As one of the founding members of the R&B mega-group, New Edition, and its offshoot Bell Biv Devoe, Michael Lamont Bivins, better known as Mike Bivins, is known, most notably, for being the business minded entrepreneur of the groups. Having already discovered or managed a number of acts including, Another Bad Creation, 702, and the most successful R&B male vocal group of all time, Boyz II Men (who alone have sold more than 60 million records), Mr. Bivins has and continues to open doors for people to enjoy a career in entertainment.
“I’m just the laid back guy that’s in my own lane, just trying to do what I do and not try to be like anybody else,” explains the 53-year-old Bivins. “I understand what it is, and I wait my turn. So, I’m just the laid back guy. I’m like the animal, the lion on Discovery Channel. I’m just chilling ’til it’s time for me to get my prey, time for me to go to work. I just play life simple, man. I’m laid back, and that’s the best way to describe me: just laid back.”
“Within New Edition, and of course Bell Biv Devoe, my goal was to make sure that the beat feels good to the soul,” continues Bivins. “So, New Edition in Orchard Park housing projects where we grew up, to me, comes from the rhythm of the soul to the streets of Orchard Park. The things that was blaring out the car systems.”
Riding high on the success of the 1988 New Edition release, “N.E. Heartbreak,” members Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill took a hiatus from the group to pursue solo careers. The remaining three members were left alone on their own, and at the suggestion of legendary producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who produced “N.E. Heartbreak,” Biv and fellow New Edition members Ronnie Devoe and Ricky Bell formed Bell Biv Devoe. Originally, the group called themselves “Bell Bivins Devoe. It was Biv’s idea to shorten his own name to make it more trendy.
In 1990, their debut album, Poison, produced by up and coming producers at the time, Spyderman and Dr. Freeze, was a fusion of R&B, Hip-Hop and Pop–and became an instant hit. It was a brand they called, “hip-hop, smoothed out on the R&B tip with a pop feel, appeal to it.” The title track became a number one single on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The title track and it’s follow up, Do Me!, both reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album went on to sell over 3 million copies and spawn a remix album that was also a success.
Bivens didn’t just help to pioneer the brand for the group, he also helped to pioneer the “look” for the early ‘90’s, His trendy style which continued for the next six years, became popular among his groups and across the recording industry. It was right at this time that one of his big successes came literally knocking after one of his shows.
When it comes to finding talent, Biv says “it’s not always about finding the best singers, dancers, or rappers.” Sometimes,…