Eric Benet is The One… He is the one that makes love with his voice, he is the one that ladies love to look at, and he is the one that you won’t forget when you meet him. I have had the pleasure of interviewing Eric twice before but this interview was extremely different. Eric had a silent joy within his spirit that could only be felt not explained. Within the New Year Eric has started a new record label which will be releasing his debut album “The One”, he will be starring in his first lead role in the feature film “Trinity Goodheart” along with Erica Gluck, and he is a newly wed. He just married Manuela Testolini and they had their first baby girl together Lucia Bella. I caught up with Eric before his performance at The Shrine in Chicago to talk about “The One”
Don’t forget to check out some new music from the album “The One”. The song is titled Real Love, post a comment and let me know what you think of it.
ERIC BENET- REAL LOVE
NN: You're starting your new year off right. You have 2, no 3, new babies in your life. Your wife, your daughter and a new record label.
Eric Benet: Yes! My new record label is my baby and the first release is going to be “The One” which is the name of the album.
How does it feel starting these 3 new ventures all at once: fatherhood, record executive and husband?
Eric Benet: It feels great! …in every aspect. As a husband, I feel like I am so much wiser, stronger and more involved now to be a husband. As a record executive, I have so much wisdom in this business. I really know how to create my vision and reach people with it. With fatherhood, thinking back to when India was born, it was joyous, incredible, and wonderful. But when she was born there was also a lot of fear and doubt because I was a single father in my 20’s. Now I am in my 40’s and I am doing the fatherhood thing all over again there is no fear or doubt. There is just love, joy and bliss. Everything just feels wonderful!
NN: This seems to be a pivotal moment in your life. What are some lessons you've learned in music and love that you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
EB: Probably the biggest lesson that carries across both business and personal relationships is to be rigorously honest with yourself. Your gut usually doesn’t steer you wrong. I think I had a habit, professionally and personally, to not pay attention to my gut the way that I should. That has all changed. That is one of the things that came with wisdom. At the start of my career, I was not in the position to be vocal about the direction I wanted to go. It was a similar thing in my personal relationships; I seemed to allow my mates to let me second guess myself on what I am feeling on the inside.
NN: You have a new album out for release in May. Tell me more about “The One” and why it would differ from your other albums.
EB: For starters, I am at the peak of my game. I honestly feel like I am a better vocalist and songwriter. My perceptions of life are more developed and true. I think all of that will reflect within the music on this album. Another thing, when you subtract all the distortion, noise, and tension that you have to go through fighting with a record label over money that sucks away a lot of your creative energy. All that’s gone now! Since I own a record label now, I have new problems. [laughs] I have new ways to figure out how to pay for things. However, I much prefer it this way!
- Photos by Leroy Burton of LSB Media
What 3 songs from the album are you excited for your fans to hear?
EB: Um.. well there is actually… There is a song called…wait [laugh] I don’t think I am going to give you that information. That was close. [Nekia Nichelle & Eric laughing] You almost had me! That was good! You almost had me.
NN: The One will be released off of your new label Jordan House Records.... Are there any other artists that will be releasing any new projects through Jordan House....namely India, your eldest daughter?
Eric: Yes! India, is doing great things in music. She is incredibly talented. I would love for India to be one of the next artists on Jordan House Records. However, I am doing my best to keep her focused on school right now and she is. I am going to let her concentrate on that and graduate. The priority right now is the record “The One” and once that’s released I would definitely like to sign one or two artists.
NN: Speaking of India, how does she feel being a BIG sister?
Eric: She loves Lucia! It’s just that she has hasn’t been around much. She has her studio, a job and is attending school. She spends a lot of time on the go but she loves her baby sister.
NN: You always seem to remain "True to Yourself”. Can you give advice to upcoming artists on balancing remaining true to themselves & pursuing their goals especially in the music business?
Eric: When I made that album, I made a conscious decision in my music career that that’s how I am going to approach it. “True To Myself” was my first solo album, but I also had the history of getting signed to a record label and making an album that was kind of me but more of a hodge-podge. It was what the label wanted to do versus what I wanted to do, which is the album I did with my sister, “Benet”. We were dropped and that album didn’t go anywhere. Once I had the opportunity to do my solo thing, I named the album “True To Myself” because I knew that if I wanted to do this I can’t do it that way any more. I have to be wise enough to listen to other people’s opinions that I respect but at the end of the day I have to make my own creative choices. So if I had it any pointers to any upcoming artist I would tell them “Whatever that passion was that made you want to pursue your craft, you keep listening to that inner passion. Take other peoples advice in consideration but let the loudest voice be yours!”
Make sure you purchase your copy of “The One” slated to hit music shelves in May.