Throwback: Brownstone-Grapevyne


Brownstone was the sum of Nicole “Nicci” Gilbert, Charmayne “Maxee” Maxwell and Monica “Mimi” Doby who met in Los Angeles in 1993 after auditioning at the same places around town. They gave Michael Jackson an in-person performance and he then signed them to his MJJ Records. “Pass The Lovin” was their first single but “If You Love Me” written by Gordon Chambers in 1995 became their calling card to music listeners on urban radio who took to them immediately. The song gained a Grammy nomination and earned them a Billboard Music award. Their initial album From The Bottom Up promptly became a vintage piece of R&B that would go platinum and transcend its time. “Grapevyne” and a cover of The Eagles’ “I Can’t Tell You Why” were the other successful singles from the project. Mimi left the group and was replaced by Kina Cosper just in time for them to start recording their second album Still Climbing. They escaped the typical sophomore slump and made another first-rate record that had a hit with “5 Miles To Empty” and a blazing version of “If You Play Your Cards Right” to top off a completely sturdy effort. Unfortunately they met the same fate as the other vocally superior female R&B groups of the ’90’s En Vogue, Xscape, SWV and Total by disappearing into the where-are-they-now-zone. Nicci Gilbert has guest starred in TV shows Living Single and Martin among others. She had a role in Tyler Perry’s “Meet The Browns” stage show and released a solo album Grown Folks Music independently in 2005. Maxee Maxwell told the media last year that the group was performing around the states with new member Teisha Brown and recording fresh material for a release sometime in 2010.