Exclusive: Tony Terry Speaks to UrbanBridgez.com


Tony Terry is a graduate at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington. In 1987, he signed a recording contract with Epic/CBS Records. Tony Terry’s first single, “She’s Fly“, was released the same year, and peaked at number #10 on the Billboard R&B singles chart. “Forever Yours”, Tony Terry’s debut album for Epic, was released in 1988, and reached the Top 40 of Billboard’s R&B albums chart. The follow-up single, “Lovey Dovey“, reached number #4 on the R&B charts and “Forever Yours” climbed into the R&B Top 20.

Tony Terry’s second album, a self-titled release, included the single “With You” (his biggest hit) which reached the Top 20 of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, as well as was number #1 on the Top 10 R&B chart. “Everlasting Love“, was a number #6 R&B hit. In 1991, Tony Terry earned two Soul Train Music Award nominations for Song of the Year and Artist of the Year for “With You”, “With You” also received an American Music Award nomination.

Starting in the year 2004 Tony Terry toured internationally with Roberta Flack until 2009. In 2006 he recorded a gospel album entitled “Changed.”

Currently Tony Terry is hard at work performing and pouring his passion into his new R&B project that is due to be released soon. Terry also hosts “The Tony Terry Lover’s Lounge” which is an event held the first and third Thursday featuring live performances by Terry, with special guest speakers and performers and conversations between the audience and Terry regarding love and romance.

In this exclusive interview with UrbanBridgez.com, as apart of our anniversary interview series! Tony Terry talked to Aries about his upcoming release, how Anita Baker saved “With You,” touring, his lover’s lounge and much more!

UrbanBridgez.com: “With You” is such a classic song, did you have any idea you were recording such a timeless song when you were recording it?
Tony Terry: I knew there was something special about the song. I have an interesting story about how “With You” ended up being on my record. I was actually called into a meeting by the President of the label at the time, to convince me to not use it on the album, let alone use it as a single. Of course I felt passionately about it, the song is really simple. The thing that really connected to me was the story. So I felt being that if I was effected by the song, others would be effected by it as well. So I went to bat for it and I won the argument, because no was not acceptable. So they ended up releasing the record but with no support, but the single wouldn’t go away. It wasn’t until Anita Baker became involved as the executive producer of the video. It was divine intervention because she called me one day and I had not met her. She was telling me about the song that had awaken her the night before and I thought it was a joke, I didn’t really believe it. So she was asking me about the video and I explained to her that the label didn’t think the song would be a hit. So there wasn’t going to be a video. Anita was like man those people wouldn’t know a hit if it hit them in the forehead. So she said Terry I’m going to send you a check, I want you to shoot a video for “With You.” She hooked me up with Blair Underwood for the video, sent me a check for $50,000 and I went to LA and shot the video. The rest is history, relative to the song becoming the fabric of alot of peoples lives. The video that resulted in that conversation is the video that we all know. [video]

UrbanBridgez.com: You first came out in the age I like to call of real R&B, where artists like yourself were putting out timeless music, as an artist from that time do you ever think R&B will be back to where it once was?
Tony Terry: I hope so! I’ve been working on new music for awhile now, something is about to drop really soon I’m excited about that. But I found myself trying to make music of today. Whatever was happening, I was like let me make a song like that. Oppose to just making the type of music that I’m inspired by so that’s what I have ultimately done with this new project. I’m singing what I like to sing, my job is to sing the music with conviction and truthfulness. So I just do that and hopefully the music will effect people accordingly. I have a song called “Should A Man” that I think is a very powerful song. But I didn’t think it would effect people the way it has been effecting people the way it has on their first listen. It’s one of the more powerful songs that’s on this upcoming project.

UrbanBridgez.com: What made you decide to release the gospel CD “Changed?
Tony Terry: “Changed” was a bit of a testimony actually. I went though a period where I needed to and wanted to reconnected spiritually. At that time I wanted to tell the world about the goodness of the lord & I did. But again, I was signed to an R&B label at the time and they were not interested in doing a gospel album on me. So I asked them to let me go, I got my walking papers from the label and pursued it. I followed my passion, which was to share my journey with people so that’s what I did.

UrbanBridgez.com: Let’s talk about the new album you’re working on, what can fans expect from it?
Tony Terry: Again, I find myself trying to make music of the day. That’s somewhat the case with this record, I’m searching for new sounds. Trying to present myself in a way that is in today’s music scene. At the same time to remain classic! So it’s going to be a combination of acoustic music and the electronic synthesized sound as well. Really it’s just music… just music. I’m really excited, I have some great songs. I got songs like I mentioned before “Should A Man,” a song called “The Closest Thing To Perfect” which I absolutely love! On the more sexy side I have a song called “Bedroom Banger” (laughs). Which makes me laugh because it’s so right there, I love it!

