An Open Mind Opens Doors for Gerald Levert

Posted in MusicWorld on April 30, 2000 by
Gerald Levert never was one to ride on rep - not the one he's carved for himself as a top tier R&B singer/songwriter, producer and businessman, or the one he inherited from dad Eddie, an original member of O'Jays. Change, according to Levert, is a key part of his game. "You always have to be open, and look to what's out there," he says. "A lot of artists have died on the vine because they became too close-minded. My music has always evolved."

Fans looking to check out the current state of his artistic imagination need look no further than G," Levert's new release on the eastwest/Elektra label. Classic R&B feels and masterful storytelling permeate this 14-track recording. Focusing on detail is a critical part of Levert's songwriting process. "There's only so many stories; you have to really focus and try to give something a new twist, or that personal touch," says the artist, who co-wrote all of the material. The skills of writing and production partners Darrell "Delite" Allamby and Edwin "Tony" Nicholas are also prominently featured on G.

Though he's only 33, Gerald Levert's position in the soul pantheon has already been firmly established. Private Line, his debut solo album, was released in 1991. A pair of number one R&B hits off this recording, and the platinum follow-up album, Groove On - which included the David Foster produced hit single "I'd Give Anything" - led to a number of projects, including the deeply felt Father & Son album, recorded with his dad. This recording cemented a family tie that turned musical very early in Gerald's life. His earliest memories include mental snapshots of his father wowing audiences with steps and singing.

Wringing passion from his soulful baritone came naturally, but Gerald found that putting over a song took a bit of study. "I used to sing these passionate songs and get down on the floor and all that, to let the audience know I was working it," he recalls. "And then I'd watch my dad go out and just sing the song, feeling, it, and get three times the reaction I did. He had the wisdom. I'm at the time in my life where I understand."

G is ripe fruit for his loyal fan base, but the ever-moving Gerald Levert has created the work and turned his mind to the future. Plans for the next decade or so? "Peace of mind," he says. "I always wish that for everybody."