In 2000, ladies everywhere were introduced to the then twenty-two year-old R&B singer, Avant. And in the span of eight years, the multi-platinum selling artist shared his sensual thoughts and brought us ecstasy. He read our minds and told us through lullaby exactly what we wanted to hear—in just four minutes. After four albums, the singer, writer, producer and actor reintroduces himself matured, reassured, still sexy and under a new label—self-titled, Avant.
Clutch had the pleasure to chat with Mr. Avant about his new album, French pedicures and making breakfast…
Clutch: Hey there! What’s going on!
Avant: What’s up, what’s up!
Clutch: How’s your day going?
Avant: Good! I just jumped out the shower, took the garbage out. I’m in Ohio right now and it’s cold!
Clutch: Yeah, it’s getting cold out there…but I see you’re keeping it hot! I just saw your new video, “Break Ya Back (In a Good Way)“!
Avant: (Laughing) Thank you.
Clutch: It’s been a minute since we last heard from you…about two years. What have you been up to?
Avant: It’s been two years and basically I was doing the movie thing along with working on the album. I was in Barbershop II, I’m also in the play, Love in the Nick of Tyme with Morris Chestnut. I’ve been trying to open up more avenues for myself. I’ve been trying to get back into the music game which has been a process of the last two years. Now, I’m with Capitol Records and very happy to be here. I feel the focus this time [of Capitol] is on AV’s album.
Clutch: Now that you’ve completed your first project with Capitol Records, do you feel that you’re on a better track now and how so?
Avant: Most definitely. I can’t be mad at Geffen Records because I got ten hits with them. I just felt I could go to the next level with them seeing my vision and direction, giving me priority.
Clutch: Avant is your fifth studio album. You’ve mentioned that the self-titled album is a reflection of who you are now as an artist. Who are you now?
Avant: It’s 2008. My first album was in 2000 and that entailed learning; learning with the second album and learning with the third. The fourth album, Director, showed people who I was in the music. This album is more of the same: the direction, new producers. We’ve got Snoop on this one, Dontae Winslow aka The Metaphysician, The Architects who worked on one of Missy Elliot’s singles. I’m basically trying to open up different doors and opportunities dealing with different producers and different sounds while having fun. I want to give the fans something that they can really enjoy.
Clutch: Artists are always compared to someone else, but I can always distinguish an Avant record.
Avant: Thank you. I feel there’s always going to be a need for reality music…the sultry, the sexy music.
Clutch: Exactly! And it says a lot when you came out in 2000 and it’s now 2008, and folks can still anticipate an Avant album…
A: That’s right. I’m really blessed to have a fan base like that.
Clutch: I feel that your fan base can always count on you for those sultry records. Do we get any Don’t Say No, Say Yes’ or Read Your Minds in this album?
Avant: Most definitely! I got some different songs on there too though, some up-tempo tracks. I got a song called, “French Pedicure” because I got a foot fetish (laughs). I’m still giving you that sexual, sultry Avant. I’m here to let the young lady know that we [men] appreciate you even though we don’t always act like it.
Clutch: In “When It Hurts” you say, “I wanna change people’s definition of love.” What do you mean by that?
Avant: Sometimes you’ve talked to your parents about the situations they’ve been through. But it’s a new day in age and some people can’t deal with more or less. I want to change the definition of someone’s pain. For example, I may not think it’s that bad if a lady hangs with a coworker but she may think differently if I do it. What hurts one person may not hurt another, and when you’re with someone you have to ask is it worth it to leave? The good and bad—they come together.
Let’s change the definition of what someone’s pain is…what love is.
Clutch: You know I’ve never seen you looking less than debonair. You’re very kempt!
Avant: (Laughs) Thank you, thank you.
Clutch: I loved the pea-coat on the cover of Director (2006). It reminded me of Marvin Gaye’s look on the What’s Going On cover. Do you know what I’m talking about…the popped collar?
Avant: Yeah, it was fun to go back and relive that Marvin Gaye vibe. I was actually on the freeway and saw that picture. I wanted to give it a 2006 type of vibe for that one.
Clutch:This album will make great stocking stuffers, December 9th, just before the holidays…
Avant: Yes! That’s what I was thinking! One for the house, one for the car.
Clutch: Speaking of stocking stuffers, what’s the best gift a woman’s ever given you?
Avant: Honestly, just love. My mom gave me love and opportunity. That was the biggest gift.
Clutch: And what do you think is the best gift you’ve given to a woman?
Avant: Buying my mom a house, I know she appreciated it, and I appreciate it.
Clutch: So, what’s next for Avant? What are your plans for 2009?
Avant: My whole focus is to get back into the studio. I like the films but my love is so much in music. The reason why I took the time off was because I was doing records back to back trying to build myself as an artist. When I first came out, people compared me to R. Kelly, but over the years I’ve come into my own as Avant. Again, I’m blessed that my fans really received the records and still respect the records.
Clutch: What do you have planned for the holidays?
Avant: My brother invited me over to his house in Greensville. So, I’ll be eating…sit down, have a little turkey…not to go over board because I’ve been working out…
Clutch: Oh, I know! I saw that video!
Avant: …(Laughs) and do a little singing with the family.
Clutch: Do you cook?
Avant: Do I cook? I make a mean omelet! But I don’t think that’s a good holiday meal. Definitely for breakfast! Maybe I’ll make some breakfast over the holidays.
Clutch: Do you have any resolutions for the New Year?
Avant: I have a five year-old son and I just want him to be successful. There is no blue print for him. I just want to be the best that I can be.
Clutch: Well, I’m sure all your fans and all the Clutch ladies out there will certainly be on the look out for this album and more videos from you!
Avant: Well, thank you. Where are you from?
Clutch: I’m from Memphis.
Avant: Oh Memphis! I was just out there! Tell everyone in Memphis I love y’all!