Born and raised in Monroe, NC (where he was the fifth of nine children), Richardson had a very musical upbringing -- one that included a steady diet of R&B and African-American gospel. Richardson's mother led a local gospel group called the Willing Wonders, and he sang with them consistently. When he wasn't listening to gospel, Richardson listened to secular soul and funk -- and his favorites included Bobby Womack, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Donny Hathaway, and the Gap Band. Richardson, in fact, has cited all of those artists as early influences. North Carolina's gospel circuit is where, as a kid, Richardson met longtime friends Cedric "K-Ci" Hailey and his brother Joel "JoJo" Hailey, who went on to achieve urban contemporary stardom in the early '90s as members of the vocal group Jodeci; subsequently, the siblings recorded for MCA as the duo K-Ci & JoJo.
When Jodeci hit big, their success inspired Richardson to form his own urban contemporary vocal group, Undacova (whose song "Love Slave" appeared on the New Jersey Drive soundtrack in 1995). Undacova (as opposed to Undacover) didn't last long, and Richardson went on to become a full-time solo artist. His first solo album, Country Boy, was released on Uptown/Universal in 1999; after that, he switched to Hollywood Records and recorded his second solo album, 2:35 PM, which came out in 2003. Richardson switched to Shanachie Records for his next three albums: 2003's When Love Comes; the 2009 tribute album Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack; and his 2010 effort, America's Most Wanted. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi