I’ve thought about it. Actually, I have thought about it long and hard for years. After the project was completed, I listened back to it a few dozen times lol. I did that to listen to my growth as an artist. When I was younger, singing came naturally to me, especially growing up Baptist and being in the choir. But as the saying goes, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. But you can get it back. I hired Ms. Shelly to help me with that. We went over these songs and others for nearly 10 months before I decided to record anything. Do I think it could be better? Of course, I do, but with all that I had gone through over the last two years, I would say that I did a pretty good job and I am satisfied with the outcome, and honestly, that is really all that matters. I did this for me, and no one else.
When I started writing songs for the Erogenous Zone project, two significant things happened in our culture. The Orlando Massacre happened, and everyone in the LGBT community was on heightened alert, could it happen here? I often wondered if that was going through the minds of many of my LGBT brothers and sisters around the world.
I am not going to talk about gun control and safety. Everyone already knows where I stand on that – there was press release regarding my last project stating that a portion of the sales would go to benefit the victims of gun violence. For what it’s worth, I tried to do my part.
Just a few weeks before the massacre, I had married the love of my life while we were at home in Michigan on vacation, and on our wedding night while he was sleeping, I wrote the first song Rip the Runway. I have always been the type of person to encourage and try to uplift friends, family and hell, even myself when I or we would experience difficult times.
The song is a pep-talk to myself and the billions of people around the world who aspire to do something great with their lives, mine is through my music. Some in my family would say that I am fearless, but I am just being myself. It is important to me to live and be authentic as a gay black man.
Growing up, I had people in my life that would tell me that I could not do this or that. But it was my Grandmother, who always told me “whatever you do, be the best.” She was not only one to give me those words of encouragement, my Aunt Ruth told me, “One day, you will perform in front of a sea of people.” She was right, although I did not know in what capacity. The lyric is “Rip the damn Runway, beating back naysay, rip the damn runway do it your way. Rip the damn runway does not matter what they say. Rip the damn runway, rip the damn runway.” I want people to be confident in who they are, and what they want to achieve out of life. I am so excited for people when they achieve their goals.
The second significant thing that happened was Trump being elected. I will not lie I was surprised and disappointed. What happened next was that all of a sudden LGBT rights for millions of Americans were being threatened and some even rolled back throughout the course of his tenure.
I could not, would not allow what was happening to push me back into the closet – as if I was ever in. I came out at the age of 19 and it was a huge burden lifted off from my shoulders. I wanted to write some angry songs, or maybe even talk shit about 45 – but then I decided that it was not message I wanted to put out into the world. My message is LOVE, as it has always been. I really do not know how to write anything with malice or distaste unless it was something that happened to me personally, and then I would have to respond in an angry letter or email about a service that I received.
Erogenous Zone the album is about love, and in part it is autobiographical. It is about me learning to love myself, and the love that I have for my husband. It is also about past relationships and mistakes that I had made romantically. The title track speaks about the night my husband and I met, how he wanted to get some, and I held off, and how I wanted to do things differently. It’s a beautiful story set to music.
Love Out Loud, is another song that speaks to dreams, aspirations, enjoying life and being proud of who you are. Written by myself and my husband Clayton Morgan. I know that these are not the types of songs that are being played on the radio, but if there were a lot more of these types of songs being written and did perform well on the charts I believe that we see a change in the way that people behave publicly and with each other in their personal lives. People immolate what they see and hear.
Inside Out, is a song about my discovery of self-love. I sent the lyrics to one of my Aunt’s not too long ago, and she liked them. Then she asked me, how can she love herself from inside to out. I told her, that I cannot tell her how to, I can only tell her what I did. I stopped participating in negativity with friends and or family members. I found that doing things that are pleasing to me, treating myself with respect and removing myself from people, places and things that do not serve my wellbeing.
The lyric, “With self-love I have grown, love yourself enough to let it go, love yourself from inside to out, that is really what true love is about.”
All Through the Night, is another autobiographical jam session song with elements of disco and RnB. The song is about me loving my husband, and doing so freely, and being able to shout it from the rooftops. In the past, I had found myself in relationships with men, who were not open about their sexuality with their family, and or friends. For me, that was problematic – this song is a celebration for me being able to express my love, verbally and sexually. The lyric, “Have you ever been in love before so freely? I am talking about that good love that sweeps you off your feet, my baby, my baby.”
Splendid Thing, is a song about spending time with the one you love and those intimate conversations that you share with one another and just letting your guard down, just being vulnerable with your partner. I love it because my vocal coach Ms. Shelly and my husband along with myself sang background together on this song at Luminous Sound, in Dallas, TX. The lyric, “All I need is to be with you, to let my guard down. When I’m with you, it’s a dream come, all I need is you.”
