American Idol alum Ruben Studdard has announced that he will be releasing his fifth studio album, ‘Letters From Birmingham,’ on March 11th, 2012 via Shanachie Entertainment.
The Alabama native has made his way back into the studio with only one producer and one writer to work on the “entire album to create one sound.” The eleven-track project was produced by Elvis “Blac Elvis” Williams and songwriter, Harold Lilly. Between these two, they have worked with the likes of Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Angie Stone, and Luther Vandross, amongst others.
“I wanted to make an album that you could put in and not take off and it be on from start to finish,” Studdard explained. “I think we did that. I hope in the next 5 years people will still be asking me to sing ‘Love Skies.'”
On the album title, Studdard revealed that he drew his inspiration from civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr.
“Martin Luther King Jr. had this famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail and being from Birmingham, I’ve read it so many times,” he said. “We were going through the Atlanta airport one day and they have this display for Martin Luther King Jr. and it just struck me to do the album as letters.”
The upcoming album is formulated of songs in the concept of love letters, and it consists of uptempo R&B tracks, as well as the occasional ballads. Fans can currently get a taste of what to expect from the Velvet Teddy Bear with his first single, “Rock Witcha,” with R&B singer K. Michelle assisting on the background vocals. The song also serves as a cover of Bobby Brown’s 1989 hit.
Studdard also enlisted vocal powerhouse Chrisette Michele on the vivacious track “Tonight,” which he knew she would be the perfect feature for. “I’m a huge fan of Chrisette since her first album. When I heard that song I instantly said her name because it has that jazzy feel to it and I knew she would do it justice,” he said.
‘Letters From Birmingham’ will serve as a follow-up to Studdard’s 2009 project ‘Love Is.’ Studdard recently made news headlines with his divorce to wife, Zuri McCants, of three years.
Listen to the remake of the Bobby Brown classic “Rock Witcha,” the first release from the project featuring K. Michelle.