In Memoriam: Bernard Belle (1964 – 2022)

Bernard Belle (November 12, 1964 – June 23, 2022) was an American composer, producer, and musician. After starting his career as an R&B guitarist, Belle became known as a songwriter for Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston and a producer of gospel music. Belle died Thursday, June 23, at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital in Georgia, at the age of 57. Belle’s official cause of death was due to congestive heart failure, according to his sister and primary caretaker, Regina Belle, a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, who posted on her Facebook Page, “The smartest part of me has passed on. My brother, Bernard Belle was brilliant. Bernie, please help me to shine from heaven. I love you.”

Belle grew up in Englewood, New Jersey and performed as a musician while still a student at Dwight Morrow High School.

Bernard Belle is notable for his partnership with producer Teddy Riley and his collaborations with Michael Jackson. He is credited with writing and co-writing “Remember the Time”, “Privacy” and “Why You Wanna Trip on Me”. He began working with Teddy Riley in 1986. Together, they became the pioneers of the new jack swing era of music. He wrote and produced for, among others, Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown, Patti LaBelle, Aaron Hall, Keith Sweat, Al B. Sure!, and Today.

After dedicating his life to Christ in 1994, Belle still remained one of the most sought after producer/musicians in the Gospel music industry. He performed with Donnie McClurkin, Shirley Caesar, Richard Smallwood, Marvin Sapp, Fred Hammond, Yolanda Adams, Tye Tribbett, Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin, Donald Lawrence, Smokie Norful, Hezekiah Walker and BeBe & CeCe Winans.

Belle’s name appears on over 70 million records worldwide as a producer, writer, or musician. He received four Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, two Soul Train Music Awards, over a dozen ASCAP Awards, and nominations for Stella and GMA Dove Awards.