*Multiple Grammy Award-winning musician, composer, and songwriter/producer Bernard Belle died Thursday, June 23, at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital in Georgia, at the age of 57. Belle’s official cause of death was due to congestive heart failure, according to his sister and primary caretaker, Regina Belle, a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, who posted on her Facebook Page, “The smartest part of me has passed on. My brother, Bernard Belle was brilliant. Bernie, please help me to shine from heaven. I love you.”
Born November 12, 1964, to the late Judge Belle and his mother, Lois Belle, who now resides in Atlanta, Bernard Belle was born and raised in his hometown of Englewood, and the neighboring town of Teaneck, New Jersey.
During the past seven years, Bernard had suffered from two strokes, and was later moved from Englewood, New Jersey to Signature HealthCARE of Buckhead, where he could be close to his parents, daughter Asia Milner, and sister, Regina.
A world-class musician and songwriter/producer for multiple award-winning pop, R&B and gospel recording artists, including the late Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, Bernard received his first career break in the 1980s, when Regina, who was performing as a background vocalist for the legendary R&B group, The Manhattans, recommended him to join the group as the bassist.
A multi-instrumentalist (pianist, bassist, guitarist, drummer and vocalist), Bernard later became one of Black Music’s most gifted and prolific creators; penning hits for Michael Jackson such as “Remember the Time” “Privacy,” and “Why You Wanna Trip on Me.” He also produced records for Whitney Houston, Aaron Hall, Keith Sweat, and Al B. Sure! and Today, among numerous others.
During his nearly 40-year career, Bernard partnered with producer Teddy Riley, and together they established footprints and became pioneers of the New Jack Swing era and produced songs for Guy and others.
Some of Bernard Belle’s other credits include Boy George’s “You Found Another Guy” (composer); Regina Belle’s “Baby Come To Me” (composer); “I Gotch U” (composer), “Johnny’s Back,” (composer and producer); along with Regina Belle’s gospel hits “God Is Good,” and “Good to Be Loved” (composer); Guy’s “Let’s Chill,” and “Long Gone” (composer and producer); Hi-Five’s “I Just Can’t Handle It,” and “I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)”; The Winans’ “It’s Time” and “A Friend” (producer and composer); Bobby Brown’s “Get Away,” “Two Can Play That Game,” “One More Night,” and “Something in Common,” a duet with Whitney Houston” (composer and backing vocalist); Patti LaBelle’s “If By Chance” (composer); Glenn Jones’ “I’ve Been Searchin’,” and “In You” (composer and producer); Jaheim’s “The Chosen One” and “Everytime I Think About Her” (writer and producer) and many more.
Bernard has received multiple Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, Billboard Awards, Stellar Gospel Music Awards, and ASCAP and BMI Awards for his music as a songwriter and producer.
In 1994, he re-dedicated his life to Christ. He was also one of the most sought-after musicians and producers in Gospel Music. Under the musical direction of Ray Chew, he was a recurring bassist on BET’s Gospel shows, Sunday Best and the Celebration of Gospel. He also performed with Gospel legends Donnie McClurkin, Shirley Caesar, Richard Smallwood, John P. Kee, Marvin Sapp, Fred Hammond, Yolanda Adams, Tye Tribbett, Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin, Donald Lawrence, Smokie Norful, Hezekiah Walker, and BeBe & CeCe Winans.
While at the rehabilitation center, Bernard finished a series of online seminary courses and received his certification from Bradley Bible College. He was also honored by the facility for being a model patient. The Belle family would like to thank the caregivers of Signature HealthCARE for their service and commitment to Bernard during his time of need.
Bernard Belle has five children Asia Milner of Atlanta, GA; Jahmel Belle of Charlotte, NC; and his identical twin sons Tyrone Belle of Houston, TX, and Tyrell Belle of Englewood, NJ; and Ny’Jeana Belle of Charleston, SC; and his mother, Lois Belle of Atlanta, GA; his sister Regina Belle; and brother-in-law, Bishop John Battle, and a host of grandchildren.