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Jodeci: Interview by Stefanie Newell

Jodeci: Interview by Stefanie Newell

By Stefanie Newell

The 1990's garnered many R&B groups. During an era dominated by New Jack Swing, Jodeci married R&B soul and Hip Hop to create a sound that is timeless even till this day. “Forever My Lady,” Jodeci's first album introduced us to two sets of brothers, all equally gifted, with roots based in the church. Jodeci maintained a firm handle on what a good love song was for the R&B/Hip Hop generation.

“Forever My Lady” the album, gave birth to many hits with songs like, “Come & Talk To Me,” “Stay,” and of course “Forever My Lady,” while “Diary of a Mad Band” kept consistent with “Cry For You,” “Feenin,” and “What About Us.” Jodeci made an impressionable impact on the R&B world with their unique sound, catchy street gear, and sexy vibe as they adopted both male and female fans alike.

I had an opportunity to talk with two members of Jodeci, Dalvin and K-Ci, who talked to me about their newest album, “Back To The Future – The Very Best of Jodeci,” as well as their future projects, artists that they are currently listening to, and the memories that they share of recording their first album together.

Stefanie: So we have K-Ci and Dalvin here, how are you guys doing today?
K-Ci: Good. What's up baby? How you doing?

Stefanie:Good. We've not seen Jodeci in quite some time, what have you been up to?
K-Ci: Trying to maintain. You've seen us, you've heard us…but we've been doing our thing. Jodeci took a break and K-Ci and Jo-Jo's duet project came out and that went very well and we want to thank everybody for that! But other than that we've just been in the studio working on Jodeci's music!

Stefanie:All right, well I'm looking forward!
K-Ci: Thank you.

Stefanie:I have to admit that “Forever My Lady” and “Diary of a Mad Band” has not left my CD player since I bought them. Let's take our readers back to before “Forever My Lady” and reacquaint them with Jodeci. I know that you guys are two sets of brothers, tell me how you met and how you got your deal?
Dalvin: It was…I don't even remember the year. What happened was…

K-Ci: It was '89.
Dalvin: It was '89 and we took a ride to New York. We had like $300 amongst us because it was four of us and we spent that by the time we got to New York. So by the time we got to New York we were broke and we checked into a hotel and we were like, “We gotta get a deal the next day.” So we looked in the yellow pages and found our favorite record company, went up there and got signed actually the same day.

Stefanie:Now I know that “Forever My Lady” and “Diary of a Mad Band” takes me back to a special time in my life. What memories does it bring back for you guys?
Dalvin: We had fun making the album! A lot of drama. A lot of craziness and fun.

K-Ci: But mostly fun though! Jodeci is the type of group - if nobody knows Jodeci - we're the type of group that we're not stuck up or nothing like that. When we record, we invite our friends and family to the studio and it's like a concert. So we just have fun when we're doing it! You know it was ups and downs. During “Diary of a Mad Band,” that's when Dalvin lost his virginity.
K-Ci & Dalvin: (laughs)
Stefanie:You didn't have to put him out there like that! (laughs)

K-Ci & Dalvin: (laughs)
That was a real exciting memory!
Stefanie:Oh really? I'm sure! (laughs)

Stefanie:You were one of the premiere soul groups of the 90's what do you think set you apart and accounted for your popularity?
Dalvin: I think as far as the music, we came out and redefined the sound of R&B at the time. Everybody thought, (before they saw us) that we were a lot older than what we were because we had a really mature sound. So it was kind of shocking both ways and I just think that we stayed the course. We didn't go out and seek a lot of outside producers or writers or guest appearances, we were just a self-contained group. I think that really set us apart as a band, not just a group.

Stefanie:You guys were relatively young when you entered the business, K-Ci I read that you were 19 years old, what have you guys learned throughout the years about the music industry?
K-Ci: We learned how important this music business is and how to maintain yourself and maintain your business. We've had a lot of ups and down, and trust me personally, I appreciate the downs more than I appreciate the ups.

Stefanie:K-Ci, your sound is very soul stirring, very gospel, can you explain that influence in your music?
K-Ci: First of all, it's God. All four of us were raised in and church and we still are being raised in church. My mother and father were gospel singers, and still are to this day, and that's all I knew. All I knew is gospel music. I don't know R&B. I don't know how to sing R&B, all I know is gospel. That's why my sound is so gospel and I'd never trade it for anything.

