Brian McKnight at 50: “Love What You Do And Do What You Love”

 (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

R&B crooner Brian McKnight gave the world hit after hit during the 1990’s with such love songs as “One Last Cry” and “Anytime.” It was through many of those love songs that McKnight expressed himself and even earned him 16 Grammy Awards nominations with over 14 albums. Now, at age 50, he’s living his best life still singing, crooning and enjoying the love of his life.

In 1990, McKnight’s older brother, Claude McKnight III, and his band, Take 6, signed a record deal with Warner Brothers. This encouraged Brian to shop his own demo tapes and by the age of 19, he signed his first recording deal.

McKnight signed with Motown in 1998 and released the Christmas album Bethlehem, the first of five albums he released on Motown. In 1999, McKnight released Back at One, his most successful album to date, which eventually went on to sell over 3 million copies. McKnight plays eight instruments including piano, guitar, percussion, trombone, tuba and has earned 16 Grammy Award nominations.

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“Honestly, the hardest thing to do in this business is to still be around,” confessed McKnight. “When music changes, when labels’ resources have dried up, it becomes harder and harder to continue to make a living at this. I’ve been very fortunate.”

When asked what’s the best advice he would give someone about life, Brian simply replied, “Love what you do and do what you love.” That’s the mantra he tries to live his life by now.

Brian has always loved music and plays eight instruments including piano, guitar, bass guitar, percussion, trombone, tuba, flugelhorn and trumpet. But now Brian has a new love: boxing.

“This year I’ve really decided to get into the best shape of my life,” explains McKnight. “And I’ve gotten there by changing not only what I eat but when I eat and how often, as well as my usual workout routine. The combination has made such a big difference, and I finally feel in the best shape of my life.”

When not touring the world with his sultry voice and classic songs, is actually venturing into the boxing arena. What started as fitness training has turned into a passion of learning the science of the sport, and getting into the training side on the outside of the ring. During an interview, the R&B veteran discussed how he first got into the sport, and how much he really loves the science of the sport.

“There’s footwork, rhythm, cadence, there’s even dancing involved.  It’s really a science.  But once you learn it and it clicks, it’s something that you want to do every day,” McKnight explains.

Here’s one at-home workout that middleweights like McKnight use:

Stance – Leading with your nondominant leg, position your feet shoulder-width apart, with the toe of your dominant foot in line with the heel of your nondominant foot. Your head extends over your shoulders, and your shoulders over your hips. Your knees are slightly bent.