After professing his admiration for a woman’s “physiology” on the sexually infused track, “If You’re Ready To Learn,” Brian McKnight is ready to shift back to his conventional sound with the release of, “More Than Words.”
Tentatively set to hit stores on April 2, McKnight’s eOne Music release features 16 tracks and marks his first new album in two years. During a recent interview with the Huffington Post, the “Anytime” crooner shared details on the project, in addition to his thoughts on possible repercussions stemming from the controversial adult track.
Last year you admitted that you had no desire to release another album ever again. What changed your mind?
I really didn’t think I would have this much to say anytime soon. And when the label came to me to say, “would you like to do another record,” I said, “Well I got these sixteen songs sitting here, so let’s do it.” And that was pretty much it…I never stopped writing, it’s just the way that the business is now you just try to find a different model. But once I started writing I said to myself, “Maybe, I’ll do one more, let’s see what happens. Let’s see if the world is ready for another one.” So we’ll see.
Judging from the video to the album’s lead single, “Sweeter,” it appears that you added a double entendre to the visuals. How did you go about developing the concept?
There was a movie, a Mickey Rourke flick back in the day, called “Nine 1/2 Weeks,” and that’s where I stole one of the scenes from. He took her into the kitchen and blind folded her and hit her with the strawberries, the honey, and the whole thing…So it’s that whole idea. But it’s definitely a double entendre about the “sweeter” and the honey. I was trying to keep it sexy.
Within the last year you managed to push the envelope a bit with, “If You’re Ready To Learn.” Since then, have you experienced any repercussions, personally or professionally?
I don’t think it cost me anything at all, really. I think that it did what I thought it would do, which was to let people know that I don’t take myself as serious as they do. And hopefully they don’t take their self that seriously. Nobody’s out there protesting the music of today, they just decided that they only want that from certain people. And I think that’s wrong. So I decided to make a parody based on that fact, and I was right. I make songs all the time and none of them made me the number one trending topic in the world for three days in a row. And that’s where this whole “social media” thing kind of sucks, because no one ever runs with something that’s good and wholesome.
Look at reality TV, they don’t have people on there doing good things, with the exception of “The Biggest Loser,” which I think is the greatest reality show out there, because they’re actually accomplishing something. But they’re hoping that people fight and get their weaves pulled out. So I did a song that I still think is one of the cleverest songs that I’ve ever written, but I realized that people don’t listen to words. All they do is focus on the parts that they may find offensive and sensational. And it’s sad. I just want people to take a step back, take a deep breath and actually look at something with a different perspective. But most people will never do that.
Are you concerned that some of your longtime fans may have shied away as a result of the song?
I think that’s something to think about, but I’m on the road 12 months a year and I have a 98% sellout rate. So if they shied away I didn’t see it.
Out of the 16 tracks on the album are there any that stand out to you the most?
I can’t really pick, because I wrote them all. But as a whole, this record feels good. With the exception of “Live Without You,” there’s not a lot sadness. It’s upbeat, and feels like a good place to be. If I had to describe it that’s what I would say. Because there’s “Made For Love,” which makes me want to drop the top down and just cruise through L.A. But then you have a song like, “The Front, The Back, The Side,” which talks about meeting someone, next thing you know they’re sending you pictures from this angle, and that angle. They have apps for that. [Laughs]
Aside from the album dropping is there anything else that you have in the works?
I’m about to sign a contract right now [I can’t go into details about it] to do this play that will take me away until the summertime. But other than that I’m going where the wind blows and I’ll figure it out when I get there.