When you are passionate about what you do in this life, you want to be able to share that passion with everyone. R&B artist and songwriter, Avant, talks with us about the importance of true R&B music and how we have gotten away from it.
With a new album expected to be released this month, I had the pleasure of speaking with him about his new record label, his children and important lessons learned, during the COVID-19 quarantine.
Naomi: Most people know who you are, but for our younger audience, can you tell us about yourself
Avant: I am an artist who came out in the early 2000’s, but I have been putting records out for a long time. I have been in the game for over 20 years and I remain true to R&B. I have been through the ringer in dealing with many companies and now I have decided to have my own and it has been good.
Naomi: I know that you are working on a new album and it is called, “Can We Fall in Love?” It is on pre-order. Can you talk to us about the new album and tell us how it differs from your previous albums?
Avant: “Can We Fall in Love?” is true R&B. I have been doing this a long time and I have a sense of what my fan base wants to hear; so, when I did this song…I did it in order to have a record on the album but some of the “heads” in my company thought that it should be the name of the album. The album has a lot of love relationships and battles on the album that you will enjoy.
Naomi: Speaking of love songs, when you hear people say that we do not have any real R&B hits anymore, which of course we do, what can we do to bring awareness back to R&B?
Avant: I think that we need to understand that R&B has never been dead. It is just been a little different. Right now when I listen to Caucasians, they are doing our R&B and I am not knocking; it does not matter to me but that is the nature of what is happening; it is being cycled through that side and they have hit records. So, I cannot knock it because that is letting me know that people still love R&B. So, it is about us coming together and not changing it so much.
Naomi: True, that part.
Avant: That is part of the problem. It can never be Hip Hop. It can have Hip Hop vibes, but it cannot be Hip-Hop because that is two different entities. So, I think that you need to go with your purest form of R&B and let it go.
Naomi: I agree. You need to keep giving your audience what they are looking for.
Avant: Right and remember what you fell in love with when you were younger.
Naomi: I know that you mentioned that you have your own label now, so how was that journey; can you talk to us about that?
Avant: Having my own label is a good thing because from the major labels I have learned so much. I understand the way that things work. For me, it is fun because now I know what I should do and what I should not do and if I make a mistake then I can fix it. So, it is one of those things where I had a great “GPS” in the car and now I get it…I am the GPS. I know how to make things happen.
Naomi: What has been the biggest challenge with having your own label and being an artist?
Avant: The biggest challenge is making sure that you stay connect with your base. The base changes because they may be doing other things and they will always want to hear something new from their favorite artist. So, that is where we come in at, but we cannot get away from the base…even though we are growing older and we may get tired of the R&B “thing” the base does not get tired of it. So, you must give them what they want. I think a lot of times that that is our biggest problem, we want to stray away from what our base wants. So, they are saying, if I wanted a Hip-Hop album all I can go to a Hip-Hop artist. So, we must be careful with how we handle that.
Naomi: So, we have talked about your album and your record label, what else has Avant been up to; are there any other projects or movies that you can tell us about?
Avant: Actually, I am quarantining right now but at the end of the day, I think that the world is changing before our eyes and we need to adjust to that change. So, I have been taking care of my children and waiting to see what we are going to do. I was working on the album as well so that I could make sure to get that great music out there to people. So, that has been my focus right now. I tell people, you cannot do everything; focus on one thing and be great at that.
Naomi: You mentioned that you are quarantining; being in the music industry, what would you say has been your biggest lesson?
Avant: The biggest lesson learned from Quarantine?
Naomi: Yes, as an artist in the industry; where you are used to doing shows, able to connect with the people in that way, what has been the biggest lesson learned while you have been in quarantine?
Avant: The biggest lesson is that if people come to your show, they are expecting to hear the records that you created; the ones that they love. They do not want to hear a whole new version of their favorite songs; we had to learn that lesson. Also, they love you. They love you to the point that they are willing to do whatever for you. So, you need to guide them in the right direction. Because if we are not careful, you can give them the wrong energy and they can hurt themselves or they can hurt you. So, you need to give off the right energy. Whatever the case may be, you need realize that when people love you, that puts you in a different space and you must give off the right energy.
Naomi: That is true. Energy is everything.
Avant: Energy is everything in life.
Naomi: Speaking of energy and the vibes that you can give off to people; on Instagram there have been these challenges between different artists, will we be seeing any challenges between you and someone else; if so, who would you want to battle?
Avant: I do not get into that stuff. I understand what it is, but I do not think that we should be pitted against each other. Records are records and there always has to be a bigger and better, but I did it for you as a fan…so you can put me wherever you want to put me, but I should not be pitted against anyone. That is my opinion.
Naomi: What is one unknown fact that most do not know about you?
Avant: I love to shoot pool. I think that it is a sport that people do not understand about angles, if I am around the pool table; it is time to get down. I love being around my children and learning more and more. My 7-year-old daughter teaches me things. It is a lot more fun when you do not act like you know everything.
Naomi: What is some advice that you want to give to aspiring artists, producers who are looking to get their foot in the door?
Avant: My advice to all the aspiring artists…pre-order Avant’s new album (laughs). That is my advice for everyone out there. If you want true R&B. I could give you advice, but I would like for you to hear from me in my music. So, pre-order the new Avant album, Can We Fall in Love?” trust me, you will understand everything that I told you because it is about the feeling and how music translate though people and it gives that…what we talked about earlier, that energy. That is what my music does, and I am sure that this album will do the same thing. So, pre-order and you can get it on July 10. Make sure that you get yours.
Naomi: I will pre-order mine too.
Avant: Thank you!
Naomi: Is there anything else that we need to know about you or your record label, or about the album that we might have missed?
Avant: I do not know if we missed it but pre-order the album (laughter)
Naomi: Thank you so much Avant it was a pleasure.
Avant: Thank you, God bless you sweetheart.
Naomi: God bless you too.