Interview: Avant – Continuing to Make Therapeutic Music That’s Real & Heartfelt
When you’ve heard an Avant record over the years, how has it made you feel? Knowing how to always stay in his lane and tap into exactly what his fan base is looking for, Avant seemingly knows how to invoke every emotion and put that into a song. That’s what has made him consistently so successful over the past decade and change. Not only is the music good, but he touches on subjects that people can relate to. It’s no different on his recently released seventh album “Face the Music”. Inspired by the greats of the past, his credibility got a serious boost when the debut single “You and I” went to #1 on the Urban A/C charts. That accolade itself pretty much sums up what he’s been able to do; remain loyal to his Urban A/C fan base with no gimmicks while making hits. YouKnowIGotSoul sat down with Avant after a recent performance in NYC and discussed his approach to “Face the Music”, what’s influencing his writing at this point in his career, not following the trends, and more.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Your 7th album “Face The Music” is out now. You’ve been doing this for a decade now. What was different about your approach to this album than your previous ones?
Avant: I really wanted to do something different. I really wanted to approach it thinking about the great artists of the past like Marvin Gaye and those guys who really brought out some great material. I wanted to say “I’m going to hold myself responsible for giving them some good music this time.” That’s how “Face the Music” came from. It was really just trying to pay homage.
YouKnowIGotSoul: The first single “You and I” went number one on Urban A/C. What type of achievement was that for you at this point in your career?
Avant: It was beautiful because that’s really my crowd there. That’s my fan base and they love what I do. From “Read Your Mind”, they took that and ran with that. It’s my age bracket. They understand me and what music is truly about. I’m really trying to get to the mainstream and let them know as well that “Yo this is what we live for. This is what real music is right here.” Sometimes you can be in the club having a good time and everything is cool, but you took your problems to the club and then when you come back, you have the same problems. Sometimes your music can be therapeutic and that’s what I try to do. I try to bring that type of music across.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You had a hand in writing on this album like all of your other albums. What influenced you on this album?
Avant: I’m an older guy. I have a 10 year old son and a 5 month old little daughter. A lot of that fire, energy and passion comes from the kids. I want to set their life on a different path than what I came out with. A lot of it comes from my kids and the passion that I have. Also I’m one that can write from scenarios or things that I’ve seen or heard, so I try to take people’s relationships and put myself in it whether it makes me sad or happy. I just want to visualize myself in that relationship sometimes and come up with some great music.
YouKnowIGotSoul: I read where you said this album was all about mixing the old school sound that we’re used to hearing from you but mixing in the new school as well. What influenced you to incorporate the new school music?
Avant: I got respect for the new school artists especially the producers. Scenarios never change because you can always find new things to talk about. That’s what my whole thing was. Like with a song called “Best Friend”, no one is talking about having a best friend and not wanting to cross those boundaries. I felt that was something that needed to be said. You got a song called “Gratitude” that pays homage to women in general. I wasn’t talking about one specific woman, I’m just saying how a woman could be. I just try to take the same old style and try to bring something new to the table when talking about relationships.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Many artists from your generation have kind of followed trends to stay relevant. You’ve never really done that. Have you ever considered doing that?
Avant: I can’t do that. People want to hear real music. That’s what I feel all the time. When I got into the music game, I didn’t get into it to be trendy. I haven’t written a record yet that was just trendy. If you hear a record from Avant, it’s going to be real and heartfelt. It’s going to either make you smile, cry or have sex. I go through the whole situation, but I don’t like doing trendy records. I’m not knocking them because everything has to be different, but that’s just not my style.
YouKnowIGotSoul: As an independent artist, what’s been the biggest challenge?
Avant: The biggest challenge is finding your fan base when you’re an independent artist because the record companies are so big. They know how to touch everything and everybody. Being an independent artist, you have to put the money into the right thing whether it’s production or the fan base. You have to find it and you have to minimize all the bull and get straight to the point.
YouKnowIGotSoul: In another interview, you said that you didn’t get in the music industry for the money. You got into it for the chills and the music. What do you want people to feel when they hear an Avant record?
Avant: I want them to feel what I felt when I first heard Michael Jackson or Luther Vandross. I didn’t have any money, but when I heard the song, it made me feel like a certain vibe. That’s what I want people to get from it because the money is going to come. You just have to put out quality music. That’s what I’m about.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Anything you’d like to add?
Avant: I love you guys. I want you to support the new album “Face the Music” and continuously look for Avant because I have a lot of different things I’m about to start popping off.