Ginuwine: Back to the Basics

Saturday, 29 August 2009 13:32 Written by  Frances Moffett

Since the 1996 release of his debut album, Ginuwine…The Bachelor, R&B singer Ginuwine has been crooning his way into the hearts of adoring fans and swooned ladies. He set the precedent for contemporary male R&B artists with his crisp dance moves, sexy lyrics and smooth voice, and now he’s back after a four-year break to remind fans of his musical prowess. With the successful release of his current album, A Man’s Thoughts, Ginuwine has stepped back into the arena ready to bring back what he feels the R&B scene has been missing.

gin2 GMO: A Man’s Thoughts has done pretty well so far. How do you feel about the success of the album?

Ginuwine: [I feel like] I’m very blessed because I’ve been gone for such a long time, and for me to still be relevant and have people come out here and support me in the state of music we are in and in the state we are in period, it’s a great thing for me. It just shows the impact that I’ve made throughout my career is still fresh in their minds, and they definitely know true R&B when they hear it and they want to support that. I just tell the fans thank you for supporting me and as long as they will have me, I will continue to give them the best that I can possibly offer. I’m just happy that I’m out here doing what I love to do.

How was this album different from previous works?

It’s fairly different because I opened up more than I ever had. I let a lot of other producers and writers come in and give me their input and had them do as much as they could versus me doing 95 percent of it like I usually do. We’ll see how it turns out, but I’ve always said that in order to stay up with the times, you have to get with the times and the times are the guys that are writing and producing now. You can’t just be stuck in your own bubble and say ‘I’m going to stick with what I know and stick with what I do.’ People change, the world changes, and people are so fickle right now, so you have to go with what’s going on right now. You don’t have to totally do a 360—as far as the sound. But you can’t have a 1996 sound with a 2009 audience. You just can’t do it.

I did 43 songs for this CD, and I wanted to make sure this was one of those albums you could listen to from the beginning to the end, and I think we achieved that. I’m very pleased with it, and I’m very anxious to see where we’ll end up. I believe that with me being in the business for going on 14 years, people know what I bring to the table and they know what to expect when they come to see me.

A lot has changed in the music industry since you released your first album. How do you feel about the R&B scene now?
It was in need—it is in need—which is why I came back because I always felt like if you’re going to complain or say anything about it, you can’t stand on the sidelines and do that. You have to get in the game and make a change and do something about it. So that’s what I wanted to do. That’s what I’m setting out to do. I just thought it was very flavor of the month. There wasn’t too much substance with it. The depth of it was not there, aside from a few artists. I just wanted to bring back that true R&B. Hopefully people can support that.

It’s been about four years since the release of your last album, Back II Da Basics. Do you feel that as a big-time artist, it’s important to take some time to just step back and be with family or pursue other interests?
Absolutely, and that’s what I did. I believe it’s most important to be with your family. There are a lot of kids and young men and young ladies out there without fathers or without a father figure playing a major role in their lives, and I just refuse to be that person. I refuse to not be in my kids’ lives. At the end of the day, family is all that you do have. When the lights go off and people stop screaming and no one is buying CDs, your family is going to be there. That’s why at the same time you have to show them that you love them at your peak; you have to show them that you love them even when times are busy, because no one wants to feel like they are the rebound, not even your family. I made a major decision when I said I wanted to take time off with my family. And those four years passed very quickly. I didn’t realize it had been four years until I actually started saying it. But watching your kids grow and doing family things and just having fun, you forget and you don’t realize how much time passes. That’s one of only reasons I was able to do another album because when it came to the label, I told them my family comes first. In everything I do, I think about my family first.


On another note, one of the greatest performers of all time, Michael Jackson, recently passed. You’ve always said that he had the biggest influence on you as an artist. How did his death affect you personally?
I felt a tremendous loss. I always felt like he was the king. He is the one that really opened doors for people. Younger guys don’t even know what would not have otherwise been opened if he did not achieve the things that he’s achieved. From day one, I said he’s one of my biggest inspirations. I think I’m one of the only artists who even tackled a song that he’s done (“She’s Out of My Life” on 1999’s 100% Ginuwine) early on when I was at my peak. I’m one of the only male artists who has proved and paid homage to a person who’s really opened the doors for many artists. I think people need to understand that and know that. There’s a lot of people right now who are just jumping on because he is MJ, but there are very few who have proven that he’s been the most significant part of their career.

To be honest, you were one of the first artists in contemporary R&B to kind of have that MJ style in your dancing, before there was Chris Brown, Omarion, etc. Do you feel like sometimes people don’t give you your props like they should?

I can say that people do know the real. People do know and understand who respected Mike, and I never really felt like I got my just due. I’ve always felt like I was being looked over. And I really feel like it has a lot to do with your team. If your team is not there, and your team is not working for you, you’re doing everything for yourself, you’re only part of the team. You’re a major part of the team, but if the business people and the people who are around you are not doing their jobs, you will get overlooked. And that’s just something you learn from and something that you grow from. You never know how God works; you never know how things work out for you. I’m just always blessed and happy that I’ve achieved what I have. It’s not proper for me to complain and that’s why I never have. You never rest on that. You continue to move on, you continue to strive to be the best and you never know what will happen.

What’s going on with your label Bag Entertainment?

Because of the state of music and the state of the entertainment business, it’s hard to get something like that off the ground when labels are not even spending money. Right now everything is going to piggyback off of me. And I don’t mind that. I think the outcome will be successful once it gets off the ground. Right now, everything is contingent upon my success. That’s just how it is. So, when I do go on the road, I’m going to bring a couple of my artists with me and introduce them to what the road is and the public, and hopefully when they do come out, people will support that. Everybody is up in arms right now because people are just not buying music like they used to. I mean, people are buying, but there are different ways to connect to people and get them to your music. It’s just a sign of the times. Times have definitely changed.

So are you working on any other new endeavors?
Right now I have a company called SPRUCE. It stands for Special People Receiving Unique Care Equally, and it’s for the mentally disabled. We supply homes for the mentally disabled and teach them everyday fundamental skills; some of them even have part-time jobs. It’s funded by me and the government. A lot of times when they turn 18, they get kicked out of their homes and a lot of the crime that’s on the streets right now is being caused by disabled people. I think that if you’re going to help somebody, you help people who really can’t help themselves or those who are really in need.

Do you think you want to do anymore movies?
I’m looking forward to doing more movies. We’re talking about a reality show. I mean everyone else is doing one; why not? (Laughs) You gotta use all avenues in order to get to different doors. That’s what I’m trying to do now. My kids are a little older now so I don’t need to be home as much. Some of them want to do something in the business. So that’s what it’s about. It’s about giving back and reaching out and having a family.

View Ginuwine's New Video Last Chance!

Frances Moffett

Frances Moffett

GMO Editor-At-Large Frances Moffett is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism. She has worked with GMO since its inception. With a love for journalism and all things writing, she is currently pursuing her master’s degree in public relations and advertising from DePaul University. Frances is also an editor at the country’s largest association management company and has written for a variety of publications, including Jet magazine, The Chicago Defender and The Chicago Reporter.

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