Brian Culbertson was born in Decatur, Illinois. As a child, he was musically skilled, having started playing piano at age 8, drums at 9, trombone at 10, bass in 7th grade, euphonium in high school and more.
Growing up, he listened to Sting, The Yellowjackets, George Duke, David Foster, Marcus Miller, David Sanborn, Chicago, and Earth, Wind and Fire. He attended and graduated MacArthur High School, where his father was a music teacher. He then moved to Chicago where he attended DePaul University. It was in college that he actually started working on a CD, gathering a group of musicians, recording a demo tape and sending it to the only person he knew in Los Angeles, Bud Harner, who would get him his first record deal.
He is married to Michelle Culbertson, also known by her stage name Micaela Haley, and they live in Chicago, IL. In an interview, Culbertson revealed that he met his wife in college through his first bass player Sharay Reed who had met Michelle at the World of Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee where they both won awards at the age of 16. Michelle, originally a violinist, won for Best Concert Master and Sharay Reed for Best Soloist. They both were reintroduced to one another at DePaul University two years later. At the end of their Freshman year together Sharay introduced Michelle to Brian telling them that they would make a good match. His wife contributed background vocals on his earlier albums and a feature vocal on his Christmas CD, A Soulful Christmas.
In 2013, he announced on his blog that he was working on his fourteenth album, the album Another Long Night Out was released on February 25, 2014 and was going to revisit his earlier roots in contemporary jazz. In 2015, he released a second live album "20th Anniversary Tour" while performing at jazz club Yoshi's and, subsequently, he also released a solo piano album for yoga and meditation.
His latest album, released on April 10, 2020, is aptly titled XX (Roman numeral for 20) because it is his 20th solo record. Featuring many guests including Mr. Talkbox, Bootsy Collins, Avery*Sunshine, Marcus Anderson, Everette Harp, Noel Gourdin, Patches Stewart, Ray Parker Jr., Paul Jackson Jr., Jubu Smith, Nicholas Cole, and more, the XX album is genre-bending ride through tracks reminiscent of all of Brian's albums: Smooth Jazz, Funk, Gospel, Pop, R&B, and more.