Friday, October 12, 2012

R. Kelly Opens Tour in Columbia Saturday

The radio volume is loud, and it’s on 24 hours a day. The station plays a variety of music, anything from pop to gospel to R&B and hip-hop.

“But I’m the only one who hears the station,” said R. Kelly, a prolific troubadour.

When he goes to the studio to record, he doesn’t have a plan. He just follows what’s in his head.

“I don’t chase it, though, but I do follow what I hear,” he said. “It’s almost like I’m stealing from myself.”

Kelly, who will kick off his tour Saturday at the Township Auditorium, has been sharing the plundered music for 20 years. During a Tuesday phone interview, Kelly, who performed at the Colonial Life Arena in June 2011, acknowledged having “anxious jitters.”

“Because I’m always excited to take the music out on the road,” he said, “because it’s the most intimate, I’m as excited as (the fans) are.”

Using an amusement park analogy, Kelly said his tour will feature schemes and gimmicks. But will it matter since, if recent history is any indication, the crowd is too involved with singing along with Kelly to be bothered by anything else. There have been moments in concerts here when Kelly put the mic down.

“Sometimes that’s when I’ve forgotten the words,” said Kelly, who also performed at the Colonial Life Arena in 2008. “It also gives me a rest. I don’t have to sing so hard. The song becomes a hymn.”

At Saturday’s show, and for the duration of the tour, Kelly said he would “try to do every song.”

Read more here:

“I’m doing sort of like the musical Evel Knievel,” he said. “I’m daring to do every song I’ve ever done.”

He clarified that he’s doing the songs written for himself. It is unfathomable that Kelly can get all of his hits into a show, even if many are squeezed into medleys. It would be impossible to include the ones written for singers such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, Ciara and Mary J. Blige. (A complete listing of Kelly’s credits, while not impossible to compile, would take a significant effort to assemble.)

Read more here:
 Kelly has written uplifting and inspirational songs such as “I Believe I Can Fly,” “The World’s Greatest,” “I Wish” and “I’m Your Angel,” the duet with Celine Dion. Then he has the sensual catalog that he’s known for, dating all the way to back to “Honey Love” and “Slow Dance (Hey Mr. DJ)” off “Born into the 90’s,” his debut released under the name R. Kelly and Public Announcement. He also can do heartbreak, as heard in “When a Woman’s Fed Up” and “I Can’t Sleep Baby (If I).”

“The inspirational songs, that’s nothing but the momma’s boy in me,” Kelly said. “I didn’t want people to think, ‘He’s just a sexual singing guy.’ I am music. I really do feel I’m just music.”

Kelly’s music has copiously contributed to popular music, particularly R&B. If Kelly notches a hit song, there is anticipation that he will release a remix. Sometimes the remixes are more popular than the original version. “I Can’t Sleep Baby (If I),” which interpolated a line from Braxton’s hit “Breathe Again," as well as “Ignition” and “Feelin’ on Your Booty” immediately come to mind. The latter was remixed twice.

The original and remix for “Down Low,” a song that introduced Ronald Isley of the Isley Brothers to a younger generation of R&B listeners, was, in hindsight, an inkling of Kelly’s storytelling prowess. Isley starred as Mr. Big, a dangerous businessman. Isley marvelously reprised his role on Kelly Price’s single “Friend of Mine,” as he and Kelly engage in clever vocal interplay. (Price will perform next weekend at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.)

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:

“A lot of fun goes into them,” Kelly said about the remixes. “It’s effort of course, but it’s more fun. I love remixing. See if I can make it better or different.”

Popular R&B and hip-hop continue to amalgamate, a trend that can be traced to Kelly. It’s not a stretch to suggest that without Kelly there is no Drake, a rapper who sings just as much as he raps. In songs, Kelly can alternate between singing and cadences adopted by rappers.

“First of all, I respect both sides of the fence greatly,” Kelly said. “Not only that, I grew up around them.”

He recalled sitting on a porch on “47th and King Drive” in Chicago when he first heard Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.” He recited part of a verse.

“It really flipped me out,” he said. “By me singing, I didn’t want my music to be the typical ballad. I didn’t want to write songs. I wanted to write life. And that’s hip-hop.”

Kelly has endured beefs traditionally reserved for feuding rappers, most recently with Trey Songz. Many will recall the tour debacle involving Jay-Z that resulted in Kelly filing a lawsuit. In 2008, Kelly was acquitted after standing trial for various sex charges. This summer, he released “Soulacoaster,” a memoir that detailed abuse he endured growing up, among other revelations.

In 2010, Kelly performed “Sign of a Victory” at the opening ceremony for the 2010 World Cup. In 2011, Billboard named him the No. 1 R&B artist of the previous 25 years. “Trapped in the Closet,” Kelly’s ridiculous but captivating 22-chapter R&B serial, will resume in November, a publicist said.

On his last two albums, “Love Letter” and “Write Me Back,” Kelly tempered the sexually suggestive tones. But in recent interviews, he has said he will return to the sultry subject matter for his next release, “Black Panties.” That means more songs like “Bump N’ Grind” “Half on a Baby,” “Can We Get Up on a Room,” “Your Body’s Callin’” and the like.

Kelly’s hits are always in rotation on the radio – and on the radio in his head. R&B, he said, could use some help.

Read more here:
 “It’s alive, but it has a broken leg,” he said. “I am the healer.”

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:

No comments:

Post a Comment