Stefanie:Dalvin, you are a very gifted producer. You produced one of my favorite songs “Get On Up,” are you producing for anyone else other than the band right now?
Dalvin: Actually, yeah. I just did a song with Petey Pablo and I did like seven songs with Mya. But my main focus is Jodeci. So everything I come up with that's hot, I take it to the group first. This guy name Matty Matt who is coming out I did his first two singles. He's coming out on Universal.

Stefanie:That's great! So “Back to the Future – The Very Best of Jodeci” is a collection of Jodeci's greatest hits. What are some of your favorites from the album K-Ci?
K-Ci: “Forever My Lady.”
Stefanie:“Forever My Lady?” That's my favorite too. Okay Dalvin?
Dalvin: “Cry For You” is my favorite.

Stefanie:“Cry For You,” oh I love that song! I was listening to it last night.
Dalvin: Really?
Stefanie:Yeah, you guys don't know, that song brings back so many memories for me!
Dalvin: Oh yeah, why don't you tell us?

Stefanie:High school, first loves, I just reminisce…
K-Ci: Humph! Humph! Humph!

Stefanie:My son who is eleven, and this is a true story, about two weeks ago came home and said that Jodeci was the best R&B group of all time.
K-Ci: Aw man!

Stefanie: I promise you! And he wasn't even born when Jodeci first started making albums. So Jodeci still has the ability to make an impact on kids who are listening to bands like B5 and Pretty Ricky? How does that make you feel?
Dalvin:Well I think it's like you said, you can put in “Forever My Lady” and it still sounds like it came out last week.
Stefanie:Yes it does.

Dalvin: It doesn't sound dated.
Dalvin: We didn't fall into eras like New Jack Swing and all the eras that come and go. We make music…
K-Ci: Not dissing New Jack Swing…

Dalvin: That's right, not dissing it, cause I love Teddy Riley ever since dirt, but we didn't fall into a category like a catch category as far as music.
Stefanie:Right, because I can put that “Forever My Lady” CD on now and it still sounds good in my ride! So it's hot!

Stefanie:What do you think of the current state of R&B and Hip Hop?
Dalvin: Well I'm not too happy with music right now. It's a lot of things I like, but I just think that it's like…just there. It's nothing to it. Not disrespecting anybody, but it's just me personally. I think that music is just at a standstill right now.

K-Ci: Right now, I can say that the only artist that's making me feel real R&B, real R&B is R. Kelly, number one of course. R. Kelly's doing his thing!
Stefanie:You're feeling Trapped In The Closet huh?
K-Ci: You know what? Not only that song but also you got to think about what R. Kelly has done the past 4 or 5 albums.

Dalvin: He's been consistent.
K-Ci: Yeah he's consistent. He's a real R&B singer and then I can't wait to hear this new Jodeci album!
Stefanie:Oh I can't wait either! (laughs)
K-Ci: We're just bringing it back around. I heard Guy is coming back out.

Stefanie:Really? I hadn't heard that.
K-Ci: That's the kind of music I like! I really like the effort that New Edition did when they came back out. I can appreciate that. Then you can't ever forget the late Luther Vandross.
Stefanie:That's right!
K-Ci: That's what I'm going to miss.

Stefanie:Dalvin who are you listening to right now?
Dalvin: Jodeci.

Stefanie:So you know the ladies are going to want to know, are you guys single or are you dating?
Dalvin: Very much so single! I can only speak for myself. Put that in big bold letters.

Stefanie:Dalvin, single. Got it! K-Ci?
K-Ci: I ain't put any rings on nobody's finger.

Stefanie:K-Ci it has been rumored that you and Fantasia from American Idol are cousins, any truth to that?
K-Ci: First cousins. That's my father's baby brother's only daughter.

Stefanie:What do you think of her success?
K-Ci: I love it! I'm loving it everyday! I see her videos and hear her songs on the radio. You know when I look at her, I see me.
Stefanie: Well you know you guys both have that gospel sound.
K-Ci: We do.

Stefanie:Are you guys touring in support of the album?
Dalvin: Actually our first tour date is August 21 st with Mariah Carey, T.I., the Ying Yang Twins, and Keysha Cole. It's in San Francisco. We're going to do like a thirteen-city tour.
Stefanie:Are you guys coming to Chicago?
K-Ci: Well its not booked yet. It's to be announced. Let's just put it like that.

Stefanie:Well I'll be looking for it. I'll be the first in line!
K-Ci: Thank you baby!

Stefanie:So when can we expect that new Jodeci album cause you know we are waiting?
Dalvin: In the fall.

Stefanie:Well you heard it hear first, in the fall! Thank you guys for taking time out of your schedule to talk with me.
Dalvin & K-Ci: Thank you baby!

Story and Interview by Stefanie Newell

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