I don’t think they really knew where to pigeonhole me at that time. I wasn’t totally R&B. I was a black artist who kind of had those pop elements. It took awhile to put all the elements together for an album. That wasn’t done in the best way.
Once you had your contract and got going with your singles, it wasn't all easy going by any means. You had bouts with illness and performance injuries which resulted in some setbacks. Did these experiences change your perspective on the music business, or life, in any significant ways?
I’ve been around the industry my whole life. No matter what they do, everybody has ups and downs. It just depends on the way you look at it. It would’ve been great to have more money behind me and commitment from the outset. But Steve Ripley, he’s so amazing. It was because of him pushing and pushing for me that I had the success I did. It was a joyful experience.
You’ve been quoted as saying, "I'm not a celebrity type person. I'm interested in singing and recording great music that I find from my heart and communicating that." As a result of that, you worked with a nicely varied group of writers and producers in those first few years—Stock Aitken Waterman, George McFarlane, Nick Martinelli, [and] Bruce Nazarian. Even though not all the recordings were mega hits at the time, they've all gone on to find legions of devoted listeners over the years. What was the experience like of actually making the music, hearing it played, and promoting it?
That’s what it’s all about. I’m definitely not into celebrity-itis. Just recently, I was watching an interview with Whitney Houston from the ‘80s. She was asked why she loved to sing. She said that when she sings, it’s to communicate with people and to make them feel good. That’s been my philosophy, too. I’ve been fortunate. The creative process has been a journey. To work with quality people and make music that will touch people. That’s the reason I’m only on my second album. I’ve always wanted to make sure that what I do is quality and real. It’s not fluff. I always strive to be a better artist. When I signed with CBS, I started writing. It’s an ongoing journey.
After parting with CBS, you released several independent singles: a remake of "Boogie Oogie Oogie" and "He's Got Magic" (the rare PWL mix of which is featured on your new CD, Bounce Back). An opportunity was presented to you to sign a contract with PWL. Many people associate you with that sound due to "Getting Closer." Did you feel like you were becoming a puppet of that sound?