In the world of R&B, Avant has turned out to be one of the genre's leading "new school" balladeers. The key to his success: consistency.
Staying true to the traditional elements of R&B, Avant has underpinned his repertoire with songs that speak to the universal human experience. It is no wonder, then, how he racked up a long string of timeless hits that stretch back to My Thoughts, his 2000 debut.
Upon the release of Avant's fifth eponymous album, the singer managed to find time in his busy schedule to settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry, where together they reflected on Christopher Cross, "When it Hurts," and his move to Capitol Records.
In this day and age, few male R&B artists have managed to have longevity in the business, and your current album, Avant, marks your fifth studio album in eight years. What personal or professional characteristics do you feel contributed to your success?
I can honestly say that I love R&B, you know what I'm saying? On my records, I try to stay true to the format, because the truth of the matter is some musicians tend to get carried away. You can have a wonderful, banging hip hop album – I'm a hip hop fan myself, don't get me wrong – but how many recurrent hits do you hear in hip hop, you know what I'm saying?
So I think being true to the game and saying, "Yo, this is the only format for my music." Sometimes, you just need to understand where you are in your life and know what works best for you.
As you move from album to album, how do you balance staying true to what you want to do and pushing the envelope at the same time?
I know what my fans want from me, so it's easy for me, because I can give them the slow jams and the making good love songs. And sometimes, I give them a little flavor, because everybody knows as the world spins, there's change. You always want to be in the now. You want to be what's going on. You want to make sure you continue to know what's happening in this world so you can keep up with everybody. I guess the problem with most artists is they get too deep into trying to do something that's brand new.