For nearly two decades, AVANT has given us hits such as “Read Your Mind,” “My First Love,” and “Separated”. As Avant released his 9th studio album Can We Fall In Love a two weeks ago, we spoke to Avant about the new project.
YMMW: This Friday you are releasing your 9th studio album Can We Fall In Love, talk about the direction you took for this album, and who you worked with far as producers and songwriters.
Avant: Yea it’s my 9th studio album and the direction I took was basically dealing with relationships. So the way I like to format it is that everybody is home right now but they’re not really talking to each other. They have their devices that are keeping them away from each other and this is the longest you have spent with that person in years, and this is the time you really should have that special relationship going on. What I did with this is album is try to connect everybody, so when they hear the album its more of a conversation they will say “what happened to the love that we used to have?” Is it about the devices or is it about us individually? That’s what I put together with this album. I worked with Travis Sales he’s a great producer he’s my band director and we just found a happy blend as friends and creators, this is how I came up with my album. It’s my 9th studio album and I’m blessed to be able to give people great material which they still listen to and want to cherish I’m just really grateful.
YMMW: As your new album Can We Fall in Love arrives Friday and nearly 2 decades in the game what would say you see the most growth you’ve seen yourself as an artist from Your debut project to releasing your 9th album?
Avant: The most growth I would say is just pushing through to be in the game for 20 years going through the ups and downs and different companies, now having kids and seeing their perspectives I have a 7-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son. When I first got in the game I only knew about myself and I only cared about myself and now I have to have the songs that I have it’s about the people it’s not even about me it’s about. With the music, you actually help people and to me, that’s my main goal is to help people.
YMMW: You and Keke Wyatt are duets legendary with songs such as You & I, Nothing in This World, and My First love. Have you two ever talked about doing a duet album?
Avant: Yes we have. It’s all about the right timing. It’s not as easy as everyone thinks it is because you have two different human beings coming together to think of the right concept and you have to have a conversation with one another about 12-15 songs and you have to really think that out because you don’t want to force that, it can come off as cheesy, it’s a gift and a curse because we have all eyes on us so we can’t come out with anything bad.
YMMW: For years the conversation of the state of R&B and the changes some of the new artists are doing with it. As and R&B icon yourself who has been consistent had had hits for over 2 decades in R&B, what are your thoughts on the way R&B is heading with the new generation?
Avant: I think R&B is in a great stage actually. If you think about it if R&B would have stayed the same as it did in that era then you would be tired of it. By having this different brand of R&B it’s kind of teaching moment for your kids while they have their brand of R&B you can introduce them to the R&B we grew up on like myself, Joe, Charlie Wilson. We bring back the R&B that the kids need to know about, It opens up that conversation with your kids so they can know this is the R&B that we grew up off of, these are the topics that mattered to us. I think its a beautiful thing because it gives us teaching moments.
YMMW: Recently we’ve seen artists being celebration with the Verzuz series created by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland. If you were asked to go on there who would you like to go head to head with on Verzuz?
Avant: I don’t get into that. It’s all about the fans, who would you all put me to go against to do that. I do the music for the fans. I think it’s a cool thing what they are doing and they are having fun doing it, but I don’t think you should put artists against each other when I am doing it for the fans. That’s with all due respect, but I understand what they are doing it for though.
YMMW: On this new album which song would you say is the most personable song that you recorded for this album?
Avant: I have a song on the album that I did for the fans it’s called “Nothing Without You,” so that’s the most personal record that I did for everyone. It touches me it’s like I tell everyone if that Maybach that double R sits on the showroom floor and no ever picks it up, it’s nothing without the person who picks it up. So we have to understand our power who we are as people.
YMMW: As we live through this pandemic, making it hard tour right now, what are some of the things fans can expect to see from you will there be a tour for next year or a virtual concert we can expect?
Avant: We definitely are working on somethings, we’re basically working on a tour for next year, and I don’t want it getting to the point where you’re starting to be seen too much. I like the mystique of artists. I still think that means a lot. Right now it’s too much, I can find out what socks you have on or what you ate this morning I don’t know how beneficial that is because once people get tired of you individually, they don’t want to hear from your anymore or see you anymore so I think that can be detrimental to your career so I do like that mystique.
YMMW: Who is one new artist would you love to collaborate on a song with or who are you currently listening to in R&B
Avant: I really respect my guy Chris Brown, I remember seeing him when he first started so I have much respect for him. It’s a couple of artists, Drake I think he’s a great artist as well. I know how hard this game and build this brand so I have a lot of respect for a lot of artists.
YMMW: To be in this industry for 20 years and all the hit songs you have created, did you ever think that your career would have lasted and had the longevity it’s having?
Avant: I had no idea what I was doing when it came to longevity in my career. It’s funny I tell this story all the time, I did the first album and boom it was finished. Then I had people telling me I needed to work on another album and I’m like wow for real? They told me this is how it goes you had success with that one and then you bring the label something else within 5-6 six months. One thing I can say the music industry taught me was hard work and dedication. If you’re trying to get in the music game you’re not getting in it for a single or an album, you’re doing it for how much you can help people we are literally vessels that’s who we are as artists. That is what we are here for. Once you understand that and what your position is then you will enjoy what making music brings.
YMMW: As music constantly changes do you find it hard as an artist to keep your signature sound that fans love while also making it current for today’s time and new fans?
Avant: You should never have to compromise who you are individually first, the fans remember you for who you are, if you can pick up a few fans through the kids that is fine, but never compromise who you are. I think that’s what happens when you listen to the radio constantly, people start to compromise and now you’re starting to hear one long song. I don’t think that’s beneficial. One of the biggest songs that matter in the world today is Marvin Gay’s what’s going on, it’s still relevant for today. When he made that he didn’t listen to the radio when he wrote that song. He was in the streets and he felt the heartbeat of the streets, and that’s what matters. When you start making records like that, that’s the songs that will stick around forever. That’s what I try to do when I go into the studio.