Brian McKnight: His X-Mas Music Keeps You Home
During our recent interview McKnight reveals the genius behind such a well-crafted Christmas album and reminds us what this holiday is all about.Brian McKnight: Keeps You Home This Holiday Season
The economy and financial markets are in turmoil, people are worried about whether they can hold on to their jobs even as bills pile up, meanwhile those with loved one in Iraq and Afghanistan have additional worries—so it is easy to forget that we're in the midst of the holiday season.
Yet R&B crooner Brian McKnight is back with his second Christmas album that's so smooth I’m willing to declare all listeners can't help but to relax, be kind and rewind during this holiday season. During our recent interview McKnight reveals the genius behind such a well-crafted Christmas album and reminds us what this holiday is all about.
BSN: What made you decide to release a Christmas album in 2008?
BM: Well I thought that 10 years was a good round number—interesting I don't even really know why I decided, I think that creatively I was in a place where I really wanted to do something to be more creative than I would be if I was making a regular Brian McKnight record and a Christmas record affords me that opportunity. And the first record I made was very contemporary sounding and over the years I realized that every year the songs each year sound like Christmas. They don't sound like songs you play all year long. They specifically sound like Christmas songs and I wanted to back that up, go back in and do it gain this way, just to do both so that if want the contemporary new songs you can get that end. If you want the traditional songs done traditionally you can get this one just Brianized a little bit (laughs).
BSN: Basically you’re saying in April, I'll be able to play this album and still love it?
BM: I don't know! I think if you’re looking for Christmas stuff.. you see that was my thinking on the last one. In ‘98 I was thinking let me have a Christmas record you can play all year long but the subject matter pretty much only works from November to January ( Laughs).
BSN: So why not just make a record that sounds the way it's supposed to sound? What set's this album a part from the slew of other albums out this year?
BM: I think that probably the only thing that sets it apart is that it's me. I sing like me, I play like me, I arrange like me, so if you like what I do, and your a fan of what I do then mine is gonna be a little different than Aretha Franklin's, or Al Jarreau’s. Although you'll love them for what they do, I think that's the difference. You have your favorite artist that do this kind of record, you’re gonna go and get it because you love that act.
BSN: What was it like recording a song with both your sons?
BM: We've actually been working together now for a couple of years; once they came into their own and figured out musically what they wanted to do. It's crazy because, in our family you kind’ a hope that your children get the gift, the way it's been passed down from generation to generation and because they have it and they're actually going to use it, and be in this business, it's a great thing to see because they actually do the work. They've learned by example. I haven't really sat down and showed them anything. I've tried to be that example and they're following that example really well.
BSN: Do you give them advice on the business?
BM: Well I think that it's all in the upbringing. They have a better benefit than I had because I'm showing them the ropes as far as the business side. They realize that this is a lot of hard work and they realize that now. I don't think they would have been ready for this two or three years ago if they were just trying to be, sort of kiddie acts. That would have been a tough thing for them to do. But now since they're closer to adulthood, I think that it’s the perfect time to start showcasing. They're gonna put out a record this summer.
BSN: How do you get into the Christmas spirit given the current state of our economy?
BM: The thing about my family is that Christmas isn't necessarily about what you get. It's really more about what you give. It's not what you give between Thanksgiving and December 25th. We try to have that attitude all year long because we're thankful for what we're able to do. We're in a position that tends to be a little better than what people end up having. So because we receive a lot, I think that more is expected of us. So the more we can help out other people and the more that we can give what we can give to other people, it would be very easy to get into that spirit if you were truly trying to give instead of receiving.
BSN: What is your favorite song on the album?
BM: I never look at an album like if there are 13 songs then there are 13 things that are made up of 13 parts. What I try to create is a mood from beginning to end. When you put this CD on when you’re with your family, when you’re trying to get into that mood, hopefully you can play the whole thing and view it as one idea. So, I've never had a favorite song. I let the people who listen to it, then they decide. If you have one, then I'm ahead of the game.