Eric Benet Interview: 70s Soul R&B, Crying Men, and New Album
If the newest single “Sometimes I Cry” is any indication of what is to come on Eric Benet’s Lost In Time album, due out November 30th, then we can expect soulful greatness packed with emotion and wrapped in passion. He is the epitome of a man in touch with his feelings and this album is a kind of tell-all, but he is no writer of novels. Instead, he opts to release his feelings through song and does it in the most beautiful way. He paints his words and uses live instruments as his canvas. This time around, he wants you to feel what he is saying and not just hear it. He recently kicked off a two-month nationwide tour with Fantasia taking his passion on the road. Parlé Magazine recently had the pleasure of an Eric Benét interview to get inside the mastermind behind the music, dissect his many inspirations, and discuss any future Eric Benet projects.
Parlé Magazine: Congratulations on your Lost In Time album. What have you been up to the last two years?
Eric Benét: Working. Just traveling and doing lots of shows. I like to find a nice balance between doing the record, doing a gang of shows so that I can have some fun and pay the bills and taking some time off so that I can soak up as much of my daughter’s life as I can. So I think I found a nice little happy balance.
Parlé: What’s different about the Lost In Time album? Where did the inspiration come from?
EB: This album is different in the sense that when you listen to it, a lot of my previous work was influenced by seventies soul or R & B but on this particular record, what I was attempting to do was go all the way. I really found a need to add to what people are hearing on the radio now because when I listen to what’s popular today, there seems to be a lot of passion and emotion that you can only get from recording the way that they used to. That is without autotune, loops, and drum machines. I love drum machines and loops and programming just like the next guy. I’ve used it on a lot of my music, but I think on this particular record, I wanted to go all the way there. On the recording techniques, everything is live. There are live strings and horns and the musicians for every song tracked it all together. We didn’t separately track the bass or track the drums first. We had all the musicians around each other and they vibed off of each other and played together as the track went down. So it’s a very authentic soul R&B record and that’s different.
Parlé: How much writing did you do on the Lost In Time album?
EB: I wrote it all. My cousin George and I wrote pretty much the entire record.
Parlé: “Sometimes I Cry” is a major hit already. Is that song reminiscent of any real-life experiences?
EB: It’s very personal and very reminiscent. When I write, all of my stuff is not as much journalism as it is a mosaic of different experiences. I’m not so much telling a story of one particular experience. I just kind of went back and thought about a few of the emotions that I went through in a couple of my break-ups and tried to put it all together into something that was honest to my experience.
Parlé: Yes it seems like a very emotional song. What do you say to people who think crying is not a masculine thing to do?
EB: I would tell them to learn a little more about psychology and emotional health. We are emotional beings and whoever tells you that they don’t hurt or that they don’t cry–They’re lying. If somebody tells you that men shouldn’t cry, they probably need to grow up a little bit more.
Parlé: Happy belated birthday. I hear you are a Libra. They say Libra’s are very romantic and sentimental. Would you say that is true about you?
EB: Well I’m not really all that much into the zodiac thing. I think that I could probably read Aries horoscope today and find everything I wanted to see in that as well. But I like to think I’m romantic. I like to listen to what my woman wants and try to give it to her. That is very specific.
Parlé: You mention balancing your career as a single father to your daughter. I’ve heard her sing. Does she want to pursue a career in music?
EB: Yes she does. She is very talented, obviously. And she writes incredible songs, but unlike her father, she is very book-smart. She’s in college right now. This is her first year and I’m encouraging her to graduate. That’s not going to need much encouragement because she wants that too. But she also wants to make music so while she’s in school, we’re going to write a few things and record some things and keep school a priority. But it’s definitely a passion of hers.
Parlé: What kind of future Eric Benet projects can we expect? Can we expect to see more acting?
EB: I’m not opposed to it. I’ve never really been bitten by the acting bug. The few times I’ve done it, it was because somebody asked me to. But if the right thing comes along, I’m not opposed to it.
Parlé: What’s your favorite song on the Lost In Time album?
EB: Impossible to answer. I mean…and I know this is cliché, but they are all my kids. They all came from my soul and my heart and while recording every one of them, I got goosebumps, and happy and emotional.
Parlé: Do you know what the second single is going to be?
EB: I do. The second single is going to be a song called “Never Want to Live Without You.” When you listen to the record, you can definitely hear the mid-seventies influence. In some songs, you can almost pinpoint the artist. And this song is a very Blue Magic/Stylistics type of song. Strings and horns and harps and all kinds of beautiful stuff going on in there.
Parlé: Well once again, congratulations. I look forward to hearing the whole Lost In Time album.
EB: Thank You. That means a lot. Follow me on Twitter @EBenet.
Eric Benet Interview Image Credit: Instagram
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