Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Feature

Eric Benét: The Benét effect

Eric Benét @bluesandsoul.com
Eric Benét @bluesandsoul.com Eric Benét @bluesandsoul.com Eric Benét @bluesandsoul.com Eric Benét @bluesandsoul.com

Back in my days of avid record collecting, it was the purchase of Eric Benét’s single, “Georgy Porgy”, that really started my interest in his sound. Featuring 90’s name, Faith Evans, it was a certified floor-filler, as they say.

The single came from his second album “A Day In The Life” (1999), a multi-platinum project, in fact. The album featured an even bigger single, the gorgeous “Spend My Life”, featuring another 90’s legend, Tamia.

That sophomore project, released on the Warner label, (in my estimations) helped seal Benét’s credentials as a bankable, talented, name. Twenty years since that debut album, “True To Myself” (1996), the 4 time Grammy nominated artist is back with album number 8…and in sentiments echoed by another legend, featured in this month’s B&S magazine (Musiq Soulchild), Benét expresses bountiful amounts of ‘humble gratitude’- the plain fact that people are still interested in his talent, he seems to find hard to believe - genuinely shocked, even!? Lol

His current eponymous offering sees him rekindling his musical relationship with long-term friend Tamia, on the remix of “Sunshine”. In truth, there’s a real ‘old skool feel’ to the album, especially with MC Lyte making an appearance on, “Holding On”.

Avoiding the lure of featuring contemporary names, this is an album that exudes all the professionalism and confidence that twenty-something years in the music business gives you.

You are father to two young children-what impact has it had on your music?

Fatherhood is wonderful, it’s the best that life has to offer. I think parenting just makes you a better person all round. As a parent, you get the opportunity to impart knowledge to another human being. In doing that, there’s this practice of self-examination. That self-examination can help to make your artistry better, truer and more defined.

You have been in the music business over twenty years, are you surprised by the longevity of your career?

It’s really interesting, when you are young you feel invincible. You feel that everyone in the world will love what you create - at that age, you think everything you create is amazing. You have this idea that you are like, immortal, that you will be around forever and everybody will love you unconditionally. Then five-six years go by and a lot of your contemporaries, who started out with you, start to fall to the wayside… Fifteen years later, fewer and fewer of those who started with you, are disappearing. You start to realise your vulnerability and when you have been in the game for as long as I have been for, it is kind of amazing. You no longer have that blissful, youthful invincibility. What you have is replaced by the ‘understanding’ regarding what it takes to have longevity in this business.
That outlook is similar to Musiq Soulchild, who I also interviewed this issue…

I think that is what happens for many artists, once you have been in the game for a long time. For me, I have this mixture of amazement and gratitude. I am still here, I am still doing… I am still trying to grow and find new expressions of my creativity. I am fifty years old, but I still feel in my twenties, as far as my creativity is concerned. There are so many things I want to do/try and so many things I have started in the last year, so it is beautiful to be here.

Pray elaborate on these new ventures?

Currently, I am involved in film production, screen-writing. I have two films that I am co-producing at the moment. In truth, it’s challenging getting the projects off the ground, but the wheels are in motion and the scripts are written. As you might imagine, the projects have a strong base in music, but it is an exciting process. It is a whole new branch of my creative tree and it’s exciting that this should bear fruits soon.

Let’s talk album… Demonte Posey has been a long-time collaborator on many of your albums, and features again…

Demonte and I have been working together for a long time and he is quite brilliant. We started working together in Milwaukee on my first solo album. It’s one of those relationships where musically it all feels so good. It has withstood the test of time and it is still going strong. It is incredible making music with someone who just gets you. When you find that type of creative synchronicity it is worth fighting to maintain that relationship.

Eric Benét’s self-titled album is out Nov 3rd.

You can catch Eric Benét in action at the Electric in Brixton on October 26th, Manchester's Club Academy on the 27th and Birmingham's O2 Institute on the 28th respectively.

You can read more from our interview with Eric Benét including what he feels about contemporary artists featuring on his tracks and the theme/s of his latest album? All in the current issue of Blues & Soul Magazine - click the 'BUY NOW' link below to order straight from the B&S shop or read on for high street retailer details...

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ESSENTIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE ericbenet.net

TWITTER @ebenet

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Words Semper Azeez-Harris

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