Brian McKnight is back with his 10th album, 'Ten'


BrianMcknight-ten.jpgEmbracing an effortless eloquence and cocoa butter smooth persona, the music of Brian McKnight has defined the true meaning of American soul man since 1991. Like his spiritual Motown godfathers, this upstate New York native has a velvety voice and silky style that captures the vibe of vintage soul without being old fashion. On his latest disc Ten, that blend can be clearly heard.

"It's always been my goal to try and bring back real R&B music," Brian says. "When I was growing-up it was all about the seventies soul men. From the first time I ever stepped into a studio, my daydream was to pick-up where Marvin Gaye left off." While Brian's aspirations might have seemed like a lofty ambition, the longevity of his career is a testament to the purity of his vision.

In an industry that has a fast turnaround of acts vying to be the next "quiet storm" king or crooner on Soul Train, it's unbelievable that Brian McKnight is still creating beautiful music fifteen years after releasing his self-titled debut. Like the late Luther Vandross before him, the secret of Brian McKnight's rhythmic endurance comes down to his ability to create eternal music.

With the release of Ten, McKnight's first disc for his new label Warner Bros Records, the Grammy-nominated singer could not be more pleased with the outcome. "I wasn't very happy with the situation at my former label and perhaps that attitude was reflected in the material," Brian confesses. Having penned and completed about thirty-three new songs before signing on the dotted line, McKnight was more than ready. "Right now, I am optimistic of what I can do in my new situation."

Without a doubt, the landscape of soul music has gotten younger, but that fact did not hinder McKnight's creative process. "It would be a mistake for me to try and compete with Chris Brown or Ne-Yo," Brian laughs. "I'm not going to be dancing on BET, but at the same time I believe my material will appeal to everyone from teenagers to older folks."

After 16 million albums sold since his self-titled debut, it would have been too easy for McKnight to simply follow the R&B template of rote romanticism. But on Ten, the artist in him felt the need to be more revealing. "As a songwriter my biggest challenge has always been finding new ways to say old things," Brian says. "For me, it was all about being honest and exploring who I am right now. Like everyone else, I am a much different man than I was ten years ago."