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Interview: Eric Benet

5 min read

Eric Benet initially made a name for himself back in the mid nineties with a few singles that launched him into the international spotlight as one of RnB’s finest assets. Neo-soul staples like Let’s Stay Together, Georgy Porgy and the number one single Spend My Life With You as well as his collaborations with some of music’s leading RnB acts like Faith Evans and Tamia have helped carve a lengthy and hugely successful career in music for the four-time Grammy Award nominated artist. Benet also received a lot of attention through his highly publicized marriage to Academy Award winning actress, Halle Berry in the early noughties.

With decades of songwriting and recording achievements under his belt, Eric released his sixth studio album, The One, back in 2012. The collection spawned a couple of hits including the lead single, Real Love. Fast forward 2 years and Eric is preparing for the release of a brand new reinterpretation of The One. The Other One sees the musician giving his 2012 studio album a musical makeover, applying a thick drum’n’bass vibe to the former RnB collection.

Following a couple of successful shows alongside fellow RnB hit-maker Brian McKnight and ahead of the release of The Other One, we caught up with Eric to talk about his latest project and his career. Here is what he had to tell us:

Brendon Veevers: Hi Eric. How are you and where does our interview find you today?

Eric Benet: I’m doing well, feeling great, actually on a flight headed to Copenhagen.

BV: You have been a busy man recently with all sorts of promotional activities in support of your upcoming album The Other One which is released in April. Can you tell us a little about the album and what we can expect?

EB: The Other One is something I’ve never done before, it is a completely new take musically and sonically to my album. I’m really excited to see how the fans like it.

BV: Aside from the makeover, are there any additional tracks on the new record or was the focus purely on revisiting these tracks and giving them this fresh new sound?

EB: No new tracks, we’ve focused on giving the original tracks a new sound.

Eri BenetBV: The songs on The Other One sound quite personal. Where did you draw the most inspiration from when sitting down to write the songs that are featured on this album?

EB: I’m a songwriter, so I draw inspiration from everything, from every miniscule to hugely significant parts of my life.

BV: Would you say that you are a perfectionist when it comes to putting a record down or do you head into the studio with a ‘go with the flow’ attitude?

EB: I’ve learned to go with the flow and enjoy the creative process, sometimes the imperfections what make record special.

BV: What were you hoping to achieve with giving The One, which you originally released back in 2012, this musical transformation and do you think you achieved this?

EB: I’m always hoping to stay true to myself, while still bringing something new and fresh that listeners will enjoy. I do think I’ve achieved this.

BV: Do you have any favourites on the record, perhaps some new favourites following its transformation?

EB: It’s really hard to pick one. I love them all.

BV: You have worked with some of the industry’s finest in the past including Faith Evans and Tamia. Is there anyone on the scene these days that you would like to see a collaboration happen with?

EB: I’m always interested in collaborating with artists that push the envelope in their own genre, someone that comes to mind is Janel Monet.

BV: Who do you think is doing great things in music these days? Are there any acts that are shining brighter than others on your radar?

EB: I really enjoy what Kendrick Lamar is doing theses days.

BV: Having been a very successful songwriter, musician and performer for over 30 years, what would you say has been the key to your longevity in music?

EB: I just work hard, stay true to myself, stay humble and continue to learn and grow and transform.

BV: It’s one thing keeping music and performances fresh for your fans but how do you keep things interesting for you after all these years?

EB: Every time I perform or go into the studio to write a new song it feels like the first time.  I’m just as excited now as I was when I began my career years ago.

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BV: Your daughter India is also involved in music and things seem to be going well for her. What advice have you given India in terms of launching herself into a career in music?

EB: India is much smarter than I was at her age. She’s doing really well with her music and continuing her education. That’s the advice I give her – to continue her education and be true to whats in her heart.

BV: You performed a couple of intimate shows recently in the UK alongside fellow performer Brian McKnight. How were the shows?

EB: We had a great time and the audiences were amazing.

BV: How do you find the fans in the UK compared to those back in you U.S homeland?

EB: The great thing about music, is that it’s universal. The fans are great all over the world.

BV: Will you be taking the new collection on the road throughout 2014 and if so, are there plans to tour internationally?

EB: Yes, I hope to get back for another international run. Stay tuned!

BV: What exciting projects do you have coming up in 2014 that you can tell us about?

EB: On Jordan House Records we’re launching 2 new artists, Calvin Richardson, and Goapele, and I’m very excited about their projects and playing the Executive Producer role… in addition to starting my new album. So 2014 is going to be lots of fun and very busy.

BV: Thanks so much for your time Eric

EB: My pleasure, Thank you!

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