vocals.The plan is for people to record their versions of his tracks and send them in to enter a competition. There is rumours the winner may get signed to Darkchild Records.
Rodney Jerkins has accomplished so much in so little time at a very young age. Some of his music is timeless and has worked with the very best in the industry. Whether it be in music or film you havent heard the last of Rodney Jerkins.