Get into 'The Beat'

Brittney Palmer | 4/4/2013, 11:48 a.m.

WI: Getting to your album, this new project, "The Beat" has a Latin feel to it in addition to the R&B sound that we are used to with your previous albums, what inspired this blending of the genres?

BJ: I think I was feeling really free creatively; I was in between record labels at the time and I started working on the album before things were all sorted out with me going back to Concord so I didn't feel pressured to turn in a certain kind of album, and not pressure from the labels but pressure from myself. And I just felt really free, and I decided to take Latin music, which I also love and marrying it with the sound that I usually play (R&B) and I started getting really excited about the results, I was taking a lot of R&B music and putting Latin percussion on it, and taking some Latin songs and putting a funky back beat on it and it just turned into this kind of mashed up record.

WI: Was it difficult to do (blending the two genres)?

BJ: No, it was really fun and I think you can feel a lot of that joy and discovery in the music, and some of the tunes kind of jump out of the speakers and even now, after working on the record for so long I can still listen to it just as a listener which is kind of unusual so I'm really stoked about it.

WI: Your first single off of "The Beat": is Maker of Love featuring Raheem DeVaughn, did you know from the beginning that you wanted his voice for this particular song?

BJ: I sort of have a running list of singers that I would love to work with because every now and again I write a song that I think isn't going to be an instrumental and it needs to be a vocal song. So in the back of my mind I have this list of people that I might want to work with someday and Raheem had been on there because I have always admired his voice and this song came along and I thought this may be the one for him (Raheem DeVaughn) and I was trying to figure out how I would get ahold of him and around that same time I got a notification on Twitter that said "Raheem DeVaughn is now following you" so it was just complete luck. And I sent him a direct message on Twitter asking him if he would ever want to work together and he said "if this is really you definitely!" So after I proved to him that it was really me we exchanged info and I sent him a copy of the song, and I thought he was going to work up a demo or something but he sent me this completely finished track which is what ended up on the record so it was pretty amazing.

WI: On "The Beat" you do a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" what inspired this cover?