Real music lovers have been in heavy anticipation for the return of one of the original Kings of R&B-Avant. Putting an end to his hiatus, the read your mind singer is here to get us back to the core of what real “feel good” music is rooted from. With his 8th studio album, The VIII, set to be released on September 25th via MO-B Entertainment/Caroline, Avant is single handily serving up a heavy portion of soulful music that r&b connoisseurs have been craving.
Bleu had the chance to catch up with Avant, where he opened up about his break from the industry, the current state of r&b and why now was the perfect time for The VIII.
What have you been up to?
Well you know I have a two year old daughter and a twelve year old son, so I’ve been daddy. But at the same token actually keeping a scope on the industry as well and looking at what I need to come back with that people respect.So my new singles special is one of those records that…..Well I’ve been in the game for fifteen years so I look at people and they just don’t look happy anymore and I’m like damn your beautiful but this guy has you feeling like your not worth it, so I want you to feel special again.
Why did you feel that now was the perfect time to come back?
It was a good time. R&B right now is at a down trend but we’re coming up slowly. I have a voice and I want to be heard at this point. I want to tell people the reason that we are in the space that we’re in is because were trying to be too Hip Hop. What I mean by that is Hip Hop artist make their money talking about what they have, R&B artist make their money off of making us feel good. They stopped making us feel good and started talking about what they have, and that’s where the disconnect is.
How do you feel about the current state of R&B?
I love it! I love it because it’s different phases of it, but the thing is I just feel like we don’t need to focus on competing with the rappers. Ya know, the rappers–this is what they do, they talk about the things that they have or the way that they can “f” a girl, but what we do is different. We woo women, we make them feel good.
How do you feel about Tyrese and how he pushed his album, saying that R&B is not dead and he would bring it back to life?
I respect the man whole heartily. We’re all in the same fight. I’ve sold over a million records, I have to find those people that love music and I have to cater to those people. When people aren’t getting the type of music they want they have no choice but to listen to whats on the radio and that creates the disconnect.
So how long have you been working on the album?
I haven’t been working long honestly. I got with a great producer in New York, and we sat down and said that we’re going to make real music. We’re going to make music that we know people want to hear because we want to hear it. It’s feel good music and I think we pulled it off.
So the album is titled “The VIII” , It’s your 8th album but is there any other meaning behind it?
Naw, I’m just happy to be here after 15 years and 8 albums. I’ve seen a lot of people catapult and go and I’m still standing.
Do you have any special collaborations on this album?
No, just me and my artist. What I have to do is a Duet album with Keke. Everyone would love that but I have to make sure it’s the right thing, the right moment and it has the right energy on it because we both can sing our tail off but I don’t want to go into a singing battle because that’s where you loose the connection with the people. If it doesn’t make sense to me I’m not doing it.
What do you believe is the key to longevity?
I believe it’s being true to you and catering to your audience. I feel like a door salesman–If I’m selling you cookies then come back with a box of rocks, you’re going to be like nah man. But if I’m being consistent, you’re going to always open your door.