Kenny Lattimore is one of these dynamic voices that has a caressing sound that has become recognizable ever since his breakout hit ballad “For You” in 1997. The Washington, D.C. native is no stranger to the music scene having begun his musical career as the lead singer of the R&B group Maniquin while a freshmen at Howard University. The group had a short stint on Epic Records releasing the single, “I Wanna Ride,” produced by the Gap Band’s Charlie Wilson. After its lukewarm reception, Lattimore made the decision to break out on his own as a solo act and relocated to New York City, eventually signing with Columbia Records.
A year later, his self-titled album spawned two top 20 hits –”Never Too Busy” and the timeless classic “For You” on the Billboard R&B charts. In addition to being a Grammy- nominated singer and songwriter, his success continued to rise after marrying R&B singer Chante Moore. The couple released two duet CDs together and have a son from their marriage.
Since his last album release titled “Timeless” in 2008, Lattimore has been away from the music industry, dealing with a divorce and raising his son. He spent time focusing on what was more important in his life—being a full-time Dad. Never too far from his creative groove, he dove back into what was not far from his spirit—writing and singing while connecting with production team, The Sauce Boys. Now back on the scene after a seven-year hiatus, the 45-year old has a new album, “Anatomy of a Love Song,” on his own label Sincere Soul Records distributed through eOne Music Group. The single “Love Me Back” is already building steam on urban adult radio formats around the country and the Chicago Defender had a chance to chat about his new project and direction.
CD: How did you come up creatively with the new album, “Anatomy of a Love Song”?
KL: I’ve been doing a lot of covers over the last few years which was a good way for me to go through a process that I called my ‘journey back to love.’ I went through a time period after being in the business as a solo artist for 20 years where life just shifted for me. I spent more time raising my son — laying a foundation for him, being in his classroom ‘hands on’ and taking care of business for him. I lost a little focus as to how I would sound because I wasn’t recording as much. I had some of my brothers in the industry and Carvin Barias called me and said, ‘We need your voice in this industry. I think I have some songs for you.’
He came up with a song called, “Find a Way” and it began to kick off this new passion for recording and getting in there again. Prior to that, I was working with Michael Maudlin who managed me. Thank God for Michael because before this album, I did a cover album called “Timeless” but I wasn’t singing that much after this. I had come off “Duets” with Chante Moore so this was my first time getting back into the studio, feeling like I’m free again. This is what my voice sounds like.
CD: What makes this project different than the previous ones?
KL: All of the time that it took to put it together. I had focus groups to listen because I was very unsure about a lot of things. I was unsure about how I felt; I was unsure what the public was going to feel. I had focus groups in LA, Atlanta and Minneapolis. I let people listen to demos. I don’t think artists have done this before.
I wanted to feel like it was a conversation. Whenever you’re having an effective conversation, you are really hearing back from the other side prior to coming to a complete conclusion. I wanted that to take place with this album. With the reviews I’ve been seeing online, I think a connection has been made — greater than even my past albums.
CD: What makes people gravitate to your music?
KL:I think it’s a combination of things. I was that guy who said for you I’ll give a lifetime of stability and fidelity and all of this other stuff. Can we find forgiveness? I’m never too busy for you. It was just different to hear those things said by a man. It’s the romance, the lovemaking and fitting into that category of just human love across the board. I think people have gotten this from the music.
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