Written By SOHH Soul Rebel
It's been too long since Eric Benét's last album—fortunately he's back again—and I had the opportunity to talk to him about his new project Love & Life, which hits stores next Tuesday September 9th. Check out my Q& A with Eric below:
Soul Rebel: How are you feeling about your new album?
Eric Benét: I'm ecstatic about this record it's definitely the best of my career. I went back home to Milwaukee where I was born and raised and I used to do gigs when I was 21 years old making 50 dollars a night and hooked up with my cats, my original partners, my brothers in music, Demonte Posey and my cousin George Nash and we just went in the studio and made this record that like I said, is the best I've ever done. We were really trying to make a record that felt like the music that made us fall in love with music and I think we did it.
SR: Can we feel your mission in the first single?
EB: The first single "You're the Only One," sets up the CD nice because it feels like that old feel good right to your heart R&B. When I listen to the radio it doesn't seem like there is enough of that. "You're the Only One" just really lets people know where I'm headed with the rest of the CD.
"You're the Only One"
SR: Why call it Love & Life?
EB: I feel like I'm just enjoying both of those things to the fullest right now. I've always been the kind of songwriter that whatever I'm going through personally that's kinda what I'm writing about. Right now I'm at a point where I'm just grateful, I'm happy, I'm experiencing this love and appreciation for life. It felt like an apropos title. I'm so blessed. The older I get I realize gratitude attracts more gratitude and I'm able to sustain that happy feeling for longer periods. Everyone is happy sometimes but now I feel I am living a life where the happy moments are longer and more consistent and it feels good.
SR: It seems like you've grown quite a bit since we last heard from you.
EB: That's an important ingredient in getting to the process of where I am now. I fell on my face, made some mistakes and by the grace of God I learned everything I needed to learn from those mistakes and I'm at this place where I haven't figured it all yet but I am okay with the fact I haven't but I've learned how to deal with things that I probably didn't always know how to deal with. I guess I've grown up and I'm grateful for the maturity.
SR: You had a very public divorce; do you think artists and celebrities private lives should be more respected?
EB: I definitely feel like private lives need to be respected. The story is never really like -- somebody always has a bigger voice, especially in relationship things. When one person is a bigger celebrity than the other one, somebody has a bigger voice. There are always three sides to the story, there's your side, her side and the truth and the media isn't really concerned with that, they just want the best story, not really taking consideration that children are involved, or that somebody else has a life or somebody else has a livelihood and needs to make a living. It would be nice for the media to respect that, but in the meantime the best I can do as a man is learn from my mistakes and live a better life.
SR: Tell me more about what we can expect from the album?
EB: It was really important to me that the first song let people know who I am and what I'm about. It's called "Love Patience and Time," it's lyrically coming from this place where there is no obstacle. God designed our souls and spirits in a way that there is no obstacle we can't handle. You have to stay present, stay focused and stay grateful and everything is going to be alright. There is another song on the record called "Chocolate Legs" it's extremely sexy, it's going to be the cause for a baby boom again when my record comes out.
SR: That's nice. That'll take our minds off the rising gas prices for a while.
EB: Life is so hard today with the economy, people not having enough for groceries, trying to make it day to day, one thing that gives me strength to face another day of this madness is knowing I'm gonna come home to someone that is gonna wrap their love and sensuality around me and recharge and give me the energy to face the day. There is so much on this album that's straight from the heart, from growth and wanting to have fun. The second single "The Hunger" is all about when you meet the person you have that amazing physical connection with, that's off the meter. When you finally connect with the person you're exploring each other's bodies and sexuality for weeks before you want to come up for air.
SR: Great! Is there anything that doesn't need a NC-17 rating?
EB: There is a song on the record that's extremely personal to me it's called "One More Tomorrow" about my daughter India when she was born, where I am basically saying if I found out I was dying tomorrow I'd want to spend my last day with her. It's like a parent explaining to someone who doesn't have children what that love feels like. It's a powerful love.
SR: I'm glad you brought up India because I wanted to ask you what you've learned from her.
EB: My relationship with India has been the best relationship I've ever had, she's the biggest blessing of my life, we have the kind of relationship where we really open up to each other and talk. She's 16, I have a teenager who will come home and tell me what's really going on with her. The boyfriend, the girls at school that are hating, I never had a relationship with my parents where I could do that. For as long as she could talk I've tried to talk to her about my day as appropriately as I could, so it's unnatural to her to not come home and tell me what's going on. I was doing an interview earlier and they told me an earthquake hit Los Angeles, I had to excuse myself to call her and the phone lines were flooded. It's the worst feeling when you can't reach your child in a situation like that.
SR: What's the strangest job you had before you became an artist?
EB: I worked for an appliance rental company in Milwaukee. Those places are designed for people that don't have enough money. They want a TV and their credit is jacked up so they can't buy one but they can break off 20 dollars a week to rent a TV. It was my job to go to their house and repossess their stuff when they hadn't paid the bills. I had to go into houses where kids were watching "Flinstones" unplug it and leave. It was a horrible job.
SR: How do you feel about the current state of music?
EB: Optimistic. The business is in this period of transition where, for once quality is in a conducive situation to rise to the top, artists are having a lot more power. Independent artists have a lot more options to get their stuff recognized. The way people are getting recognized is if they have the goods. It sucks that record sales aren't what they were.
Check out Eric on tour:
Eric Benét Tour Dates
9/26/08 House of Blues Myrtle Beach
9/27/08 Chastain Park Atlanta
9/29/08 House of Blues Chicago
9/30/08 St. Andrews Hall Detroit
10/2/08 Egyptian Room Indianapolis
10/3/08 Playhouse Square Cleveland
10/5/08 State Theatre New Brunswick
10/6/08 B.B. King's New York City
10/7/08 Birchmere Alexandria
10/8/08 Birchmere Alexandria
10/10/08 Attucks Theatre Norfolk
10/11/08 Carolina Theatre Durham
10/12/08 Neighborhood Theatre Charlotte
10/16/08 Arena Theatre Houston
10/17/08 River Center Baton Rouge
10/18/08 Nokia Theatre Dallas
10/19/08 Cannon Center Memphis
Love & Life hits stores September 9th on Friday/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records