[INTERVIEW] Today’s Keeper of Yesterday’s Soul Music, Calvin Richardson Talks New Album

After completely losing his singing voice in 2018, the multi-Grammy nominated Calvin Richardson, who was born in McBee but Monroe, North Carolina, raised, returns to full form with the unveiling of his eighth studio opus, Gold Dust.

To date, the 42 year-old, married father of three has unleashed a succession of stand out solo albums; his 1999 debut, Country Boy, 2:35 PM in ‘03 and When Love Comes {2006} to name a few, as well as having recorded with and/or written songs for everyone from Angie Stone and Raphael Saadiq to Charlie Wilson, including Uncle Charlie’s smash hit, “There Goes My Baby,” co-written with Babyface.

We caught up with Calvin Richardson to talk about the new album and his long history in music.  Check out the full Calvin Richardson interview below.

Parlé Mag:  The lead single is entitled “Let Me Love On You” — Tell me about this particular composition?
Calvin Richardson:  This song is composed of what I feel is the number one ingredient to making any relationship work; actions of love. Loving on someone, anyone, is a powerful thing. All of my songs come about basically the same way. It’s about the space I’m in when I’m creating, as well as how the music speaks to me.

Parlé Mag:  “Let Me Love On You” comes courtesy of your latest solo collection, Gold Dust — Conceptually, what does this title represent both to and for you?
Calvin Richardson:  When I initially signed up to make this album, I had 6 weeks from the time I started to create to deliver. In the last few months of 2018, I experienced some serious vocal issues; to the point I lost my voice and was still working hard to recover. On top of that, I was coming off of a hugely successful run with the release of my single, ”Can’t Let Get.” So going in, the expectation was very high. That, coupled with the fact that I had signed up to deliver in six weeks created an enormous amount of pressure on myself. They say pressure burst pipes, but I said to myself that if this pipe burst it will be filled with Gold-Dust (good music). Thus came the title.

Parlé Mag:  How then does this new solo entry either differ and/or compare to previous efforts?
Calvin Richardson:  I never compare current work to past, because I believe each are their own thing. My objective is and always has been to just make good music, and I think I accomplished that on every album to date.

Parlé Mag:  As mentioned, it’s also your musical return after losing your voice last year — What exactly happened? And, how were you able to restrengthen it to the point where it’s at now?
Calvin Richardson:  I lost my voice due to my technique and the extreme amount of demand for me to perform as my touring schedule got very hectic, so according to the doctor I overstrained my vocal cords. I took off 3 weeks, even though the doctor recommended more, strictly for rest…b ut I rest where I can.  However, it takes work to create a demand and work to keep up with; sometimes takes double the work. I’m not back to full vocal strength yet, but I’m getting there.

Parlé Mag:  Switching gears here, how has not only the industry itself, but even more-so you as an individual, either changed and/or evolved since your whole inception into music?
Calvin Richardson:  The music game and industry has evolved and changed so much since I came in 20 years ago. I think the biggest change is just the way music is shared; i.e. streaming, world access via social media, etcetera.

Parlé Mag:  Longevity, what do you attribute yours to?
Calvin Richardson:  I can only attribute my longevity to just making good music, and having a loyal fanbase that loves me and appreciates what I bring to the table.

[Fun Fact: Before going solo, Richardson formed the vocal group Undacova, whose song “Love Slave” was featured on the New Jersey Drive, Volume 1 soundtrack in 1995.]

Calvin Richardson interview
Parlé Mag:  What do you want people to get from your music?
Calvin Richardson:  I want people to find a little peace, feel loved and valued, which ultimately evokes a happy feeling.

Parlé Mag:  As a songwriter, where do you actually draw inspiration from?
Calvin Richardson:  I’m inspired by many things when it comes to writing, but I think the number one contributor for my writing is life experiences based on the quest of love and happiness.

Parlé Mag:  On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of R&B?
Calvin Richardson:  As it stands from my point of view as an artist who is constantly working to make a positive contribution, I’m good with the current state of R&B. Music has no choice but to evolve as people evolve. Every once in a while, you have an artist like myself come along who is authentic and true to the essence of real music. I am today’s keeper of yesterday’s Soul music.

Parlé Mag:  Do you have any other outside/additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from entertainment?
Calvin Richardson:  I’m a businessman and I love business, so I have several different companies I have my hands in that are doing well for me.

Parlé Mag:  You also recently authored a book entitled Do You Without Them — For someone who has yet to pick up a copy, what would you tell that person can be expected from it?
Calvin Richardson:  Do You Without Them basically chronicles my entry into the music business, to my current state of success and how I got here without having key elements that most artists had to have and would never have become successful in this game without.

Parlé Mag:  What has been your greatest career moment, at least thus far anyway?
Calvin Richardson:  I think my greatest achievement to date has been realizing 20 years in the music business and remaining relevant even after all the years of being around.

Parlé Mag:  Lastly, what’s next for The Prince of Soul?
Calvin Richardson:  I don’t exactly know what is next, but I’ve never set limits for myself. I do know there will be a lot more to come from me. I plan to continue cutting my trail and leaving my mark in the world by contributing musically to the industry.

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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 105 posts and counting. See all posts by Todd Davis


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