Al B. Sure! is the voice behind the cable network’s new show Unsung that takes music fans down memory lane, behind-the-scenes, at the stories behind some celebrated stars with tragic stories.

Beginning Thanksgiving night and airing on four consecutive nights starting Sunday, Nov. 30, TV One will premiere the series of one-hour biography specials that celebrate the lives and careers of four of those accomplished artists or groups who deserved – but didn’t make – the transition to superstardom.

The first episode explores the rise and fall of DeBarge, the family supergroup of the ‘80s that was poised to take the music industry baton from the Jackson 5. Sure, who worked with El DeBarge on the Quincy Jones track “Secret Garden” considered this particular story as close to home.

“I think the most important thing was the validity of the story. I think they nailed it on the head in terms of sticking to the truth,” Sure said. “The only thing that I would have a problem with is if the story was inaccurate. They were pretty much accurate and sticking to the story and talking to the family and getting it straight from the horses mouth.”

Sure explained that he was able to see some of the footage gathered by the show’s producers. He said that it was something that was really close to home in regard to being passionate about music and dealing with the industry – “as a big monster.” That connection and that fact that he’d only be a part of the project if it was an honest portrayal, and he guaranteed that there were no “inside sources” involved in the Unsung episodes.

This is actually the family and friends and the artists themselves speaking on behalf of what their story is so that you have an accurate description of what transpired,” he said. “This particular series is the exception to the rule. ‘Unsung’ can now be that catapulting step that will depict the truth and let you walk through that journey with them about how it all went down. The most surprising thing that I learned was that when Motown signed the whole DeBarge family, it was almost a business transaction to transgress out of the Jacksons into the DeBarges.”

Sure agreed that Motown saw DeBarge as being potentially bigger than the Jacksons in part because of their look.

The record labels were looking for that crossover potential to bring the urban to the mainstream by the light-skinned thing. When you think about it, it was ridiculous. At the same time, marketers would do anything to market their artist and they were trying to be ahead of the game,” he reported.

Following behind older brothers, Bobby and Tommy who led the R&B group Switch, the group, made up of younger siblings El, Bunny, Mark, Randy, and James, became one of the most popular groups on the label’s roster. Unfortunately for the talented fivesome, they also followed in their older brothers’ footsteps and got mixed up in drugs – with the exception of El, who took the lead in the group, and drugs played a major part in the group’s eventual downfall. On the other hand, as recent news reports have informed, El also succumbed to drugs as well and is currently serving time behind bars

The series also takes a look at the story of legendary soul man Donny Hathaway, powerhouse Phyllis Hyman, and gospel stars The Clark Sisters.

It’s more of an interesting play for me because it was learning the facts about things that you’ve heard in the past, but also learning about these iconic lives that either were gone much too soon or are still going through things,” Sure said. “To me there’s a fine line between genius and crazy and sometimes you don’t know which way it will steer you.”

I was thrilled. It was an honor for me to try to interpolate the producer’s vision, specifically with the Donny Hathaway piece; it’s just absolutely brilliant,” Sure said. “So just understanding the story and just going through, as the vocalist, you somewhat get lost in the story and you become part of the story. That’s what I tried to do in terms of doing the voice over. To just become the narrator of those feelings that are being portrayed on the screen. Hopefully I did my job.”

Unsung debuts Thursday, Thanksgiving night on TV One at 7 pm ET. Meanwhile, Al B. Sure is working a number of jobs including his #1 urban AC radio show in Los Angeles and his HD Radio show “Slow Jams.” The ‘80s R&B star – who secured his own hits like “Nite & Day” and as a writer and producer, introduced the group Jodeci and singers Tevin Campbell, Faith Evans, Dave Hollister, Case, and Usher to the music scene – Sure is also involved in a few ventures with a large holding company that is developing a major resort in Mexico at the tip of the Sea of Cortez, a new album called “Honey, I’m Home” and is working on his autobiography From Mt. Vernon to the Moon and Back.

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