Posted On 18 Feb 2015
Tag: "Soul Train", ABC Radio, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, American Music Awards, Anytime, Back at One, Barry Manilow, BETJ, Billboard, Billboard Songwriter of The Year, Billy Flynn, BJ, Blockbuster, Blockbuster Awards, Brian McKnight, BRKN RBTZ, Buffalo, Celebrity Apprentice, Cheaper to Keep Her, CHICAGO, Christina Aguilera, Claude McKnight, college basketball, Diddy, Donald Trump, Earth Wind and Fire, Extra!, Grammy, Grammy nominations, he Brian McKnight Morning Show, I Remember You, Ice Cube, JeCaryous Johnson, Just Me, Justin Timberlake, Kenny G., Kentucky, KTWV, March Madness, Mariah Carey, Mercury Records, More Than Words, Motown Records, NAACP, NAACP Image, NAACP Image Awards, Nelly, New York, Niko, Quincy Jones, Rascal Flatts, Soul Train Awards, Sould Session Countdown with Brian McKnight, Sweeter, The Brian McKnight Show, Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Wave Smooth Jazz radio station, Willie Nelson
As an artist who needs no introduction, Brian McKnight has earned himself a spot in contemporary music history. He has released 15 albums to date, with several going 2 and 3x platinum, and he has sold over 20 million albums worldwide. In addition to being a singer, songwriter and producer, McKnight is also a multi-instrumentalist who plays nine instruments including piano, guitar, bass, drums, percussions, trombone, tuba, flugelhorn and trumpet.
In an industry known for a constantly revolving door of artists, McKnight has easily established himself with an enviable record of chart consistency, has toured successfully for over a decade, and has collaborated with performers across every genre including Quincy Jones, Justin Timberlake, Mariah Carey, Diddy, Christina Aguilera, Rascal Flatts, Nelly, Vanessa Williams, Willie Nelson and Kenny G.
Born in Buffalo, New York, McKnight’s musical career began in childhood when he became a member of his church NY choir and a bandleader for his high school, Sweet Home High School. By the age of 19, he signed his first recording deal with Mercury Records. In 1992, his self-titled album “Brian McKnight” was released followed by “I Remember You” (1995) and “Anytime” (1997). “Anytime” sold over two million copies and was nominated for a Grammy. In 199 McKnight released “Back at One” on Motown Records, which sold over three million copies.
Along with several Grammy nominations, Brian McKnight has been the recipient of American Music Awards, Soul Train Awards, NAACP Image and Blockbuster Awards, and Billboard Songwriter of The Year. He has crossed the boundaries of EVERY medium. He has hosted “Soul Session Countdown with Brian McKnight” on BETJ. In addition, “The Brian McKnight Morning Show” on KTWV the Wave Smooth Jazz radio station, was a Top 5 rated show 2 years running. In 2009 Brian started hosting his own radio show “The Brian McKnight Show” which ran in over 60 markets and was syndicated through ABC Radio. Brian also hosted his own nationally syndicated TV show “The Brian McKnight Show”
McKnight has also used his vast industry knowledge as a red carpet host for Extra! and in 2007, McKnight stepped into Broadway with a successful run as Billy Flynn in Chicago. He was also a contestant on the Donald Trump hit show “Celebrity Apprentice” and is currently touring nationwide in the JeCaryous Johnson play “Cheaper to Keep Her” with Vivica A. Fox.
In 2011, McKnight released his 14th album, entitled Just Me along with a worldwide tour and live DVD.
McKnight came back on the music scene in March of 2013 with the release of his 15th studio album entitled More Than Words featuring his new single ‘Sweeter’. Sticking to his true, soulful R&B roots that made him a household name, ‘Sweeter’ expresses the sweeter, and sexier, side of love that McKnight serenades so perfectly. McKnight is currently planning to hit the road for his tour in support of his latest album.
Mr. McKnight took some time out of his travels to answer a few questions for All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa. Read more in their engaging Q&A below:
Hi Mr. McKnight! How are you today? Where does this interview find you today and what else is on the agenda besides our interview?
BM: I’m actually in Hawaii headed back home to Los Angeles right now.
You have earned yourself quite the spot in contemporary music history, releasing 15 albums to date, an enviable record of chart consistency with several going 2 and 3x platinum and you have sold over 20 million albums worldwide. For those that are not familiar, how did your journey in music begin? Who or what was the catalyst or inspiration for you?
BM: I started out as a writer, inspired by so many different great musicians. As my demos started circulating, I generated some interest in myself as an artist. I just kept believing and refused to give up. That’s the key, you have to keep pushing forward regardless of how tough things get.
You have also crossed the boundaries of EVERY medium as a singer, song-writer, host, tv & radio host, and producer. There was “Soul Session Countdown with Brian McKnight” on BETJ, “The Brian McKnight Morning Show” on KTWV the Wave Smooth Jazz radio station, which was a Top 5 rated show 2 years running. You also hosted your own radio show, “The Brian McKnight Show” which ran over 60 markets and was syndicated through ABC Radio. Why do you enjoy the radio format? Any plans to do more radio shows in the future?
BM: I loved radio for many reasons, but mostly because of the interaction with my fans on a day to day basis. I like switching it up and doing different things and I’m grateful to have been able to take on so many different projects in radio and TV, in addition to music. I don’t have any radio plans as of right now, but we will see what the future holds.
BM: You have collaborated with performers across every genre including Quincy Jones, Justin Timberlake, Mariah Carey, Diddy, Christina Aguilera, Rascal Flatts, Nelly, Vanessa Williams, Willie Nelson and Kenny G. Who would you love to collaborate with next?
BM: I just really like creating great new music. There’s a lot of amazing talent out there and the most important factor when collaborating is that we’re on the same page musically.
Speaking of collaborations, for your 14th album, “Just Me” you made that tour a family affair this time around, and you were joined on tour by your brother Claude McKnight (Take 6) and sons BJ and Niko also known as “BRKN RBTZ” (broken robots). How was that? Do you have more plans to collaborate together on the stage and in the studio together in the future?
BM: For me, there’s nothing like performing with family. That was definitely a high point in my career. As far as doing it again, we’ll see.
What was the first album you bought for yourself?
BM: Earth Wind and Fire, I Am.
What was the first song you fell in love with growing up and why?
BM: That’s a tough question. I fell in love with music right off the bat. There is no way for me to whittle it down to one song or artist.
Who is currently in your playlist? Any artists or genres we would be surprised to find in there?
BM: I listen to just about everything from Rascal Flatts to Ice Cube and Barry Manilow. (laughs)
I love all genres of music and appreciate so many different artists, old and new.
A little birdie told me that you are a big sports fan and a huge basketball fan. What are your predictions for March Madness in college basketball?
BM: College basketball is usually up for grabs. Kentucky looks unbeatable, but you never know. That is what is so exciting about the tournament. There are so many unpredictable upsets. It will work itself out in March.
What’s on tap next for you? What are you most excited about in 2015?
BM: I am excited to see all of my fans while I tour and release my new CD in the second quarter! To find out when I’ll be coming to a city near you visit my website HERE .