Maurice Starr (born Larry Johnson; 1953; DeLand, Florida) is an American musician, songwriter, and record producer. Though trying his hand at a solo career, he's best known for his work creating songs and albums with pop and soul bands such as Con Funk Shun, New Edition, and the New Kids on the Block.
Originally from Lake Helen, Florida, Johnson moved to Boston, Massachusetts, in the early 1970s. As an artist, Johnson was a member of The Johnson Brothers (not to be confused with The Brothers Johnson from Los Angeles, California) and the seminal electro group known as the Jonzun Crew with brothers Michael Jonzun and Soni Jonzun. In 1980, Johnson changed his name to Maurice Starr and recorded two R&B albums, Flaming Starr and Spacey Lady. Unsuccessful as a solo artist, Starr decided to create a band to perform the songs that he wrote.
In 1982, Starr discovered the band New Edition on his talent show. The group produced a number of U.S. Top 10 R&B hit singles and a Top 5 hit in the Billboard Hot 100. Differences between Starr and New Edition caused the two to go their separate ways. Eventually the band split up. Two of the members, Bobby Brown and Ralph Tresvant, went on to have a successful careers as a solo act, while the three others formed the award winning group, Bell Biv DeVoe.
After losing New Edition, Starr needed a new band to record his songs. In 1984, he created New Kids on the Block, a band consisting of five male teenagers, brothers Jordan Knight and Jonathan Knight, with Danny Wood, Donnie Wahlberg and Joey McIntyre. Starr produced New Kids on the Block to be a white version of New Edition as he stated I honestly believe that if they'd been white, (the group) would have been 20 times as big. With New Kids on the Block as Starr's "voice", Starr won Songwriter of the Year in 1989.
In addition to New Edition and New Kids on the Block, Starr also formed the boyband Perfect Gentlemen and discovered solo artist, Rick Wes.
Starr has started to work independently with non-mainstream groups. He is currently managing New Kriation, a boy band he assembled, along with producing and writing their songs.