Many people consider ’90s R&B as something of a golden age for the genre. Though not given as much fanfare as some of the more celebrated groups of the era, Chicago based group Public Announcement were always in the thick of things with Billboard hits and gold and platinum plaques to prove it.
After a few lineup changes, the group is set to return to the spotlight as a trio consisting of Feloney Davis, Glenn Wright and Ace Watkins. Intent on picking up where they left off with their last album, 2006’s When The Smoke Clears, Public Announcement look to help with the resurgence of true R&B via memorable hooks, meaningful lyrics, and sensual “baby-making” melodies that will catapult them back to the forefront of the contemporary music scene once more.
Ro recently sat down PA to talk about their individual projects, their new label situation, and their upcoming album Continuation featuring the lead single, “Fireworks.”
What are some the things you guys were working individually while away from the group?
Ace: I’ve done musicals, vocal production, talent scouting for production companies, written & co-produced a solo album, & most-importantly I talk to youth to make sure they understand who the architects of their future are!
Fel: While away from the group, I’ve continued to work on my personal life, becoming a better person & spending time with my kids. I have a part in an upcoming play, and of course I’m writing songs and performing constantly.
Glenn: I’ve worked musically with my church, mentored young artists, & continued to write music.
When did you decide it was time to reform the group? What was that conversation like?
Glenn: It wasn’t so much of a conversation about getting back together because we never broke up. We’ve been doing things individually and as a unit. We’ve been doing spot dates performing in the States as well as abroad. Now with the help of Twoguard Music Group (our new label home), we can share our growth.
Speaking of Twoguard Music, how’s it feel to be a part of a burgeoning independent movement like TMG?
PA: It’s an honor. The movement toward independence is growing bigger within the music industry every day. Chicago needs a unifying force musically, one to call its own. A successful independent label would go a long way towards that.
Tell us about your new single, “Fireworks”?
PA: Kevin (Ross, Twoguard Music CEO) bought a number of songs for us to consider for the album. When we heard “Fireworks” we all agreed it was a beast! It’s written and produced by our labelmate (& label co-owner) Marwan (Soulflow), who most people know for his hit single “Eternally“. It’s reminiscent of a time when you could paint a picture with lyrics yet leave a little something to the imagination. It’s about bringing sexy back!
What’s the significance of naming the new album Continuation? What can fans expect from the project?
Fel: The new album consists of music that reflects our situations as well as those of our core fans. Continuation means following a path of great, quality music we have been responsible for. Continuing to build a catalog of songs that people will remember for years to come. It’s also a bridge from our past to our musical future and will show our growth as artists. There will be traditional PA songs as well as new sounds that we’ve matured towards.
You guys have essentially seen and and done it all in the music business. What’s your best advice for aspiring artists?
Ace: Keep God first, maintain the love of music, creativity, and stay true to who you are as an artist. There’s a lane for everyone & believe that someone wants to hear what you have to offer.
Fel: Preparation + opportunity= success!
Glenn: Definitely keep God first. Always practice your craft…even when nothing’s going on.
What’s in the future for Public Announcement?
PA: More music, shows, and solo projects. Building an outlet for our own artists and helping stem this tide of violence that engulfs our city, while continuing to grow the brand that is Public Announcement
Public Announcement’s new single, “Fireworks” is currently available on iTunes.