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Silk on the state of R&B and new album, ‘The Quiet Storm’

silk

Photo: Steed Media

During the early 1990s, R&B supergroup Silk turned women’s worlds upside down with their hit singles “Freak Me,” and “Meeting in My Bedroom.” Hailing from Atlanta, the group was discovered by Keith Sweat and he has served as a mentor and collaborator for the group throughout the years. Ahead of their forthcoming album, The Quiet Storm, which is set to be released on March 18, the legendary trio discussed their legacy, new music, and the current state of R&B. –andre j. ellington

So I know you guys were discovered by Keith Sweat. How did that opportunity present itself?
Gary “Big G” Glenn: At the time, we were dealing with Ronnie and Louis Ferguson and they hooked it up for us to meet Keith. We sang for Keith and he liked us enough to put us on background for one of the songs on his album, and the rest was history from there. We ended up being on a couple of songs from his album, “Keep it Coming,” and then we went to the studio and started working on our album. 1993 was the year that we impacted radio with our album, “Lose Control.”

Who were some of those groups that you guys looked to for inspiration and guidance while coming up in the business? 
Johnathen “John-John” Rasboro: I would say that it was a little bit of both. I think it depends on which guy that your asking in the group. Me personally, I would have to say Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder, etc. A lot of cats came in and assisted us, and we also were listening to Boys II Men, Jodeci, and Take 6 for inspiration so I would say that we have a wide-range of influences collectively. All of these individuals helped paved the way for us and they are still inspiring us because they’re out there still blowing!

“Freak Me,” and “Meeting in my Bedroom” were two of the biggest records in the early 1990s. How did the core of Silk change with the newfound fame that you guys experienced?
Glenn:  I think when we were younger we were working so hard that were were oblivious to a lot of that stuff. We were really just grinding, and I think one thing we try to pride ourselves on is making the music that feels good to us. That first album was like an All-Star Rookie team because we dropped at the same time H-Town, Shai, and  SWV dropped so we were rolling around like rookies who were controlling the radio because we were getting a lot of airplay. When “Freak Me” became a #1 record, I remember we jumped over Janet Jackson to get to that spot, and I don’t think we understood the magnitude of that moment at that time because we were still so young. We were really in a bubble at the beginning.

There is a growing thread of opinions that R&B is no longer relevant and people aren’t consuming R&B the way that they used to. What is your opinion on the current state of R&B?
Rasboro: Well I think that there isn’t as much shine as it was on the R&B scene and we are hoping that to help usher that back in to the now. I just think that love music is missing in the records that we hear today and it’s up to us and the individuals around us to bring that back into the forefront.

Glenn: I remember when “Freak Me” came out, it was the beginning of the change in radio because that was back when Dre and Snoop dropped their albums, and one thing that happened to us was the fact that Freak Me was a hybrid song. It had R&B singing vocals with rap verses. I honestly wish that there wasn’t so much time spent on who’s this, and who’s that. We just need to re-embrace good music with no strings attached. You gotta respect Drake, Bryson Tiller, and Torey Lanez because they are all trailblazing their own paths right now.

What can diehard fans expect from your new album, The Quiet Storm?
Rasboro: Fans can definitely expect that same sexy Silk sound that we have always be accustomed of giving to the people. I’ll take a page out of Lil G’s book and say that were are trying to bring back the foreplay. I can’t remember the last time I went to the club and people were just slow-dancing. You used to kind of wait on that slow song to come on so you can grab the girl that you’ve been eyeing all night to go and slow dance. I think that it’s a lot of that missing and we just want to give the fans that bedroom music back. It’s important that we stay consistent with what we are giving  fans in terms of our music.

-Andre Ellington