"Ten Minutes with...Glenn Lewis"

by Angela Douglas

On a snowy night in London town I hooked up with Grammy nominated singer-songwriter, Glenn Lewis, prior to his outstanding set at Vibe Bar, to ask him one question… "Why so long?"

A.D.: First off, I'd like to say where have you been?! It's been eight years since your debut release, World Outside My Window, why has it taken so long for us to hear from you again?

G.L.: Well, I've been in and out of different kinds of situations, and just a lot of boring business stuff. But essentially it has been me having to deal with a lot of the changes in the music game and different things like that. Though it's long overdue, I finally got in a situation where everything's been working out really well, and I have the album close to completion and ready to release in Spring 2011 and have the single coming out at the top of the year. I'm pretty excited about it.

A.D.: We were first introduced to Glenn Lewis in 2002 when your debut album hit with your distinctive smooth Stevie sound. Your track Don't You Forget It stormed to no.4 on the USA Billboard chart and you toured with Alicia Keys. Can you tell me how you felt about the LP and the whole experience?

G.L.: That was an incredible experience and opportunity. Alicia, not even just for saying sake, but Alicia is not only incredibly gifted but a really sweet individual and incredible human being. She requested for me to be a part of the tour, and I was eternally grateful for it, and we had a lot of fun.

A.D.: Did you get invited to her wedding?

G.L.: I didn't go to her wedding but I'm sure it was beautiful, especially from the pictures I've seen! But all in all it was an amazing run, and the way the album was received I couldn't have been happier. It was a great time. Leading up to that point, finally getting the opportunity to hit the world stage and people to get familiar with what I do was pretty incredible.

A.D.: You've sited Stevie Wonder as one of your influences. How was it getting invited to his radio station and him singing your song, plus getting the chance to perform with him at Air Canada Centre in 2008?

G.L.: It was pretty surreal, because as much as Stevie never gives off an air of intimidation at all, but you can't help but be in awe and be overwhelmed being around him. He's just larger than life. He's an incredible human being. To have the opportunity to meet or work with a mentor, and someone as great as Stevie is, it was pretty phenomenal and surreal.

A.D.: Your first album, included our British icon, Marsha Ambrosius, one half of the now split Floetry. It seems she had a massive input on that album, having co-written five tracks. How did that collaboration come about, and does she play a part on your new release?

G.L.: Marsha did have a massive input. We met through the production team I was working with in Philadelphia, with the whole Touch of Jazz situation before they disbanded, and we just hit it off. She and Natalie (Stewart) are amazing. Natalie has her album out right now and I'm really proud of her and the albums amazing. She's a huge talent. Having the opportunity to work with Marsha, you know we connected from the door, and she's just very versatile so when we hooked up she just picked my brain, you know, and she was like, "Glen this would be so hot if you did something like this, and you should do that." I was like, "Ok, OK, let's try it." She's such a creative spirit and so welcoming. She's grown to be a really good friend. All in all she made it really easy to work with her. On this particular album, we connected at one point but we didn't get a chance to get some work in as she was busy working on her album. She's doing her thang.

A.D.: Dre and Vidal, your old and current producers, have touched neo-soul favourites Jill Scott, Bilal, Musiq and the late great Michael Jackson. How would you describe working with them and their input on your "sound?"

G.L.: Well, Dre & Vidal are geniuses in their own right. I credit them immensely. Their body of work really speaks for itself. We have the kind of relationship where they (and they do this with every artist they work with) get into where that particular artist is at, and they cater to and customise a sound particularly for that artist where they're at, and where they think the artist should go. So they have a nice balance between your comfort zone as an artist and them being able to push the envelope and challenge you. They know me very well musically, so they always keep the challenges coming, and I've always loved that about them.

A.D.: They did very well on the first album, I'm just hoping your new release will be just as outstanding.

G.L.: You know what, I think people have plenty of good things to look forward to. I've never been one to be overly confident or toot my horn, but I definitely toot-toot on this one! Because the albums great and it's just up to the people to decide, but I really feel great about the body of work. And the hope going in was to capture something that would be a breath of fresh air for folks, and to continue to basically live towards the standards of R&B music and keeping the traditions of R&B music alive.

A.D.: Can you describe your new collection? Will it be a mix of uptempo hits and slow jams?

G.L.: It's a little bit of everything, but I'm kinda a groove person, so it's got a lot of grooves, great songs and great content. My whole thing is wanting to reach people and touch people like it was for me when I was growing up.

A.D.: I know you have a couple of unreleased albums, Back For More and Remember Me. They took up at least four years of your life to make. How do you feel about those albums and the situation surrounding them? Plus, do you think those collections will ever be available?

G.L.: I hope one day they will be. I feel great about those albums. Every artist loves the work that you do as you put your everything into it. They were great projects but due to timing and other things they didn't come. But, hopefully one day they will be available.

A.D.: As your parents were musicians, your father was the lead singer of the group Crack of Dawn, and your mother a musician, do you have musical siblings? And do you think this career path was your destiny?

G.L.: I'm actually an only child, yeah, the only one. It's funny too as them doing music I tried to pull away and do my own thing but I guess it was just in the blood and in the genes so!

A.D.: Yes, you can't fight it babe

G.L.: That's it!

Glenn Lewis' currently untitled album is released in Spring 2011. The first single from the album will be coming soon.

Catch Angie D's Diva Got Soul Show, live on www.urbanjazzradio.net Thursday 19:30-21:30 (GMT)