[INTERVIEW] The Rude Boys’ Joe Little III Opens Up On New Music, Musical Legacy & Shares Classic Stories

With a career that dates back to the late eighties, Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter-producer Joe Little III finally returns with his latest solo single/video, the heartfelt emotionally driven “When I Think Of You.” Little, who also serves as original lead singer of ’90’s R&B quartet The Rude Boys, is most famously known as the “voice” behind their, now classic, chart topping – #1 Billboard and R&B Song of the Year [1991] – hit anthem,“Written All Over Your Face.”

The Rude Boys disbanded after they were dropped from Atlantic Records back in mid-90s, but that led Joe Little III to an opportunity to release his solo album.  Under tragic circumstances, The Rude Boys reunited in 2006 at Gerald Levert’s funeral and they have been performing together ever since.

This past June, Joey Beanz, who has worked with everyone from Aretha Franklin and The Temptations to Snoop Dogg and Layzie Bone, along with his Rude Boys brethren, were deservedly inducted into the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.

We caught up with Joe Little III to talk about the accomplishment, the new music and much more.

Parlé Mag:  So for those not already in the know, where have you been? And, what have you been up to, both personally and professionally speaking, during this lengthy musical hiatus?
Joe Little III:  Just growing, touring, writing and working on projects.

Parlé Mag: Why did you opt to remain absent from music for such a long period of time?
Joe Little III:  Rude Boys and myself, Joe Little III, have been back active since 2007 doing shows, and releasing a couple of singles and a Holiday season project.

Parlé Mag:  After the The Rude Boys 2nd record, ‘Rude House,’ you embarked on a short lived solo career — What even prompted you all to disband in the first place?
Joe Little III:  Atlantic dropped the group from the label, and Gerald offered me a solo deal, in which Atlantic Records signed me spawning my album Puttin It Down in 1995.

Parlé Mag:  That being said, how then does Joey Beanz ’19 measure up to what you are already both known and loved for circa 1990-94?
Joe Little III:  My latest efforts will show growth as a vocalist and writer, who more understands himself and realizes my purpose. God has put me here on earth to touch lives in a positive way.

Joe Little III When I Think of You Single Artwork
Parlé Mag:  Your comeback single/video is entitled “When I Think Of You” — Tell me about this particular track? How did it even come to fruition?
Joe Little III:  “When I Think Of You” is a song about the loss of my wife (in) November 2016. And also, my fellow group member, Larry (“Bingo”) Marcus, passing.

Parlé Mag:  What all else can you reveal and/or divulge about upcoming new music?
Joe Little III:  I now have a record label called Brother 2 Brother International distributed through Warner Brothers. I have several videos that are about to be released, and an upcoming EP to be released around Valentine’s Day.

Parlé Mag:  Let’s retrace your musical roots, when did you first become interested in music?
Joe Little III:  I became interested in music from the age of four. There was something inside that I felt that drove me to music and writing, and I have been doing it ever since; with passion an a unrelenting mindset, never giving up or discounting my gift.

Parlé Mag:  How did the four of you come together to form The Rude Boys?
Joe Little III:  I met (Edward Lee) Buddy Banks and we both started The Rude Boys… adding Melvin Sephus and Larry Marcus. The Rude Boys have been reconstructed, in which I have members; Keni Myles and G LaBeaud, and we have been together since 2012.

Parlé Mag:  Where does the group’s moniker, The Rude Boys, derive from?
Joe Little III:  The Rude Boy name was founded by group member Buddy Banks. He seen the name on the button on Prince album Controversy.

Joe Little III interview
Parlé Mag:  What particular string of events led to your initial hooking up with the late, great Mr. Gerald LeVert and ultimately inking to Atlantic?
Joe Little III:  Buddy and myself met Gerald LeVert at local night club in Cleveland (Ohio) called The Reason Why. I invited him on stage to sing with us, and we gave a very explosive performance. He then invited us to meet him at his house the next day, he auditioned us in front of his father, Eddie LeVert, and immediately went to work calling Atlantic Records president of R&B division, Sylvia Rhone, and got us signed without ever being heard.

Parlé Mag:  Longevity, what do you attribute yours to?
Joe Little III:  By staying on the path (of) utilizing the gift of song to touch lives.

Parlé Mag:  On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of R&B? And, where exactly do you “fit in” when it comes to today’s trending sound-scape?
Joe Little III:  The state of R&B nowadays is heavily influenced by rap. There are some artists and songs that I do appreciate and like… Chris Brown is my favorite.

…My place in R&B is to give the people what comes from within.

Parlé Mag:  To date, what have been your biggest career moments?
Joe Little III:  My accomplishments I love best is singing an unreleased duet with the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, the 1991 Billboard R&B Song of the Year for “Written All Over Your Face” and my Grammy Award for working with the Temptations.

Parlé Mag:  What’s next for Joe Little III?
Joe Little III:  What’s next is continuing to wave the banner, representing the Rude Boys as my driving force and continuing to sing and write for the world.


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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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