Rumors of the demise of R&B will never come true as long as Peabo Bryson is around.

 

That’s because the legendary artist is perhaps the genre’s biggest advocate and constantly delivers soulful tracks to keep it alive.

 

Long known for enduring hits such as “Feel the Fire” and “I’m So Into You,” Bryson is back with a re-release of his popular album, “Stand For Love,” which featured two chart-topping songs – “All She Wants to do is Me” and  “Love Like Yours and Mine.”

 

The new deluxe CD promises to attain equal heights. Already, “Looking for Sade,” the single with special guest Boney James, is number one on the Jazz list and the other eight songs on the album are garnering lots of attention.

 

But, Bryson is aiming for more than attention.  His true mission is to keep R&B relevant and attractive to all generations – younger and older.

 

“There’s something for everyone on this particular CD,” said Bryson, who collaborated with iconic producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on the project. “I don’t make music for myself anymore.  I make music for those who will endear themselves to it, take something from it and pass that something on.”

 

He also believes “Stand For Love” will help rekindle the importance of relationships as opposed to hook-ups.  In his opinion, establishing heartfelt connections with others transcends all age groups.

 

“You’re not always going to be 20, 30 or even 40-years-old.  Nobody’s going to be young forever. You’ll need a real relationship and that’s what R&B is traditionally meant for – for the artist to say out loud what something really is that you relate to people.  All of it is based on real relationships,” insisted Bryson.

 

His catalogue underscores his commitment to that philosophy, which includes timeless R&B hits such as “Can You Stop the Rain” and “Tonight, I Celebrate My Love” recorded with Roberta Flack. Further evidence of his devotion to love appear in his musical renditions of  “Beauty and the Beast,” sang with Celine Dion, and “A Whole New World” with Regina Belle for the movie “Aladdin.”  

 

“That’s all ‘Stand For Love’ really is – it’s a reminder that we are human beings,” explained Bryson, who credited producers Lewis and Jam with aiding him in making music to reflect that theme.

 

“You have Jimmy and Terry – who are two of the finest human beings, let alone two of the greatest music producers of all times – they understand exactly what life is and what life isn’t. It’s an odd thing to be in a relationship, musically, or in a music fellowship with two iconic human beings,” noted Bryson.

 

“The thing I noticed about them is the absence of ego and importance. They actually listen and so collaboration with them is exactly that. You can contribute as much as your skill set will take you.  They are only interested in you being all that you can be that represents you. They’re all about making your reality come true.  They are geniuses at it!”

 

Another quality Jam and Lewis possessed, said Bryson, was the ability to make him “relevant in any music conversation going on today” without comprising the integrity of his career, which he built over multiple decades.  But audiences agree that his concerns were needless because “Stand For Love” only enhances Bryson’s long history of classic hits.

 

In addition, the album’s success reassured him that he must remain true to his R&B roots.  That message was honed in him by two of his best friends.

 

“Aretha (Franklin) is one person that kept me true to my course.  She always encouraged me to hold out because she knew what I was holding out for – the same thing she had been holding out for her entire life. We tried to make that work, tried to find that thing that suits us and what suits us is very, very unique,” recalled Bryson.

 

“Also, Nancy Wilson – the single greatest jazz vocalist ever - always encouraged me to not give up about finding that thing for me. Aretha and Nancy are the two most iconic vocalists ever to me. In their genre, they reign supreme!”

 

Considering their advice, Bryson said his devotion to R&B will remain secure as well as relevant.  “Is there hope for R&B? Sure and it’s going to get better,” he declared. “Love will always be relevant. It’s an ever-changing, all-encompassing phenomenon that is constantly evolving.”

 

“Stand For Love” is available in stores and online at iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play. To learn more, visit TheRealPeaboBryson.com. 

 

Category: Cover Stories


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