It’s been said that true talent never dies. And in the midst of a classic R&B revival, the original group line up of platinum R&B vocal trio After 7 makes a remarkably dynamic return with their unmistakable sound. Riding the wave of their new Billboard Adult R&B hit “I Want You” and an upcoming performance at the 2015 Soul Train Awards, the group is primed for one of the most notable comebacks of the coming year. Reunited with esteemed Grammy winning producer/ songwriter Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Daryl Simmons after a 20-year hiatus, After 7’s new single and forthcoming album marks a fine return to form of a vocal group that adeptly distills the essence of soul.
While the tides in musical trends had ebbed and flowed in their absence, true R&B fans remained hungry for After 7’s patented formula of silk & soul. And the catalyst for their imminent return was the same person responsible for their introduction: Babyface. But as Babyface entered a prolific creative period while preparing material for his own upcoming solo release, his thoughts drifted back to his brothers’ group with every composition. And after Kevon, Melvin, and Keith heard some of the songs he had in mind for them, that missing element was clear and apparent: After 7. To shore up After 7’s vocal prowess, a somewhat familiar face was added to the family affair: nephew Jason Edmonds.
After 7 entered Babyface’s Los Angeles recording studio Brandon’s Way in the summer of 2015 to begin work on a few tracks. The result was “I Want You,” a smooth uptempo groove and an unshakable testament to a group whose vibrant vocal performance has consistently engaged fans over the decades. “It’s about wanting and accepting every part of that special person,” says Keith. “It’s that inspiring; it’s that energetic.”
With the favorable renewed interest in their reunion in hand, the group returned to the studio to begin work on their upcoming album. In the meantime, the single “I Want You” began to make waves at radio stations across the country – helping the tune reach #19 on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart. This was confirmation that the group’s audience was eagerly anticipating a new After 7. As a follow up and contrast to the lead single, the seductive “In And Out” bears the mark of a classic Babyface slow jam which showcases the group’s tradition as robust balladeers. Offering a delightfully surprising change of pace, “Loving You All My Life” finds the group challenging themselves vocally while effortlessly delivering in the vein of a tender love.
“It’s probably the most different of any song that people have heard from After 7,” affirms Kevon. With work on their new album nearly complete, the group’s new material is certain to be rooted in the old while adeptly referencing the new. And with the success of songstress Jazmine Sullivan’s 2015 single “Let It Burn,” which uses a prominent sample of their 1989 hit “Ready Or Not” as a foundation, there’s no doubt that the R&B/ soul world-at-large has undoubtedly been primed for the return of their classic sound. Planned for a 2016 release, the album promises to the group to its rightful place as R&B royalty in a musical landscape yearning to be refreshed.
Historically, Babyface and Daryl Simmons have a lock on the ability to take raw talent and guide it in the proper direction,” Kevon says with confidence. “With their guidance, we’re taking every diamond, pearl, and precious stone that we have in terms of creativity and putting it all into this record. The moment is now.”
Listen to I Want You here.