UrbanBridgez.com: I’m looking forward to it! Your favorite CD to me is “Heart of A Man.”
Tony Terry: That’s my favorite CD too! That is my favorite CD!

UrbanBridgez.com: I felt like it was slept on.
Tony Terry: It was slept on, you know we had really good songs on that album. That album came out on the Virgin label and politics came into play. I found myself in a situation where my management didn’t get along with the upper management at the label. So why they were budding heads, my agreement with Virgin was terminated. For reasons that had nothing to do with me at all. Because of my management not getting along with them and I was signed to a production deal at the time. That was the reason I didn’t continue my career at Virgin Records. Which was unfortunate because I felt that we were off to a great start with that album.

UrbanBridgez.com: You were touring with Roberta Flack for the last five years I read, what was the best part about being out with Roberta?
Tony Terry: Well Roberta is an icon, she’s a legend! So I shared some of my musical highlights of my career with Roberta. Singing those classic duets with her, that was my gig to come out and sing duets with her. It was awesome, traveling around the world a few times. Doing command performances for heads of states, kings and princesses around the world. It was really fun, I stopped doing that in February of this year. I felt like five years was enough, I felt like it was time for me to reemerge on the scene musically in my own right. So I broke off and started working on this new CD which should be coming in the first quarter of 2010.

UrbanBridgez.com: You’ve been a apart of some great stage-plays through the years, what’s been your favorite? I personally love The Wiz.
Tony Terry: Oh you saw that?

UrbanBridgez.com: Oh yeah with Tasha Scott, Grace Jones and everybody, I loved it!
Tony Terry: Yeah that was a highlight! I was in such great company with the cast like Phebo Bryson, Grace, Cece Peniston, Tasha Scott, it was awesome. There is also another one I enjoyed that was very memorable for me, a story that was loosely based on the life of Dr. Dorothy Heights. Who was the founder of The National Council for Negro Woman. The show was called “If This Hat Could Talk,” in it I played two characters. Martin Luther King and Malcom X, it was a very, very powerful piece. It was alot of fun, it was great. And then David Talbert’s “His Woman, His Wife.” That I co stared with Malik Yoba from New York Undercover. Also Stephanie Mills, who I am a huge fan of, so it was great to share the stage with her. The chemistry between us on stage was great.

UrbanBridgez.com: What’s been one of the biggest obstacles you’ve had to face in the music industry?
Tony Terry: Staying relevant and that would be really pacific to the United States because in this business it’s like you’re hot this month and next month you’re not. A few of us stayed relevant year after year and then some fall off and become relevant again or fall off and never are heard of again. So really just trying to stay consistent, I think they key is remaining passionate. Even though I’ve been off of the scene as it relates to having records out, I’ve been working the whole time. In this music business it’s like out of sight, out of mind. I’ve been fortunate to have the ability to travel all around the world, even when I wasn’t making records.

UrbanBridgez.com: The Tony Terry Lover’s Lounge, explain what that is and how fans can check it out?
Tony Terry: It’s an interesting twist on your normal night out. What happens is, we’ll feature a musical segment, we’ll feature a spoken word artist. The whole event is entertainment, it’s a night out. But we do music and spoken word and then we turn the music off. Then we start talking about life, love and relationships. And we engage the audience in the conversation. I’m really impressed after the first event we’ve done, I’ve only done one. We’re doing another one November 19th (TONIGHT). But I have to say I was impressed with the peoples involvement. To do something new and not that talking is a new concept but when you go out to a club or a lounge to have a drink to listen to some music, you don’t expect the music to shut down and to start talking about love & relationships. I was really impressed with how involved the audience became, males and women with the conversation. We talk about everything as it relates to life, love and relationships. So this week we’re going to be talking about love triangles and should men cry. Is a man that cries a weak man or a strong man. So we’re talking about everything in relationships from A to Z, the good, bad and the ugly. While the event is a roaming event that travels, steadily right now we’re doing it in Atlanta at a place called Londzell’s Martini Lounge & Restaurant in Roswell, GA. People can find out more information about it as well as anything else I’m doing at my new website, www.tonyterryonline.com, we stream the show live. Once a month we do a live remote broadcast on radio, it’s really in interesting event.

UrbanBridgez.com: Any last words for your fans?
Tony Terry: I appreciate those of you who have been fans of mine, I really appreciate that. I’m looking forward to giving new music, looking forward to touring in the new year and I can’t wait to reconnect with people. To those who have been anticipating new music from me, I’m really looking forward to getting back out there again.