Brownstone is an American female contemporary R&B group that was popular during the mid-1990s. They are best known for their 1995 hit single "If You Love Me," which was nominated for a Best R&B Performance Grammy Award. "Grapevyne" and "Pass the Lovin'" also brought them some success, as well as their rendition of "I Can't Tell You Why," a song originally recorded by The Eagles.
The three original members of Brownstone were Monica "Mimi" Doby, Charmayne "Maxee" Maxwell and Nichole "Nicci" Gilbert. Founded in Los Angeles, the singers met each other after attending various auditions around the city. They formed the group and were signed to Michael Jackson's MJJ Music record label less than a year later. The group soon recorded its debut album From the Bottom Up, which spawned the hit single "If You Love Me." In 1995, the group earned a Grammy Award nomination and a Billboard Music Award.
After extensive touring around the globe, Doby left the group for health reasons; in an interview with BET Video Soul host Donnie Simpson, the problem was cited as bronchitis. The cause of her split from the group was later said (in radio interviews) to be internal strife with the other two members. She was replaced by Kina Cosper of Detroit, and, after a difficult transition period, Brownstone made a brief showing with the single "5 Miles to Empty", and new album "Still Climbing".
The members of Brownstone are now engaged in varying pursuits. Doby left the music business altogether and became a teacher. Gilbert released a solo album and is currently producing Soul Kittens Cabaret, as well as a possible new Brownstone album. Maxwell had a sporadic career in Europe as a recording artist. As the group failed to match its previous successes, Kina decided to leave the band to pursue a solo career. Kina Cosper was replaced by Kymberli Wright. Wright is now the lead singer of the all-female Grammy-winning jazz group "Straight Ahead" and is recording and touring live with a host of dance/electronic dance producers. Cosper released a self-titled solo album and is currently working on a second album.
Brownstone attempted a comeback in 2007, which included new member Racquel Roberts (an international performing artist with theater credits in Hairspray, Rent and The Lion King. They performed in Los Angeles, New York City, and Atlanta.
In 2013, Gilbert announced that Brownstone was reuniting for a new album and tour.