Written by Lonnae O'Neal Parker

El DeBarge looks like he feels good about himself.

Twenty minutes before he takes the stage at the BWX Lounge in Hanover, sounds of cheering fans reach the singer in a curtained-off room.

Advertisement

He fixes his scarf to adjust his appearance, though, truth be told, there's nothing wrong there - white T-shirt, black jeans, rhinestone belt, camel duster. Five-foot-nine and high-school skinny. His black hair gleams, and his smooth olive complexion betrays little of his 49 years. It's really quite remarkable, considering all he has been through.

It's mid-December, and the 1980s R&B star with the achingly sweet falsetto, former lead singer of the family group DeBarge, is staging a comeback, not just musically — his first album in 16 years has earned two Grammy nominations — but a comeback to life.

Jeri Wiggins of Baltimore, one of hundreds of fans who braved long lines in the cold, says she has loved DeBarge since second grade and is thrilled he's back performing. "I'm always online looking for him," she says. "He looks good!" She adds that with everything DeBarge has endured, her "heart went out to him," but "he's still standing."

Advertisement

"I'm feeling that they want me to be OK," DeBarge says. "I'm feeling that they want me to do good."

Read the rest of this article at the Washington Post.