[INTERVIEW] Grammy Nominated, Platinum Selling R&B Group, Az Yet Opens Up

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Hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Az Yet, are most famously known for their platinum selling hit single, “Last Night” and the Grammy Award nominated “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” a cover originally performed by the seventies band Chicago. Comprised of members, Claude Thomas Jr., Dion Allen, Kenneth Terry Jr., Parrice Smith and Dyshon Benson, the group’s self-titled debut album, which also sold over one million copies, debuted in 1996 on LaFace Records.

We recently caught up with the quintet, ahead of some new music to talk about their career spanning over two decades and what’s next for the group.

Parlé Mag:  Let’s hop right into this latest single, “Kleptomaniac” — Tell me about this particular track; how did it even come to fruition?
Az Yet:  “Kleptomaniac” was played for us by the amazing singer-songwriter-producer, B Slade. We felt that it was a current sound in the direction that we were headed. And paired with our harmony arrangements, it would become something amazing.

Parlé Mag:  “Kleptomaniac” comes courtesy of your forthcoming, exceedingly overdue yet still untitled, official 3rd studio collection — What all can you all reveal and/or divulge about upcoming said project at this particular point in time?
Az Yet:  We’ll be releasing at least three more singles followed by a full album. We’ve been in the studio working with super singer-songwriter-producer, Ne-Yo, and many other well known producers on this new project.

Parlé Mag:  How does the new album either differ and/or compare to previous Az Yet efforts?
Az Yet:  The first album was produced by super producer-songwriter, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, who gave us the direction for that time period. Being that Ne-Yo is to some like the Babyface of this time with what he brings to R’n’B and Pop music, he’s definitely giving us great direction with what he brought to the table.

Parlé Mag:  Switching gears here, how has not only the industry itself, but even more-so you all — both individually and collectively — either changed and/or evolved since your whole inception into music?
Az Yet:  There’s so many groups who seek longevity in the music industry. We understand that at some point some change is inevitably gonna happen. We went back (to) the original members who were there in the beginning when Babyface signed us, and also added member Parrice Smith who was mentored by Boyz II Men, and other well known producers to keep us moving in the right direction.

Parlé Mag:  Longevity, what do you all attribute yours to?
Az Yet:  To always work on your craft as if you never made any money from it. Never become content with where you are no matter how much success you have. We strive on knowing as much as possible about our business. And, lastly, staying true to who we are as artists.

Parlé Mag:  What do you all want people to get from your music?
Az Yet:  We want people to get a continuation of love, integrity and substance that creates an emotion that they can feel and hold in their memories.

Parlé Mag:  On a more serious note, are you all happy with the current state of R&B? And, even more specifically, where exactly do you all “fit in” when it comes to today’s current/trending sound-scape?
Az Yet:  We feel R’n’B is in a great place. It’s constantly evolving and has become the dominant genre that’s being used across the board in all other genres.

Parlé Mag:  Do you all have any other outside/additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from entertainment?
Az Yet:  We’re actually stepping into the tech space with the launch of our Az Yet App. It’s a great way for us to connect with new business opportunities with other businesses, raffles, give away’s, as well as giving back to those in need through our non-profit organizations.

Az Yet Keeping The Music Alive
Parlé Mag:  To date, what has been your greatest career achievement(s), at least thus far anyway?
Az Yet:  Being nominated for a Grammy, selling multi-platinum on the album and singles, and being #1 on Billboard Charts.

Parlé Mag:  One track of yours that you think defines you all and why?
Az Yet:  We would have to say “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” because it was arranged in-house, sold multi-platinum, and went on to be Grammy nominated.

Parlé Mag:  “Last Night” is another bonafide classic — How did this song actually come about? Who came up with the concept? And, please describe for me the overall studio vibe on that fateful day?
Az Yet:  “Last Night” was created by Babyface and Keith Andes. We were called to Babyface’s home studio where he played the demo, and we immediately knew it was a classic and we were all overjoyed. The vibe was great because we had a chance to work with Mervyn Warren of Take 6, along with Babyface and Keith Andes on the harmony arrangements.

Parlé Mag:  Lastly, what’s next for Az Yet?
Az Yet:  We’ll be releasing more new music soon – including a Christmas album – and getting back out on the road touring. So we’ll be in your city or a city near you real soon.

Parlé Mag:  Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
Az Yet:  Az Yet would like to thank you all for your continued support of our music!!!

Stay Connected with Az Yet on Social Media
Facebook: Az Yet

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Todd Davis

Veteran music journalist and indie publicist Todd Davis, who hails from the San Francisco Bay Area, and has contributed to a variety of national, regional, online, weekly and daily media outlets; including The Source, XXL & Billboard, to name a few, is happy to report that he has recently joined the Parlé Magazine family. Looking forward to many great things to come...

Todd Davis has 106 posts and counting. See all posts by Todd Davis

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