Tevin Campbell Claps Back At Usher Over ‘Can We Talk’ Claim?

Published: Thursday 9th Mar 2017 by David

Tevin Campbell has something to say about Usher’s claim that the hit single ‘Can We Talk’ was originally penned for him.

Released in 1993, the number peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and pushed sales of Campbell’s ‘I’m Ready’ album far over the 2 million copies sold milestone.

How he feels about Usher’s claim that the song wasn’t really his?

Find out below…

Alllllllllrighty then

A post shared by Tevin Campbell (@therealtevincampbell) on

When I first signed to LaFace Records, I wanted to do an album with Babyface and LA Reid, right? I signed specifically for that reason. So LA Reid wanted Babyface to work on me and they were going through, you know, a lot of drama at the time. They were kinda severing their ties…he got mad…And he built an entire album for me, and he gave the whole album to somebody else…Tevin Campbell! ‘Can We Talk’…was my song…’


Your thoughts?

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  1. Coolnesss March 9, 2017

    I listened the full interview he did with Questlove and he never stated that losing ‘Can We Talk’ to Tevin was a regret. However, he did mention that he felt some type of way about the loss being as result of LA and Babyface’s fallout but is really cool with the latter now (and has been for years). Usher ended up having numerous classics and WAY more success than Tevin. I doubt he’s pressed over ONE song the way people made him seem online.

    Tevin’s vocal performance on ‘Ready’ is what made it an instant classic. He was like the vocal lovechild of Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston. I don’t think Usher’s voice at 16 was developed enough to make Can We Talk the classic that it is today. Puberty made him lose his voice while recording his debut. He would later on get back on track vocally in his 20s with the My Way album.

    I was surprised to see people discredit Usher as a vocalist. The man CAN SING and I’ve seen him do just that live without all the extra bells and whistles. His tone is still golden and his range has expanded. I guess his amazing dance ability, stage presence and s** appeal have led people to discount his vocal ability. He’s not Chris Brown or Trey Songz.

    • Fancy BISH March 9, 2017

      “He was like the vocal lovechild of Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston.” -Coolnesss

    • LISA LEVINE March 9, 2017

      Tevin Campbell’s hits
      1. Can we talk
      2. I’m ready
      3. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
      4. Always in my heart
      5. Round and round
      6. Tomorrow

      the kid was truly underrated. Such classics

    • Lake Erie March 9, 2017

      RIGHT!!!!!! I do not know where people get off thinking Usher isn’t cold with the vocals. AND I LOVE his ‘My Way” album. This comment is on the nail!!!! You know your music, that’s for sure.

    • Mark111 /.\ March 9, 2017

      Usher was 17 when My Way dropped. I can hear Usher doing Can We Talk at that time, but it would’ve been a very different song. It worked for Tevin because he had a sweet/shy image at the time. I don’t think it would’ve even made the cut for Usher because his image was very “ready” and smooth at a young age.

      • Coolness March 9, 2017

        Usher was 19 not 17 when My Way dropped. I think the reason why Usher made such a smooth transition from teen artist to adult star was because he was already making more mature music. He may not have enjoyed the crossover success his other then-teenaged peers such as Tevin, Aaliyah, Monica & Brandy had but he experienced the biggest peak out of all them as an adult. Well, except for Aaliyah because she sadly passed away before she could really blow up.

    • Chile Please!!! March 9, 2017

      Yes Tevin was a force not to be reckoned with back in the day. For him to be so young at the time he had so much control & maturity in his voice. His runs were perfect & he hit those high notes effortless (listen to “Tell Me” he rips).

    • angel March 13, 2017

      Coolnesss PLEASE get your facts right before you comment!!!! User was only 13 years old in 1993 and his voice sounded prefect on just call me mack in 1993 – and would have suited can we talk perfectly…but yes Tevin did his thing on that tune and it was perfect for him

  2. #ispeakfacts March 9, 2017

    Thank goodness he didn’t get it bcuz Usher could never sing the he’ll outta that song like Tevin could…

  3. LmfaoHoe March 9, 2017

    When I first heard about this I was literally like well it went to the right artist. no hate to my boy Usher, but vocally he was no match for Tevin in the 90s. I wish Tevin had kept making albums though smh.

    • Chile Please!!! March 9, 2017

      Okay, he was like the male version of Whitney!

      • Linear March 9, 2017

        In more ways than one…

  4. Vandrea March 9, 2017

    Tevin Campbell could sing, yes, but his voice was annoying. It was high pitched, erratic and pesky. His adlibs and runs were obnoxious. Usher’s voice wasn’t technically as good as Tevin, but was calmer and easier to listen to.

    • Truth March 9, 2017

      Tevin didn’t know how to temper his vocals. When he got too excited or into it, he would start to scream and show out. I remember him on stage with a bunch of other male R&B singers at the AMA singing “You Will Know” from Jason’s Lyric. Tevin was standing next to El Debarge and when Tevin’s part came up, he was so OTT that a startled El just looked at him like “calm down!” Sometimes the more “technical” singer isn’t the most sonically appeasing.

