Blu Cantrell (born Tiffany Cobb, March 16, 1976, Providence, Rhode Island) is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter.
Cantrell's father is African American with Narragansett Indian and Cape Verdean descent. Her mother is of French-Canadian, Italian, Cherokee, and German descent.
Debut album: So Blu (2001?2003)
After several demos, recordings, and singing backup for artists such as Puff Daddy, Cantrell was discovered by Red Zone Entertainment heads Tricky, Tab and Laney Stewart in early 2001. She also did collaborations with Babyface, Usher, Dionne Warwick, will.i.am, Fat Joe, Lil Kim, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and jazz legend Herbie Hancock. The producers promptly placed her to Antonio "L.A." Reid who offered the singer a contract with his label Arista Records after hearing one song she wrote and sung in front of him and his staff. After a bidding war with five different labels, Arista bid the highest, Blu said "Since she was a little girl she always dreamed of being on Arista records." Afterwards Cantrell went straight into recording sessions with Dallas Austin and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. In 2001, her debut album, So Blu, was released. The record saw major success when it peaked at number eight on the Billboard 200 chart, eventually going gold in the United States. The album featured the hit single "Hit 'em Up Style (Oops!)", which peaked at number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 also became the number one most added record to radio in the country breaking Elvis's record of most played on all genres of radio and earned Cantrell two Grammy Award nominations for Best R&B Single of the Year as well as an American Music Award nomination for Favorite Soul/R&B New Artist, both in 2002.
In 2003, Cantrell released her second album, Bittersweet, which peaked at #37 on the Billboard 200. The success of 'Bittersweet' was much greater worldwide than in the U.S. due to the number one single 'Breathe' climb to the top of the charts. The song became number one without the support of any major radio syndication and eventually was added to major rotation after it had already become independently worldwide. The record earned Cantrell a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Album and entered the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart at number eight. The album produced two hit singles, these being "Breathe" and "Make Me Wanna Scream", the former being a collaboration with Sean Paul. "Breathe" peaked at number one for four weeks in the United Kingdom and broke Madonna's song "Lucky Star" single for most played on radio. It eventually became one of the most successful singles of the year in both Europe, Australia, South Africa, Germany and several other countries worldwide. That same year, Cantrell was to appear in Playboy magazine, but decided against it at the last minute because "I felt it was going to make me more of a sex symbol and I didn't want anything to take away from the fact that I can sing".
Additional writing and performance
Cantrell also wrote and sang the song "It's Killing Me" for the love scene in the movie Bad Company (2002). She also appeared in the movie Drumline, singing the American national anthem live on camera. In 2004 she wrote and sang the theme music for the UK show Sisters.
In 2008 Cantrell appeared in NBC's Celebrity Circus. The first episode aired with a ninety-minute kick-off special on June 11.
In 2009, Cantrell began recording material for a new album, to be released on her independent Baby Blu Music label.
Blu Cantrell is set to make her acting debut in the upcoming film, Burden (2010). The film will be directed as well as written by James P. Lay. Currently the film is set for 2010 release.