Back in the spotlight after a more than seventeen year absence, Albert Joseph Brown III, known to the
masses as Al B. Sure!, returns with his long overdue, fourth solo offering, Honey I’m Home. On the twelve track collection, Al is reunited with long-time collaborator and cousin, Kyle West, re-igniting that same
musical chemistry first heard on his critically acclaimed, multi-platinum debut, In Effect Mode .
Rap Industry Dot Com recently tracked down the 41 year old Boston, Massachusetts, by way of Mount Vernon, New York, veteran singer-songwriter-producer, to find out what all he’s been up to as of late
” I have been reminded by fans and friends to stick with the original formula, because the last material I released was #1 on the R&B Billboard Charts, so I figured, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I’m not interested in following trends”
Welcome back! Musically, it’s been quite a few years since the masses last heard from you — Where have you been?
Al B. Sure!: Thank you Todd! It’s feels great releasing new product in this very stale musical environment that all sounds the same. I’m happy that my R&B counterparts; Maxwell, Avant, Ginuwine, Joe, Chico DeBarge, etcetera, have decided to release new material as well bringing music back to the days of quality and romance. As it relates to the entertainment industry, I took post as VP of A&R at the historic label, Motown Records. Subsequent, I have been doing what I refer to as the “Q” stretch, and expanding my creative portfolio; including a weekend radio program in the Bay Area, then syndicated radio; ‘Secret Garden Radio,’ 60+ stations domestically & the armed forces network airing in 160 countries, and back to L.A. to Hot 92.3, the Old School & R&B station, highest ratings for mid-days 10am-2pm, in the history of the station, all the while placing me in front of millions of listeners around the globe for the past 10 Years. In the interim, I had an amazing opportunity to exec produce Jamie Foxx’s HBO special, I Might Need Security, with Marcus King, Gary Reeves and Foxx. Next, a film with Blair Underwood and James Russo [The Godfather] titled The Hit, distributed through Code Black/Universal, and currently running on the TV One network, alongside of my Unsung series, which I provide the voice-over and spirit of the episodes; Season One, to name a few.
You are now out with your long overdue Hidden Beach Recordings’ debut — How did you wind up signed to this imprint?
Hidden Beach is all about true artistry, real music and preserving the organic nature of the craft. So, that works for me! Working with execs such as Steve McKeever, Bruce Walker, Charles Whitfield, and the rest of the amazing H.B. staff, allow me to focus on being an artist and bringing forth musical compositions that become a part of your bloodstream due to it’s sincere intent.
You titled this new fourth studio LP, Honey I’m Home — What does that name represent?
From the Hip-Hop legends; Eric B & Rakim, “It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t a left you!” Introduce the title Honey Im Home, as it relates to releasing new material. I’m not focused on a comeback. We refer to my return as, “Re-introducing a specific sound missing at radio,” and/or “Part 2” — “Coming back home!”
You also reunited with Kyle West — How did this reunion come to fruition?
We are family, and no one “gets it in” like the musical genius of Kyle “Break It Down” West!
Very true! So, how do you feel that this new project measures up to that of your previous releases? And, how would you say it either differs and/or compares to those other three solo records?
The Honey I’m Home record is just a continuation of where I left off with my previous efforts. I made no attempt to be trendy or sound like anything currently on radio’s repetitive, groundhog day, style rotation. I have been reminded by fans and friends to stick with the original formula, because the last material I released was #1 on the R&B Billboard Charts, so I figured, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I’m not interested in following trends, rather leading them with re-introducing “real music and melody” back to the population. I enjoy that my fellow artists such as Avant, Ginuwine, Mint Condition, Chico DeBarge and Maxwell, etcetera, have new releases in the market, bringing a flavor back to radio that has been void to the public ear.
I know that two of your own sons; Lil B. Sure!, who was featured on the MTV series Rock the Cradle, and Quincy have both expressed an interest in the music industry — Are you for or against them entering the business knowing what you already know, and going through all that you have? And, will you have any input in their respective career(s)?
My boys will take over the world, and the process has already begun! They are truly amazing human beings, and I am proud of them beyond compare.
That’s real cool! Well, a lot of people may not know this, too, but you introduced both Jodeci and Tevin Campbell to the masses — Do you remain in contact with either of these, now M.I.A., recording artists? If so, what are your proteges up to these days?
I see them periodically at shows and industry events, and only wish the best for their careers and their families. People tend to forget, because you see us on TV, hear us on the radio, read created stories about us on blogs, that we are just human beings like everyone else, and the pressure of the ever changing music business, traditionally, sends the artist through a roller coaster ride not made for human beings. I am proud of all of the artists I had a hand in introducing, i.e., Faith Evans, Usher, Dave Hollister, Case, Jodeci, Tevin, to name a few. I don’t mind that the masses are not aware of my introductions, as you are aware that I just don’t “Walk around with my own Flag!” I let the work speak for itself. FYI; Look at the current state of Wall Street with Harvard/Stanford educated execs running our economy into the ground and needing a bail out! Umm…Did I say Harvard educated? We are just artists making music to bring happiness into people’s lives. I don’t care what genre of music, from rock to pop to Hip-Hop, it’s a journey that most individuals could not handle if introduced to the task. (And,) the internet has created a safe haven for those that couldn’t meet the challenge of taking this road in life and surviving, so they create drama for traffic on the blogs, etcetera.
Looking ahead, say, 5, or even 10, years from now, where do you see Al B. Sure!?
As it relates to 5 or 10 years down the line, God willing, I will still be bringing forth musical works.
And finally, do you and Quincy Jones still remain in touch? If so, when was the last time you all spoke?
Yes, big brother Q and I remain in touch. We are connected through our musical spirits for life.
Sadly, Thursday 06/25/2009, the world lost the greatest entertainer who ever lived — What was your first reaction upon hearing the tragic news? How does Michael Jackson’s untimely passing affect, not only you, but, music in general? And, in the wake of his demise, what does this mean for the future of recorded music?
Yes, our brother Michael Joseph Jackson has passed, but we shall celebrate his life through the genius works he left us all in the form of musical composition that jumps from the musical staff, off of the paper and into our bloodstreams, until we are no more. He will be physically missed, but, musically, impossible to catch. I am proud of Ne-Yo, and artists of that nature, that recognize the musical master, and continue to show their admiration through their own musical works. Regarding the future of my industry minus M.J.J., we are all saddened, and will pray for his family, as well as thank them for lending their Brother, Father, Son, Uncle, Cousin, and, now, Angel, to us. God Bless You!