The younger brother of Claude V. McKnight of a cappella gospel outfit Take 6, R&B singer Brian McKnight began his musical career in and around Buffalo, performing self-written material with his own band. Attracting the attention of Mercury Records, he recorded a self-titled debut set which reached the Top 20 of the US R&B album chart, although its sales returns were modest. "Love Is", a duet with Vanessa Williams taken from the television series Beverly Hills, 90210, crossed over to the pop charts, reaching number 3 in May 1993.
Another single, "One Last Cry", climbed to number 13 later in the year. His second effort, I Remember You, sold more than half a million copies and included five Top 20 R&B singles. With his reputation and image established, Mercury decided to pull out all the stops for his third album, the immaculately produced Anytime.