Many people consider Musiq Soulchild the poster-boy for neo-soul. Or maybe the laid-back guy who sings all of the love songs. After all the labels are stripped away, he is simply a Black man in love with love and music.
What makes a Black man so special?
“Our people have been known as resourceful, powerful, strong, resilient–and the list goes on,” says Musiq. “I’m just proud to be [a part] of a race that has a legacy. That’s what makes us who we are. In spite of it all, we find a way to let our voices be heard.”
Musiq’s voice tells stories from his experiences, which are strongly influenced by the signature sound of his native city, Philadelphia. Known as the Mecca of neo-soul music, Philly is home to other artists such as Jill Scott, The Roots and Kindred the Family Soul.
Since the overflow of soul artists in recent years, no one has been successful at tagging the music genre with a name that sticks. Is it neo-soul or R&B? “I do soul music, plain and simple,” says Musiq. “People call it R&B. I do more than R&B. It’s just me expressing my soul through music.”
Musiq’s fourth album, Luvanmusiq is evidence of his evolution as an artist, but it’s also a reintroduction to fans. “There’s so much going on in R&B/soul music. I always wanted to make it clear that I’m about love,” he says. “I needed to reintroduce myself, so if I’m going to do that, people need to know that I’m about love and music.”
Musiq shares his experiences in life and love through songs like: his very first single, “Just Friends,” “Love,” his “introduction” to the music world and “Buddy,” a song about a purely sexual relationship between a man and woman.
Musiq intentionally talks about both love and sex in his albums, a concept that he thinks is key in relationships. “People need to gain an alternate perspective on sex,” he says.
In an era where R&B and Hip Hop artists talks about sex explicitly, Musiq plays it cool. “There are things that happen in life, and there are ways to talk about it,” he says. “I try to talk about things—not just love in a clichÃ© way, but there are many different sides that we have to deal with [with love]. I try to be as realistic as possible, so when you hear songs, you can relate.”
Fans can definitely relate to Musiq’s favorite track on the album and second single, “Teach Me.” It’s remained on the Billboard Charts for 37 consecutive weeks and peaked at the #2 spot.
What He Likes
Musiq is simple when it comes to women. He likes a woman who takes care of herself and has an open mind to step out of her comfort zone. More importantly, he likes a woman who is secure in herself. “If you’re comfortable in your skin, that’s what’s up,” he says. “Something about your personality will transcend the physical [appearance].”
One of the things that makes Black men so unique is their personal style. Early in his career, Musiq sported braids or a blowout and vintage t-shirts and jeans. Now the soul star is thinking more about his image. “Before, there was the vintage, 70s hand-me-down, kinda feel—the “neo-soul look” before I even knew it was the “neo-soul look,” he says. “I’ve been negligent when it comes to stepping up my fashion sense. I’m just now figuring out the kind of image that I want to have.”
Though he chooses fabrics and colors over name brand designers, Musiq says he wants to get into custom-made couture as a way to have his own fashion identity and give his fans a point of reference.
This Black man may be a Renaissance man, too. After playing a small role as himself in the hit sitcom “The Game” this season, Musiq is hoping to branch out into television and film, also.
If you don’t see Musiq on a sitcom set, he’s probably working on his next album, possibly due out in April 2008. He doesn’t believe in pumping out albums every year, but he does believe that just as times change, so should the music. “I can’t afford to take too much time off,” he says. “I gotta keep things [music] fresh.”
Fans who were looking for another single to drop from Luvanmusiq may be out of luck, but “the beautiful thing is you have the album to listen to,” according to Musiq. “I’m trying to please both crowds: the “single-getters” and the “album-getters.”
In the interim, Musiq is still touring across the country and overseas. Check out an updated tour schedule at www.myspace.com/musiqsoulchild. He also hopes to do a live album in the near future.