*Today, R&B singer Avant is in a good mood. And, why not? His latest CD, “The Letter,” which hit the streets back in December, debuted at #2 on iTunes R&B chart.
The CD contains 11 songs and is gaining strength behind its favorable reviews.
Avant couldn’t help but have a hit CD with producers on the project that include, The Pentagon, whose members Damon Thomas, Eric Dawkins and Antonio Dixon have worked with Mary J. Blige, Fantasia, Babyface and Usher. Also on board was Mike City, who worked with Usher, Jamie Foxx, Brandy and Carl Thomas. Then there is Marshall Leathers (formerly of the Architects), who has worked with India.Arie and Missy Elliott. Kajun, who worked with Ludacris featuring Trey Songz, was also onboard.
Avant, who recently performed at the Susan G. Komen For The Cure L.A. County new music series, “Voices for the Cure”, fundraiser for cancer research, will soon embark on a tour in support of the CD.
I recently sat down with Avant, 32, to discuss his life, career and his latest work.
Darlene Donloe: Your bio has a quote where you say – “I’m always fighting to go further. Once you hit a plateau, it’s time to create another. I’m just getting started.” What does that mean?
AVANT: There are a lot of things to do. Everything is a launching pad. When I started I didn’t’ know how to put an album together, but I did it. Then I did a for “Barbershop 2.” I also had a small role. Used to do stage show in the Cleveland School of the Arts. I did “Love in the Nick of Time” with Morris Chestnut – that was launching pad.
DD: I got a chance to listen to “The Letter.” Tell me about the process.
AVANT: My process, well, more than anything I try to write about today. I try to stay relevant to what’s happening today. In “The Letter” it’s something I heard or something I’ve seen. I try to keep it current. That’s what I do with my music.
DD: Your bio also says – Avant can now be hailed as the “new voice of modern soul.” What is modern soul?
AVANT: Modern soul is what’s happening now. What’s going on right now.
DD: What do you like to write and sing about?
AVANT: Well, you know, I like to write about a lot of things. A lot of situations. I’m that dude in the song, ‘That Dude.’ If you met me in the club don’t think you can change me just because we got intimate. I’m still the same guy. Women come in and try to change you. Women and men think differently. Don’t try to change me.
DD: Is ‘The Letter’ written to your fans? If so, why did you want to share what you’re going through with your fans?
AVANT: A letter is what you write to people to tell them what’s going on in your life. This album is a letter from me to my fans about what’s going on in my life, what’s going through my head and my struggles as a man. I think in general today fans want to know what you’re going through. Most of the relationships aren’t mine in ‘The Letter.’
DD: Your song ‘Kiss Goodbye’ is serious. Lyrics include: “See you done got a lot of passes/Sick of waiting on you to change. “You won’t know it, it’s a perfect disguise/She won’t show it, but lips don’t lie …/It’s OK if she said she was out with her girls and you know it’s a lie/But if she kissed him, that’s your kiss goodbye.” Are you singing from experience?
AVANT: That’s about reality. If a woman decides to kiss someone else – they are kissing your relationship goodbye. Women don’t play the field – if they kiss someone it means you have pushed them away. She is weaning herself away from you. She’s pulling away. If she decides to kiss him – you’re through. People don’t understand how intimate a kiss is. A prostitute will have sex with you, but she won’t kiss you.
DD: How did you become love smart?
AVANT: I have three brothers and three sisters. I’m the second to the youngest, the youngest boy. I was able to see my sisters, mother and brothers go through pain. I kept mental notes. I see everyone’s pain. I don’t have a blueprint, it’s just my perception.
DD: Are you in a relationship now?
AVANT: Actually I’m not. I have a beautiful baby mother that takes care of my baby. I’m not looking for one right now. Relationships aren’t easy to come by. Why spend my time in something that’s not going to work?
DD: How do you know or decide which producers to use on any given project?
AVANT: Oh, man! It’s about having great relationships. The Pentagon I worked with on the first three albums. I like the chemistry between us. Kajun is very talented. My lawyer turned me on to him. Marshall is also talented. I try to build relationships. Everyone I worked with brought something fresh, solid and unique to the table.