UB Interview: B. Slade Talks New Album, Inspiration + More

Three-time Grammy nominated artist, B.Slade speaks to UB, about his new self-titled project.

B.Slade ranks as a top favorite amongst A-listers. He began his journey over 20 years ago, and has since written and produced over 300 songs. B.Slade makes memorable appearances in all genres of music.

B.Slade entered the world of television and film with a bang. He wrote and produced songs for the hit Paramount TV Show “One on One”, “Of We Go” (featured on Sony Pictures’ Jennifer Lopez/Ben Afeck film “Gigli”), music for HBO Films’ “Prison Song” starring Q-Tip and Mary J. Blige, and produced a song for the BET Films original movie “The Walk”. “The Good Song 2005” was included on the soundtrack of the movie “XXX: State Of The Union” starring Ice Cube. B.Slade has also penned the theme song and incidental music for the OWN Network TV Series “Flex & Shanice”, starring husband and wife Flex Alexander and Shanice Wilson. He also wrote and co-produced Shanice’s songs “Gotta Blame Me” and “We Can Fly”, which appeared on the series, and also feature B.Slade on co-lead vocals. B.Slade later co-directed (with Logan Alexander) and choreographed the music video for “Gotta Blame Me”.

This new project clearly executes his strong musical, lyrical and visual presence. B.Slade’s music speaks to every music lover and compels his audience to move and be engaged. As a highly sought-after songwriter and producer, B.Slade has written or produced for some of the biggest artist in the industry including Chaka Khan (“I Love Myself”), Sheila E. (“Fiesta”), Faith Evans (“Paradise”), and Angie Fisher, for which he wrote and co-produced her 2014 debut smash hit single, “I.R.S.”, garnering Ms. Fisher’s first Grammy nomination and B.Slade’s third. He also co-wrote several songs on Elijah Blake’s Def Jam debut LP, including the smash hit “I Just Wanna…” and its title track, “Shadows & Diamonds”, and has been featured prominently in background vocal arrangements on several songs.

B.Slade also co-wrote and co-produced actress & singer Tisha Campbell-Martin’s single, “Steel Here”, which has received over 2,000,000 video plays on YouTube. He is credited for closely working on the entirety of Mrs. Campbell-Martin’s upcoming album release. B.Slade was instrumental in creating legendary singer Chaka Khan’s 2017 single from her own imprint, iKahn Sounds. “I Love Myself” (written and produced by B.Slade) was the lead single to introduce the world to Chaka’s own label, and was featured on the final season of Netflix’s hit show “The Get Down”. More recently, he is featured as a guest vocalist and songwriter/producer on Snoop Dogg’s upcoming gospel album, “Bible of Love”, and its lead single, “Words Are Few” was written and produced by Mr. Slade.

B. Slade spoke to Aries of UB recently about his new album and the process he took with it, working with legends, the business of music, the influence of Janet & Missy and much more!

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UrbanBridgez.com: What do you want people to get out of your new album once they hear it?
B. Slade: Whatever they want really. But liberation, boldness and fearlessness.

UrbanBridgez.com: Wonderful, this album is so great!
B. Slade: Thank you and thank you for the shout out on Twitter & saying that, it was so cool.

UrbanBridgez.com: My pleasure, it’s so funny because that was the first time of me hearing “Stay Mad” and I was just shook I had to share what I felt.
B. Slade: So that was based off your first listen? Oh wow even more crazy. You kind of confirmed what we needed to know about that song. Being that I’m rolling with that first and seeing people gravitate towards it is great.

UrbanBridgez.com: When you’re as talented as you in all genre’s, do you have a direction when you work on an album like this or do you just go with the flow?
B. Slade: I started out with Money Up that features Cream and Lorie V. Moore. They’re all just super dope talented. I didn’t even know it was going to be a full album, because I didn’t understand where I was going. I was filming something and I was getting my face done by Rodney John and that beat was playing. I started singing “I’m gonna get my money up.” At that time I thought the song was going to be called Blackopoly. That was the original working title for that track. The song has to do with a lot of making the right business choices and that it’s a new digital age. How does an independent artist ignore adversity and just work on getting enough capitol to keep investing in your company. How do I keep putting ends in the hands of people in my community, not that I have a problem with any other race or their economics. I just want what’s best for my people first. So this album was definitely for us, by us. I feel real good about how these entrepreneurs separately came together to uplift this project. It’s a group effort and it felt good to be apart of that kind of community.

