You cannot talk about New Edition without mentioning Ralph Tresvant. He may not have been a founding member, but for a long time, he was the lead singer who was loyal enough to turn down a solo career opportunity for the sake of his group members. That spirit of brotherhood has him looking forward to them reuniting and recording another album, maybe because Ralph Tresvant’s net worth stems mainly from his time with New Edition. Although he has taken up other jobs, such as hosting a radio show and playing small movie roles, his musical career is the primary source of his wealth, as detailed below.
Joining New Edition
Tresvant was a premature baby born to Patricia and Hall. He grew up in the projects where he loved listening to Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson and watching karate films. Despite Tresvant’s interest in music, he never thought it would transition into a career. According to Angelfire, his parents insisted on him staying in school, and he wanted to make them proud. However, destiny had other ideas, and it came in the form of New Edition. In 1978, Ricky Bell, Bobby Brown, and Michael Bivins were only ten years old when they decided to form a boy group. They later added two of their friends, but the friends left, leaving room for Tresvant to join the group. Bell suggested adding Tresvant since the two were already friends and had been singing in the group “Ricky and Ralph.” The four boys performed at talent shows and became the neighborhood attraction. Although teenagers were in rap, R&B, or dance groups, New Edition stood out from the rest because they took their act seriously and constantly rehearsed. However, Tresvant always prioritized his education and preferred being at home while his friends secretly entered competitions. Their hard work bore fruits when Maurice Starr noticed them during a talent show. According to Boston Magazine, New Edition performed a Jackson 5 medley at the Strand Theater. The winner would get a recording, but the group came in second. Still, Starr had always wanted an all-male group like The Jackson 5 thus saw an opportunity in New Edition; all that was missing was one more boy. The teenagers already had a choreographer, Brooke Payne. Starr added Payne’s nephew, Ronnie DeVoe, and signed the group to his Streetwise Records label, becoming their producer and songwriter.
Before Starr signed the boys, he told Tresvant that his voice was strong enough for the singer to go solo. However, Tresvant declined the offer, agreeing to sign if Starr signed the other members. In 1983, the group released their debut single, “Candy Girl,” from their debut album titled the same. It peaked at No.1 on Hot Black Singles and the UK Singles Chart. Unfortunately, their success did not translate to financial prosperity because, after their first major concert tour, Starr gave each one a check for $1.87. According to Black Music Scholar, he explained that there were heavy deductions and expenses. As a result, the boys fired Starr as their producer and Payne as their manager. Financial woes continued even after signing with MCA Records since they discovered they were signed to Jump and Shoot. They each borrowed $100,000 to get out of the deal. Thus, for a while, no matter how hard Tresvant and his colleagues worked, the money went to settling the debt. Their fifth studio album, “Heartbreak,” sold over two million copies, and by 1990, the other members had launched their successful solo careers, and Tresvant felt pressured to do the same. As the lead singer, he should have been the first to go solo, but he was the last one. Thus, Tresvant released his debut album “Ralph Tresvant” in 1990. By the time Tresvant launched his solo career, he had already made millions from being the lead singer of New Addition. Featured Biography reports that the “New Edition” album earned the musician $2 million. He received $1.5 million from “All for Love” and $4 million for “Heartbreak” album sales. “One Love” earned him $2.1 million, and his double platinum-certified debut album sold two million copies; thus, raking in over $1 million.
He Could Be Worth Much More
For a musician who started his career in the early 1980s, you expect that Tresvant’s net worth to be more than $8 million. Bivins is worth $40 million, while DeVoe and Bell each have a net worth of $15 million. Even The Boombox wondered why Tresvant was not the biggest star of the boy group, and one of the reasons is that he delayed releasing his own album. The lead singer had already turned down an offer to pursue a solo career which would have sent him on a meteoric rise. The evidence is how fast Brown, the first member to go solo, rose on his own. Worse still, Tresvant had to shelve his solo album to focus on “Heartbreak.” Since the singer had worked with the producers who ended up recording New Edition’s album, some people wonder if the songs were meant to be in Tresvant’s album but wound up on “Heartbreak.” There is also the claim that Tresvant secretly recorded vocals for Brown’s “Every Little Step.” According to Bobby’s ex-manager, Tresvant sang some of the lead parts of the song because Brown was on a drug run. Babyface and L.A. Reid became impatient, leading to Tresvant stepping in to finish recording on Brown’s behalf. If Brown did not show his appreciation by cutting a deal with Tresvant since the song was gold-certified, the lead singer lost out on another way to increase his net worth. Luckily, Tresvant does not dwell in the past; he is looking forward to returning to the music scene now that his children have moved out. Even if New Edition reunites, he still wants to have his lane wide open and active.
Written by Allen Lee
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