The interludes Erogenous Zone, Paradise, and The Story of Us – all of them are introductions about what comes next musically. But at the same time, I know that I have core fans that love for me to do spoken word as I did for Chocolate and This Love, I did not want to disappoint. I initially recorded Erogenous Zone interlude in October 2016, I knew what I wanted the project to be about and I had ten songs written and I was ready to go in the studio to start completing this project but life happened and the entire project was on hold, then it wasn’t and then on hold again. You know the story, no need to rehash that again.
Paradise is reminiscent of my teenage years, and early 20s about clubbing at Club Paradise in Lansing, MI. It’s a time that I wish that I could hold in a bottle. I miss the people that I speak about in this interlude.
Erogenous Zone, my erogenous zones are visual stimulation, hearing things that are being told to me in a soft whisper in my ear and touching both by giving and receiving.
The Story of Us, is about the beginning of my relationship with my husband and how I had never met anyone like him before. Most of the previous relationships that I had with men, were one-sided – it was me loving them, it was them saying that they loved me, but failed to show me in significant ways such as being very secretive about me to their family, when they had met mine – I understand it now, but it does not make it right. All of whom apologized with hopes of rekindling but I moved on. It is amazing that we – not all of the time, but most of the time that we have to go through the bullshit to get us to where we are supposed to be. That’s not to say, that you will not have any issues along the way, no relationship is perfect – but if you stick it out and work through your issues nothing would be impossible for the two of you.
Werk, is a song about clubbing, dancing and having a good time. I wrote it and I envisioned me rapping and it turned out to be ridiculous lol. So, I had approached one of my mentors, and I did not hear anything back from them. I approached two more people – one of them, said yes and then told me his fee without even hearing the song. That turned me off, so I decided not to get with them. The other was far too busy, and I did not hear back from them either. So, it took a while for me to find the person that was a perfect fit and that was Khristophe. He delivered those lines like no other one could. This was an indication that all those delays with completing the project that things happen for a reason even though you may not understand it at the time.
Dance the Night with Me, originally written by my husband and then I added additional lyrics to the song. To me, the song is about meeting someone that you find attractive at the bar or club, and you ask them to dance. I am told that this doesn’t happen anymore, it is rather sad to me – get off your damn cell phones and meet someone, I digress. It really is about connecting with other people and dancing together, putting on a show – for the crowd. I love it, it could be a ballad or a pop song. The lyric, “These are one of nights, I want you to hold me tight, lets get out on the floor show them what’s in store keep them begging for more.”
I Give My Heart to You, is a song about a relationship that show signs of trouble, and when the communication is lacking. Who hasn’t been through that? I love the chorus. The lyric, “Baby, I gave my heart to you, can’t you see? Why do we play these? Darlin’, what do you want from me? It is yours. I give my heart to you.”
Take Me, the song is sexual in nature. We are all sexual beings. It could be described as lust, too. In my thoughts, I say that you should never be afraid to ask for what you need and want in your relationship. This song reminds me of that scene in Sex and the City, with Charlotte and her tennis buddies meeting, when she was having problems in her marriage with Trey, saying how she “just wanted to be fucked” (lol). Well, sometimes you do just want to be fucked. Seriously. The song is also about fantasizing about the last time you were with the one you love. The lyric, “When I’m alone, I think of you I get excited about the things that you do. When the wind blows, I feel so exposed and now you know how the next part goes.”
Fever: Extreme’s Deep Fever Remix, this song was recorded back in June 2017, but a different version was intended for release. I wanted this album to be a dance-heavy project which it is, even with including those RnB tracks. But this song is one that I always wanted to do, even though it is probably one of the most covered songs in music history. When DJ Extreme Detroit put his hands on it, it opened up new possibilities in ways that I wanted to perform it live. I chose to stick with the original lyrics written by Eddie Cooley, and John Davenport that was originally sung by Little Willie John. It has become one of my most popular tracks on music platforms such as iTunes, Spotify and Google Play. I love the beat, as it sends me back to my roots of dancing to deep house music.
There are at least five more songs that I wanted to do for this project, but I was limited on time, and I wanted to meet my self-imposed deadline of July 26, 2019, for the release. So far, I am receiving positive reviews for the project from my peers, and lovers of dance music. I am extremely happy about that, but this project is for me by me and I am so excited to be able to share it with the world.
My inspiration for the songs on this project is wide-ranging and I am glad that my cousin and producer was able to bring them to life in such a way, that made them mine in a very unique way. My inspirations are Janet Jackson, Arnold Jarvis, Dominatrix, Chic, Little Willie John, Aaron Carl, Black Eyed Peas, and Michael Jackson.
The Erogenous Zone album goes on sale Friday, June 28, 2019, to TraxSource for a 30-day store exclusive and to the rest of the world on Friday, July 26, 2019. The album is currently under consideration for 2020 Grammys.
Preview Erogenous Zone on Reverbnation.
Pre-order on iTunes here: