When R&B family act DeBarge was scoring many of their classic hits, the group's youngest sibling was taking notes on their claim to fame. Several years later, he would share—and stand alone on—the same musical stage, as the crowd passionately screamed his name: Chico DeBarge.
Success, failure and incarceration have been key elements of Chico's life. So have redemption and self-evaluation. More noticeable, however, through Chico's thirteen-year journey, is the loyal fan base that never left his side—from his self-titled debut in 1986 to Addiction (2009).
Upon the release of Addiction, Chico DeBarge managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Marvin Gaye, second chances, and "soul music."
Although your career spans two decades, it's been awhile since your last release. For some listeners, Addiction will serve as their introduction to your music. What challenges do you face when creating music that your old fans will embrace, while adding a contemporary flair to your style?
Well, the music will speak for itself. There are plenty of stories from front to back and my loyal followers are definitely going to be looking for that – a signature CD, something that will remind them of Long Time No See. When you listen to the whole album, you know that a standard is being set, from the very first note. I definitely gave this CD my all.
When you look back on the recording experience, what particular thoughts come to mind?
I really took my time with this album, and allowed it to follow a natural process. I didn't want to deliver a CD where a couple of the songs were great, but the rest of the songs were horrible [laughing]. With this CD, I feel like it was very much something that happened, not something I really made. Also, from my hiatus from 2003 up to now, it's been a long journey to this point. I'm grateful for the reception that I'm getting.
Well, the album's title definitely grabbed my attention. What life events –along this journey – inspired the title, Addiction?
Well, people can become addicted to any and every thing, you know? As far as my personal life, my addiction started when I got stabbed in 2003 and was prescribed prescription drugs. The abuse and chemical dependency that followed were things that I struggled with and eventually got over – thank God. I also had to deal with a relationship that I had with someone. She had an addiction. It was rough, so I figured that me writing about both sides of the fence would be something everyone could relate to, because if you're not addicted, you probably have someone close to you in your family that has dealt with that.