And that’s what started off the album, I didn’t even know what the rest was going to be. So as I was going on I determined Blackopoly was not the direction. Because I’m living Blackopoly. I don’t necessarily have to title it that. I think the most important portion of my career to date is B. Slade. Let’s get that name established first. So it’s almost like this B. Slade album is like the equivalent to when Pronounced Toe-Nay dropped. It’s almost like this B. Slade pronounced Toe-Nay moment, if that makes sense. That album is when I crossed over and it was distributed in a major way. This is my first time as B. Slade where I’m indie, but I’m being marketed and distributed in a major way but still a free agent.

That’s the under theme of this project is, as a business man who hired people who are amazing. To release him in order for him to be an artist. I feel like I’m finally being able to be an artist. Not just behind the scenes or a producer.

UrbanBridgez.com: Speaking of single potentials, Mine In My Head, has club smash written all over it. How do you come up with the concepts and production, for songs like that?
B. Slade: I sit down at the microphone and literally make it up as I go. Like Mine In My Head, I will mumble something (sings and adlibs) the rest is don’t think just do. I use to write shit down, but I haven’t did that since I think the Diesel album. That’s when I just started sitting down at the mic and freestyling and just trusting the music and listening to what it wants to say. Most of this record was freestyling. This album is my homage to all things Oakland and area based. Musician wise, production wise, just the west coast in general but particularly northern California. I don’t think it gets it’s due on how influential it’s been to the entire planet. This album is showing them love for the inspiration that they gave me as a kid. From Tony, Toni, Tone to Oaktown’s 357 (laughs). But of course Sheila E., that’s all Oakland. Very influential to me so a lot of the songs reflect that like Autopilot was made for that and Pull Up, the remix of course was made specifically for that region.

UrbanBridgez.com: Every ballad on the album is fire, out of them what’s your favorite one right now and why?
B. Slade: Thank you! Favorite ballad on the album would have to be Don’t Fall for Me. I’ve never quite sang that way on record before. I can hear the growth as an artist in that song. It’s a very mysterious song, it has a Twilight/Halloween feel, it creeps on you like the fog. Before you know it you’re entranced by something you were not expecting. I can’t wait to shoot the visuals for that piece.

All the visuals from this era will be career defining for sure. My mission to do the videos that I’ve always wanted to do. So far, our first short film for Stay Mad is the first time that I’m actually happy from beginning to end with my visuals.

I miss the anticipation of the World Premiere, it’s like a drug to me. I don’t know where that excitement went or how it faded away, but my goal with this era is to bring back the excitement of what’s the next visual from this record going to look like.

Like did you see the new B. Slade video? Like people would say have you seen the new Missy video? You would ask because you couldn’t explain it.

I’m so excited and sorry I keep saying that but it’s just really hard to maintain myself. Knowing that this is my first time that B. Slade has had a team. Like the brand has a product management team, art department, just all the things you need to make it happen that’s facilitated by young black talent. To know that we are able to come together besides to offend each other or competing with each other. There’s so much dissension between our own people it’s good to see us come together for something positive and artistic to inspire the culture. That’s what I’m going to remember about this era, when great minds come together how much bigger an initial idea can become.

UrbanBridgez.com: On top of the new album release, you’re in the studio with everybody it seems. So we have to get the scoop on that. Of course I want the latest first on what you and Shanice have coming up?
B. Slade: Well right now we’re doing the Christmas single, it’s just our schedules right now. But ultimately I want to do a full project where she has multiple features on there. As for her own record, I’m on board and have always been on board I try to do my best to respect artists choices. Different parts of their life either cause you have to speed up or slow down the creative process. You have to allow that artist to live life so then they’ll have things to write about from a real place. Instead of just saying let’s work on something and put it out. I want this album to be for her, what this B. Slade album is for me, Shanice needs that moment. When it’s like the undeniable body of work that they have to recognize what they’ve been ignoring all this time. Once again that can only be done by someone who loves her so much, that they get everything about her and want her to succeed. I believe it’s close, we’ve been touring together and working together and collaborating in that capacity. It’s just about when she’s ready to get back and kick ass, I’m there (laughs).

UrbanBridgez.com: You guys have done some great work together, I’m excited for what’s to come.
B. Slade: Thank you, I really appreciate that. I’m really honored, it’s been a life long dream to produce a song for her. To me, her #1 let me just start with that. Like don’t ever think because we’re cool and I’m familiar with her, I’m still very much star struck when I’m around her. She’s just a beautiful spirit always. It makes your job that much easier when you’re a producer when you are able to think of anything in the world that you want to try to have this person sing and they can actually do it and in one take. She’s a beast, she’s a machine, the way she stacks her vocals is like she’s stitching on a sewing machine. So can you imagine me working with someone who I looked up to and studied and they’re in my company and trusting me with their voice and knowing that I love them unconditionally. I want her to win, it’s a dream sometimes bro.

UrbanBridgez.com: Let’s talk Janet!
B. Slade: She FaceTime me and I didn’t lose it, I kept my cool as much as possible (both laugh). But you have to understand that this is my favorite artist in the world, that I’m looking at on the other side of the screen. Not to mention that I seen her sitting front row as well for the first time in my life a week before. It inspired me again that I wanted to be on stage. God worked it out I think that I had to be that close so I could be reminded of the passion I have of me to perform on a stage of that caliber and the dancers I know and they know me and my music. So to be apart of that was like a dream come true.

Why at this point in my life, I think it’s because God knew I needed the inspiration again. To be reminded of my own artistic passion and not to get buried in my production. You can get side tracked helping other people.

You forget about your own purpose. I was starting to lose my purpose. When I saw Missy doing “She’s a Bitch” on the Hip Hop Honors, that inspired me. I needed to be inspired again. You know what I’m saying, there just isn’t a lot of greatness out there. A lot of mediocre is being celebrated as amazing, I think the word beast and amazing is just swung around like mud. Until you see someone of a Missy caliber or a Janet Jackson caliber. Don’t matter what you think, when you see them perform you are reminded of why they are superstars. They’re what we aspire to be.

UrbanBridgez.com: Tisha Campbell-Martn has always been one of my favorite celebs and her vocals are just ridiculous. How did you become apart of her new project and what can people expect musically?
B. Slade: A friend of mine was telling me that she was performing at this little spot and I said I wanted to go out an see her. So I saw her perform live and she was singing on this tiny stage like she was at the Staples Center. Just going full out and giving a full fucking show. I turned to my boy and said I know what to do with her. I know exactly what to do with her, see if she will come in the studio with me. So he mentioned it to her and she came by and I had a song waiting for her. I thought she had the song but she didn’t, so I told her we were starting with the second verse. She said ok, but I don’t know what the song is. So I just through her in the situation and didn’t give her a chance to second guess herself. After that one song, she said I want to do a whole project with you. So she let me produce the whole thing. So she got over 2 million views on YouTube, basically she went double platinum with “Steel Here.” So in this day in age for somebody who hasn’t put an album out since 1992 and come back out of nowhere and get those kind of numbers, it wasn’t because she was Gina it was something people connected with on her artistic side. It’s one of my most proud moments, I actually cried when that came out. I couldn’t believe that somebody that I actually grew up watching on TV is doing my music and believes in me. Goes on television and mentions me and promotes it and makes sure people knew who worked on it. She wasn’t ashamed of me. A lot of people that I’ve worked with won’t mention me I don’t know, I guess they’re ashamed. But she was never ashamed of who I was as a person or a producer and I’ll always thank her for that.

UrbanBridgez.com: Just make sure y’all keep us updated on the release date.
B. Slade: It’s coming soon. She’s filming now in Canada. So we’re making sure all of those components are taken care of. So that she can properly promote the piece. When I tell you, every song is a hit! I mean every fuckin song is a hit! It’s so tight, I love it. The release is on her and not me so everybody knows. All the masters and everything on my part has been turned in. It’s all on her. Just a disclaimer I’m not holding shit up (both laugh). I do see it being the first quarter of the year, how I see everything going.

UrbanBridgez.com: What are just a few of your favorite R&B albums of all time?
B. Slade: Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation period! Michael Jackson’s Dangerous, Solange’s Seat At The Table, Brandy’s Two Eleven. The default would of been Brandy’s Full Moon. That’s a template, an architect blue print, that’s something else. I’m just talking about just a body of work. Not cultural impact or influence. And to add one more Beyonce’s 4.

UrbanBridgez.com: Before we wrap, what else would you like to let your fans know?
B. Slade: Let’s talk more action this era. You’ll hear less from me but the music is going to speak louder than it’s ever spoken. I’m really hands on and don’t want people to think I’m neglecting them this era but in order for me to present it properly I have to draw that velvet rope. Let the music start speaking for a change.

UrbanBridgez.com: What would B. Slade Now, advise B. Slade 20 years ago starting on this journey?
B. Slade: The B. Slade now would tell the artist he was 20 years ago, know your worth! In that regard I’ve removed every album that B. Slade has ever done from the internet streaming services. There’s only one album you can get and that’s the one we’re speaking about right now. We need to just funnel all this attention in one direction. Fans will still be able to purchase the albums as merchandise on tours. I can stream a song, but I can’t stream an album. That’s robbery. It takes money to make the record so why am I giving this away? I’ve already given many albums away for free. At what point do I know my own worth. This album is worth the dollar that we’re asking for retail price and some. So that’s why I would say that to that younger artist, learn that lesson earlier.

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