      • Chile Please!!! March 9, 2017

        People kill me trying to be low budget fake ozz vocal coaches! I don’t know who you’ve been listening to but you’re absolutely WRONG! That is a gift to be able to have range & do runs. You probably can’t sing & if you CAN you probably can’t do half the things Tevin did with his voice. You’re just another hater!

      • musicman2017 July 28, 2017

        u dont know what u are talkin about.Tevin Campbell will take a lot of his peers and some older legends to vocal school. to even mention usher in the same sentence as Tevin is an insult. Usher can sing and does so better than chris brown and a lot of these new untalented nitwits but Tevin campbell is vocally supreme next to usher. This is a guy quincy jones personally groomed only after Michael.

    • Anne March 9, 2017

      Speak for yourself. His voice may have annoyed YOU but that doesn’t mean it was annoying in general. I like his voice and never found it annoying. He was one of the top recent (post 90s) R&B vocalists in my opinion.

      • LDC March 9, 2017

        How is he “post-90s?” Tevin Campbell hasn’t put anything out since the 90s.

  5. Jamon March 9, 2017

    He never said anything bad about Tevin, or did he say he stole his song. Usher can sing his ass off. He’s proven his vocal abilities numerous of times. Those doubting it should listen to his song “Climax”.

    • Chile Please!!! March 9, 2017

      Climax?? Really??? With that annoying ozz falsetto throughout the WHOLE song? I mean really? That’s the only song you can think off? Listen to “Superstar” now we’re talking about Usher SANGIN!

      • Jamon March 9, 2017

        Just like you gave your opinion, I gave mine. To each is own!!

  6. Erica March 9, 2017

    So what was tevin clapback? Alrighty then?

  7. Mark111 /.\ March 9, 2017

    I always thought early Usher was aimed to be a Tevin, but with street cred, except Usher’s voice changed very young. Think I’m wrong? play Call Me A Mack.
    My thing with Tevin, he fell victim of being young and then rushing to sound and look at as a full adult. He was the same age (maybe a few years older) as aaliyah, Usher, Brandy, Monica and the rest, yet his image was very bubblegum, he went from kiddie to full adlut while the others played the teen with grown voices marketing. He name is never brought up when mentioning the teen R&B movement of the 90s. Sad because his voice was amazing. Usher with Babyface would have been like every other BF production, working with JD was the best choice (working with Puffy was a horrible choice.)

    • MsThing485 March 9, 2017

      Tevin DID play the “teen” card. He just couldn’t pull off the ’round-the-way “street” teen, who made Hip Hop tinged R&B, danced and wore the latest fashions, because – frankly – Tevin was kind of dorky. Tevin’s image was basically of a super clean cut Mama’s boy, who hung out at the library after school.

      Furthermore, Tevin happened during an awkward time. He was a few years younger than, and after, the Tracie Spencer/Shanice/Hi-Five R&B teen scene of the very early 90s…and a few years older than, and before, the Aaliyah/Usher/Brandy/Monica scene of the middle 90s. Yeah, he was around at the tail end of the former and tail beginning of the latter, but none of them were really his “classmates,” so he didn’t really belong to any dominate “scene” that could dictate his style.

      • Mark111 March 9, 2017

        That what I was trying to say, but you put it in much better words. I know for a fact his drug and gay scandle ruined his career, but I find it interesting that he’s never mentioned in that group of artists. Like you said, he was in a weird spot, but he was more commercial than the others, he was on The Fresh Prince and on A Goofy Movie soundtrack.

  8. Linear March 9, 2017

    People are so fake with this Tevin Campbell appreciation. You know so good and f****** well that if this hasbeen junkie were put out a single tomorrow, everyone praising his voice and acting like he was some kind of vocal champ wouldn’t buy it. So disingenuous. CWT is a boring and dated sounding song that is now totally fake, since we now know that ol’ Tev was only interested in the girl because he probably thought her daddy was cute. Usher didn’t miss much.

  9. Stephy March 9, 2017

    Well, niether of them own the song. So technically, the song doesn’t belong to either one of them.

  10. ItsWNow at youfr best game way tuesidnz March 11, 2017

    No need to make a big deal about the song and it’s not that damn deep serious

  11. Fake loooove March 11, 2017

    Tevin Campbell is great. But to say he was the male version of Whitney Houston? I think not. That title belongs to Joshua Crenshaw. Usher you lost me with that Hard to love album. It wasn’t bad, but it was good either. Tevin, Come back to the world!!!! We miss you! Well I do. And I can’t wait for the new Joshua album🎤🎤🎤🎤

  12. Iseethrough October 29, 2017

    That song would not have had the same success had it been recorded by Usher!! Although he is a truly talented artist and performer, everything is not for everybody, just because one can does not necessarily mean one should…

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