The last time I interviewed you was right when you and your wife were just breaking up. Do you feel like the music industry played a part in the end of your marriage?
I don’t even really think about that now. I’m really into what this album is about, and what this album is going to explain. The album is going to explain how I feel about everything.
How did you meet your fiancee Alicia?
I’ve known Alicia for years. We met so long ago, when she was working at a dance class. She was part of a dance crew. And we just all hung out at this dance studio in L.A. We met through that. We lost connection once I got married and all of that. But once I got divorced I saw her again and it just clicked. We just hooked up. It was nothing sexual before, we just all hung out.
And she’s also helping to manage your career now?
Yeah. She’s a very smart woman. She’s worked with Macy Gray and Magic Johnson and people like that. She’s just a brilliant lady. I love her dearly. My love for her goes beyond the love I feel for anybody. We’re looking forward to having a couple more kids and getting married.
More kids? You are a real family man.
Oh definitely. I mean I come from a family of 8, so that’s all I know. My father instilled in us that family matters.
I’m glad I had a chance to meet Pops when you were shooting the reality show.
This is what I’m happy about—they had a chance to hear most of the album when I was writing. Because our family is so close they got a chance to hear it. That is a beautiful thing.
It’s unimaginable the losses that you have been through. How has music helped you get through that?
We have a very great support system in this group. It’s how we stayed together for 29 years.
Of course New Edition has had its ups and downs like any other group. There has been tension at times, break-ups and reunions. Is that all behind you now?
Oh yeah. We all look at it as God’s plan for us to be able to do everything that we’ve done. We’re the only group in history that has branched off and done other things, set up new groups and solo acts and then been able to come back together and still be a group. We were all successful on our own and we come back as a group. This is the first group that’s ever done that.
How important were the other guys in New Edition while you were going through your trials and tribulations of the past year?
Oh big support. That’s what I call real friends. We just take care of each other. That’s what friends do.
Was performing part of your process of working through the hard knocks?
Nah, nah, nah, it’s all about the music and giving people entertainment. This is what I’m built for. Built for entertaining people.
There were critics in the press who said “why is he still performing?”
Why not? This is what I do for a living. This is how I support my kids.
Where do you want to be a year from now?
A year from now is way too far for me to even think about. I’m with my boys New Edition. We’re gonna put out great music for people to listen to. Ralph is coming with his album. Johnny’s album is out. BBD’s album is coming out, and we plan on doing a New Edition album. We’re just gonna ride this till the wheels fall off. We love touring. We love being a part of people’s lives where we can bring back the memories. So that’s what we just plan on doing this year. I mean, we’re humping. We’re doing shows every night. As old as we are, we are doing two hour shows every night in different cities. It’s a beautiful thing that we can still do this. And people are coming out, we’re selling out. It’s a great thing and we’re really grateful for it.
Will your son be joining you on any of those dates?
I don’t think so. If he does it will probably be when we’re in the area of Boston, cause he’s still in college.
No college dropout.
No, it won’t be none of that. Both of my sons—Landon and Bobby—are writers. They’re prolific singers. My mom instilled it in me and I guess I instilled it in them. They’re my boys. And wait till you see my little one tap. [Laughs] He’s a monster.
Yeah my little one, Cassius. He’s a tapper, singer, slash everything.
Wait, how old is he? He’s singing already?
He’s three years old.
Well how old were you when you got put on stage with James Brown?
I was like seven. And he’ll probably get on stage a little bit earlier. He always says he needs to. He needs to go on stage. He needs to do anything. He needs to. So it’s a burning desire. I mean when he sees New Edition perform, after we come off stage he goes “Daddy it’s my turn.” So he’s ready.