For nearly two decades, multi-platinum R&B singer, songwriter/producer, and stage play actor Avant has thrilled us with his masterful vocals with hits upon hits.
He recently just released his much anticipated ninth studio album, "Can We Fall In Love" and we had the pleasure of speaking with the music icon, asking him burning questions about his return, his new album, working again with the amazing Travis Sayles (Dark Child Productions).
Like all his fans, we wanted to know where he had been for the last five years and what had motivated him to return to the recording studio. He spoke fondly of the competitive music scene when he began his music career and how it encouraged him to work hard and continuously put out records, so people knew he was in the game. Taking a break to rediscover love and more expressions of it was important to him but now, Avant’s focus on getting back into the studio was on his fans who were eagerly awaiting his return. So, knowing how his fans would appreciate what real music was, he set out to create a musically and lyrically meaningful body of work in “Can We Fall In Love”.
When asked where he thinks the genre is headed and if he had any strategies for pulling in and captivating a younger audience. Avant was quick to respond that he thought that R&B was in a good state because it had given space for real R&B to come back. To him, if R&B stayed the same from 1990 to 2020; we would be tired of it. “I’m so glad that it had that transition because now, people are really looking for real, true R&B again. I have a 17yr old son, so I’m always trying to show him and teach him what we consider real R&B is, from melodies and lyrics that mean something.” He noted that the reason why everyone was so competitive in the ‘90s was the presence of artists like Michael Jackson, Babyface, and other greats, adding that it showed him what hard work really was and how to continuously create and stay in the game. According to him, R&B music channels all the stages of life and makes them presentable for people that are going through things; a vibe that he intends to bring back really soon.
When asked if the COVID-19 pandemic had affected the creation of this album, he noted that it definitely tempered things down but made him closer to his family, spend time with them, and learn more daily. He believed that we needed to continue growing and he hoped to bring back true scenarios to the game that would either help you get deeper into a relationship or pull you away. He maintained that even with social justice, life wasn’t perfect. It had its ups and downs and though we wouldn’t get everything we wanted, adjusting to such a scenario was the most important thing.
Mentioning social justice, we took the opportunity to hear his thoughts about the Black Lives Matter Movement and how it has affected him as a black male artist in America. While he noted that he hadn’t seen such in his time, he believed that the Movement mattered so much because it was a means of opening up a conversation; something which he also tries to do with his music. For him, he uses his album as a conversation piece that is going to talk directly about life and purpose, and what we can do to make it better. “I am so glad that Black Lives Matter is out there fighting the way they are because it’s a learning experience that I didn’t want to have the conversation with my son about.” He added, “They are trying to change the narrative instead of just living through it and I think that’s extremely important.”
Let’s talk about falling in love. Speaking about the album, Avant pointed out that a lot of people were making love, but weren’t in love. He noted that a lot of young people didn’t know what that meant or the ups, downs, and scenarios that go on inside of love. He said, “It’s a beautiful thing when you are trapped in love but you also are giving away your everything. So you’ve got to understand, you are so vulnerable when you are in love.” To him, these were the conversations we have to have with our kids, helping them understand, appreciate, and navigate love.
We noted that even though in the past, Avant had collaborated with many heavy hitters such as Lil Wayne, Kelly Rowland, Nicole Scherzinger, and more, there wouldn’t be any collaborations on this album. He said, “I have been away for five years, so I just decided to focus on myself…” He added that he wrote a song for his fans called “Nothing Without You”, a touching homage to how much he appreciated their love and support for his music.
Though Avant couldn’t pick a favorite song from the album, we did learn that the vibe from the album was fun but with a potential seriousness to it, like the track “Live a Lie”. We could also expect some relationship fun notes like in the song “She’s All In My Head”. He said, “There are so many little catchy things in there that you are going to be able to digest and keep down, and I think that’s the most important part of putting great work together”, adding that it was fun making the album. According to him, the inspiration to the album was being in the studio and letting the studio be the guide. He noted people often went into the studio with ideas and try to force things which in the end, don’t work. To him, the studio had to be sacred and an artist had to let it organically happen, which was what he wanted to do with this album and which he hoped he achieved.
Known for his song diversity, Avant has been touted the “Love God”, having a song for every type of love; covering everything from breakups to makeups and everything in between! To this, he maintained that his music came from the reality of life, writing honestly about what he sees and does daily. He continued, “I’m just trying to be the best person I can be first…before we can love one another, you have to find out who you are first…You have to look at yourself first and ask yourself – “am I good enough to be with me?” At the end of the day, that’s always a kind of a struggle or battle, because then it’s like, how much do you want to sacrifice, how much do you want to share? And it’s pretty deep though.”
With a parting word for his fans, Avant says, “Being streamed 1.8billion times…that was really special and I appreciate my fans throughout my years, being in this game. You just want to be appreciated that way and I do man up, I bow to you and I appreciate all of you.”
“Can We Fall In Love” the album, dropped on the 10th of July and is now available on VMN Music.
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