The O’Jays are back!
Highly decorated, the soulful ensemble have thrilled fans for over 50 years with their trademark brand of R&B, however, it’s been almost two decades since they released a studio album.
That’s all set to change on April 19th when the trio – presently comprised of Eddie Levert Sr, Walter Williams, and Eric Grant – unleash their aptly titled final LP, ‘The Last Word.’ The set is led by new number ‘I Got You,’ which made its debut today.
Ahead of its premiere, That Grape Juice caught up with the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductees to discuss the song, its parent project, and their chance pairing with stage blazer Bruno Mars.
ON WHAT’S KEPT THEM AWAY FOR 20 YEARS:
…it’s very competitive out here and we’re getting back to great songs, great producers, and great vocals that get people’s attention and creates interest.
ON HOW THEIR CREATIVE PROCESS HAS CHANGED SINCE THEIR LAST ALBUM:
The writers we’ve collaborated with are the biggest changes. Even when we were having a lot of success, a lot of that was written by Gamble & Huff, McFadden and Whitehead, and Walter Sigler. The songs that we’re getting in now, Sam Hollander, and even [R&B/soul legend] Betty Wright.
ON THE SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS MESSAGES FOUND ON THE NEW ALBUM:
It’s always been a part of the messages we wanted to get out without being hateful or harmful to anyone. Put it in a song and let them dance, enjoy the music, and learn what’s going. It gives people an opportunity to check into it to see if we’re accurate or correct on what we’re saying or what we’re thinking.
[Photo By Denise Truscello]
[Bruno] had a song that he wanted us to hear. So we heard it and we liked it and we figured it wouldn’t hurt us to do a Bruno Mars song (laughs). It’s called ‘Did You Enjoy Yourself?’
ON THE CURRENT STATE OF MUSIC:
I think [the public] have become a little more sophisticated as to what they consider a great show, a great act, someone to spend your money on and to come see. So I think the bar has been raised a little bit as far as live shows and having a show that someone feels good about spending their money.
Click here to preorder ‘The Last Word’ on iTunes.