Not many artists can say that they have been handpicked by a legend.
Yet that is the exact testimony that Chicago native, Avehre, can now give as legendary singer Gladys Knight has given him her seal of approval and readies him to take the world by storm.
Rolling out recently caught up with the talented singer-songwriter to talk about his new Christmas EP and being cosigned by a legend like Knight.
How did you come to the attention of the legendary Gladys Knight?
A young lady who had been singing background for Ms. Knight for about four years informed me that there might be a chance Ms. Knight’s music director was looking for new singers. They were gearing up to do a 30 city tour and would be filling the position fast, if at all. However, the source never actually asked me to audition. She knew that I was a songwriter-vocal producer via us being friends on social media and figured I’d know who to reach out to about the gig. I told a few friends to send me audition tapes, but none of them did. Then I had what Oprah calls an ” Aha Moment.” I said to myself, “Avehre, you can sing a little bit, why don’t you just audition yourself?” After mustering up the confidence to record and send in my audition tape, I got word back that there was interest and flew to Las Vegas for an in person audition with The Empress of Soul herself. A few days later I was hired and started touring with Ms. Knight the very next week!
What’s it mean to have a artist of her caliber and stature backing you?
To have Ms. Knight and her team backing me has been the most life changing experience I’ve ever had. She has been pouring into me and sharing her wisdom and knowledge not just of music, but of the business itself. I’m completely in sponge mode right now. I am truly blessed to have this great opportunity and I simply want to take advantage of this amazing chance to learn firsthand from Ms. Knight.
Tell us about your Christmas EP.
My Christmas EP is called Star Filled Sky and is now available at www.AVEHRE.com. This project is so near and dear to me for several reasons. It’s of course my first national release, but also an opportunity for me to share the joy and cheer of the holidays with listeners around the world. This time of year is all about love and family, two things that we need more of. It is my prayer that this EP brings families together for the Holiday and helps them remember special moments from the past and create new memories as well. This EP is a new spin on Christmas music, from my heart to yours.
Did you feel any pressure regarding covering The Jackson 5’s “Give Live On Christmas Day”?
There was definitely a ton of pressure while working on my version of the classic hit “Give Love On Christmas Day.” Of course, the Jackson 5 are known and loved all around the world for this song and so many others. All I kept thinking was “What if everybody hates it? My career will be over before it even starts.” But, through the guidance and direction of my executive producers, Gladys Knight and Fred “Blaze” Crawford (CEO of The Artist Refinery) we were able to find the perfect balance of the classic and familiar elements of the song fused with something new and fresh!
What’s next for Avehre?
I am extremely excited about all that I have coming up! I’ll be starting off the year touring with Ms. Knight and also doing some events on my own. In February, I will be featured at BET’s Music Matter’s Showcase in NYC as well also making my rounds to do more TV and live performances. I am currently in the studio aggressively working on my full LP with some amazing heavy hitting producers and writers and hope to release a single from the album early next year. Lastly, you can catch me on a major UK Tour with the legendary Gladys Knight next summer!
For more information on Avehre, check out his website www.avehre.com