An L.A. native whose self-titled debut album quickly propelled him to the top of the charts, smooth-voiced R&B crooner Tyrese (born Tyrese Gibson) immediately stood out from the pack, thanks to the remarkable honesty of his songwriting, his alluring passion, and his self-assured style behind the microphone. It was at the age of 14 that a series of wins on the local talent circuit gave the up-and-coming singer his first enticing taste of success, with a Coca Cola commercial providing the breakthrough that would soon propel him to release his eponymous debut album in 1998. Of course, anyone who happened to catch Tyrese's Coca Cola commercial couldn't help but notice the singing sensation's undeniable screen presence. After making his acting debut with a small role in acclaimed filmmaker Julie Dash's made-for-television drama Love Song, the singer-turned-actor jumped headlong into features, as the protagonist of John Singleton's Boyz 'N the Hood follow-up, Baby Boy. Cast as an urban mama's boy whose staunch refusal to leave the nest eventually stifles his transition into adulthood, Tyrese offered just the right mixture of naïveté and street-tough bravado to draw audiences in, while showing notable promise for the future. With two films, a hit album, and a series of television appearances in such series as Martin and Moesha under his belt, Tyrese returned to the music scene for his sophomore effort, 2000 Watts, before jumping into the driver's seat for the 2003 film 2 Fast 2 Furious. The following year Tyrese kept the action moving at a clip with a supporting role in Flight of the Phoenix before opting for more dramatic roles in director Justin Lin's Annapolis and former collaborator John Singleton's family-themed revenge drama Four Brothers. A supporting role in Better Luck Tomorrow director Justin Lin's Navy boxing misfire Annapolis was quickly followed by another headline performance as an ex-convict struggling to get his son back after his vehicle is carjacked with the boy still inside in the 2006 action thriller Waist Deep.
Biography by Jason Buchanan
- Began singing at the age of 14 and released his self-titled debut album at 19.
- At the age of 16, landed his breakout gig in a Coke commercial despite arriving more than two hours late for the audition.
- Modeled for Guess? and Tommy Hilfiger.
- Made his film debut in John Singleton's Baby Boy (2001); he landed the starring role that was originally intended for the late Tupac Shakur.
- Founded the Watts Foundation, which raises money to build youth centers in the neighborhood where he grew up.
- Launched his own multimedia company, HeadQuarter Entertainment, in 2005.
- Published the motivational book How to Get Out of Your Own Way in 2011.