There comes a time when a man must become introspective to better understand how he relates to the world. Whether his soul-searching exposes truth and wisdom that may be deemed taboo, a man can always find solace in giving voice to his personal convictions.
That man is Gerald Levert. The R&B dignitary breaks his silence to share his unadulterated thoughts about life, love and politics with the masses on his newest effort, Do I Speak For The World?
Celebrated for robust vocals and ardent lyrics, the Grammy-nominated soulster has earned a throng of loyalists since his 1985 musical inauguration as the foreman of the soulful trio, Levert. However, it was his 1991 solo debut, Private Line, which touted him as a prolific performer, songwriter and producer. Nearly 20 years later and now eight albums strong, Gerald has proven that he not only epitomizes rhythm and blues but is the genre's quintessential posterman. Both poignant and relevant, Do I Speak For the World?, aptly serves as a global musing and testament to the evolution of his artistry. At 38, the Cleveland, Ohio-born crooner is artistically liberated -- no longer suppressing his opinions and unapologetically tackling controversial issues.
"I always wanted to do a What's Going On [a la Marvin Gaye] type of album. I'm not a preacher or a politician. And I don't feel an obligation to speak for my fellowman. However, my question is does every man and woman feel the same way I do? Are you seeing the same things that I see or am I the only crazy one in this world? Are you understanding what's going on and are you trying to make the proper steps to make a change?" says the son of the O'Jays phenom Eddie Levert. "The reason I wanted to do this now is because I'm not the same person I was a year or two years ago. I'm the same entertainer, I have the same love and the same voice, but my constitution is different. I'm talking about a lot of different things like politics, not dogging it, but just trying to understand it."
Levert and co-writer/producer Darrell "Delite" Allamby deliver 16 candid musical dialogues, offering a lyrical balance that his previous projects lack. Enlisting the help of two of Black America's intelligentsia, Gerald orchestrates a forum for Dr. Cornell West and Tavis Smiley on the title-track to spew their philosophies about the state of mankind and the simple necessities required for its maturation and survival. "They gave my album the spirit it needed," explains Levert. "It speaks to the spirit of the reality that I have grown, and it isn't about how many girls or how much money I have." Amid syncopated beats, he continues to push the envelope with the thought-provoking, revolutionary anthem "Crucified," addressing issues of patriotism, activism and religion. In addition, Gerald earnestly pledges his allegiance to the improvement of life for everyone on the socially conscious inspirational "Greater Later."
For those R&B devotees who fear succumbing to a G-withdrawal, the smooth-singing velvet teddy bear provides more than a healthy crop of tantalizing, signature love songs. A master of coddling the ladies, Gerald never disappoints when it comes to sensuality. The seductive lead single "One Million Times," is an ode to the incomparable love of a special lady; while the makeup-to-breakup torcher "Lay U Down (Make It Alright)" and the remorseful "Everyday," talk about rekindling failed romances; and the obligatory "So What," pays homage to single mothers and fatherless children.
Creating legendary masterpieces has become a benchmark for Gerald's success. His laudable career has spawned scores of No. 1 hit singles, gold and platinum albums, as well as numerous accolades including several Soul Train Awards and NAACP Image Awards. Even his peers have been inspired by his artistic standard and eager to collaborate with him. In 1996, Gerald teamed with Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill to form a musical alliance that garnered the multi-platinum LSG and chart-topping partystarter "My Body." Once again, the man with the gripping baritone proved that his melodic formula was one that the industry craved. After more than a decade, Gerald has amassed a 300-plus musical archive, producing works for the industry's glitterati including the O'Jays, Barry White, Teddy Pendergrass, Patti Labelle, Stephanie Mills and The Winans. Undoubtedly, Gerald's musical journey is far from nearing the end of the road. "My father always told me, 'Don't miss your window.' This album is my window -- my time to shine. I have to be my own man... I don't know how people are going to receive it, but I hope they'll listen and feel the passion I have for this project." As he unleashes his latest musical allegory, it is evident that Gerald has embarked upon his right of passage: maturing into a pensive soulman who communicates with the world through one simple language -- the gift of song.
All about G:
Favorite Food: Spaghetti, Neck bones, and Rice
Favorite Color: Beige and Black
Favorite Song: U Got That Love (Call It a Night)
Favorite Movie: Sparkle
My Biggest Turnoff: Someone who talks too much
My Ideal Woman: Independent and understands my job and the demands of it. We have fun when we're together.
Most Important Thing to Me: My family
When I'm Not Working, I : Think about what I'm going to work on next!
Have questions about Gerald? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org!
--- from the official Gerald Levert website