R & B/Soul music lovers no doubt have had a long term love affair with crooner Lenny Williams and his music. For the new generation of music lovers, who consider a Kanye West sample the epitome of legendary status, Williams has had the honor of being sampled multiple times by Mr. West. Lenny Williams has been dominating the game since the 70’s, producing several classics throughout his career as a solo artist and as the lead singer of Tower of Power. His hits include “Cause I Love You,” and “Choosing You,” just a couple of the stand-outs on a career that already includes 19 albums. Yet, he’s still in the business continuing to put out quality smooth R & B, still making a name for himself, and still striving to be the best.
Parlé Magazine: After all these years in the business, what keeps you inspired and motivated to continue putting out records?
Lenny Williams: Number one records, that’s always the goal of any artist. Also, fans who take the time out to request your song or take their hard earned money and go buy your music at the end of the week. That excites me.
Parlé: The new album is titled, Still in the Game, talk to me about that title. Why’d you choose to go with that?
Lenny Williams: A lot of the time I might go to a city to perform, and they might not have seen me in a while, they’ll say they love, “Cause I Love You,” or something like that, and they’ll say ‘I haven’t seen you in a while, what have you been up to?’ I’ll say, ‘I’m still around, still doing shows, just haven’t been where you are.’ I’m still here, still making good music.
Parlé: Let’s talk about that. You’ve been in the business since the early 70’s with sixteen solo projects and 3 group albums. How do you feel when people approach you and they might only know a song like “Cause I Love You”?
Lenny Williams: It doesn’t affect me in a negative way, it just lets me know I still have work to do, I still have people to touch. I was listening to an interview the other day of Jenna Bush, George W.’s daughter, she was with her grandfather, George Bush Sr., and he likes all these socks. And she mentioned that Justin Bieber likes all these weird looking socks. And she asked him, ‘have you heard of Justin Bieber,’ and he’s like, ‘I never heard of him.’ So it’s just kind of interesting that someone like Justin Bieber, who all these people know—well obviously George Bush is ’89—but even though Justin is who he is, there’s still all these people who don’t know about him or never heard of him.
There’s always a challenge to reach people out there who don’t know you. There’s always work to do.
Parlé: Like you said, there is work to do, and there is this whole new crop of potential fans out there for you to reach out to, what do you want that new crop of potential fans to know about Lenny Williams and your music—past and present?
Lenny Williams: We’ll number one would be that I have great music and I’ve got a great voice. And that I’ve got clever songs and clever concepts. Hopefully they’ll google me and find out I’ve got 19 records, and then they might find out that I’ve been sampled by people like Kanye West two or three times, Trey Songz, Scarface, Young Jeezy, Jay-Z, Andre 3000 have all sampled me. You know, they can see the whole body of work that I’ve done.
Parlé: Speaking of the samples, is it still refreshing today when a new artist samples you?
Lenny Williams: Oh yeah, most definitely. When a new artist samples me I get excited. Not only are you keeping the music alive but you’re making the music classic. It inspires me. Plus all my records, except the first 2, I own the rights to, so I control and I get money for it.
Parlé: Nice! Let’s go back real quick for those that do know your classic work and respect it. “Cause I Love You,” when you put that song together was it about a real woman and a real situation?
Lenny Williams: Songs like that, I might’ve had an argument with my girl and then I try to feel what other guys feel. Most guys, even if they do it, they don’t want to tell anybody they cried or that they sat and watched t.v. all night til it went off cause they were thinking about a girl. But most guys do it, they just won’t admit it. I just tried to get into that mind state. Part of it was personal, part of it was just trying to put into a song what I know other guys feel but they don’t like to talk about that they would cry over a woman or a relationship.
Parlé: And your latest single “Still,” another deep and heartfelt song. I know you didn’t write the song, but does that relate to a real situation?
Lenny Williams: Yeah. Me and my wife been together 34, 35 years. I look at her and I say, ‘Wow, she still loves me, after 30 something years.’ A lot of guys, after a long relationship they might take it for granted, thinking that person’s going to be there, but when you think about it, when I got with this person 30 years ago, I was immature, I might’ve went out with the guys and fooled around, you know, whatever. But after all these years, she’s still with me. It does hit home personally.
Parlé: Thanks for the time, any final words you want to put out there?
Lenny Williams: Just like to let everyone know I appreciate their support all these years. Thanks for picking up the CDs and coming to the shows. I don’t take it for granted.
Lenny Williams’ new album, Still In The Game hits stores on July 31st. Be sure to look out for it. Support a legend that continues to put out classic material.
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