Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and Barry White talked about the city’s blues, sexual healing, the pusher man, and living in the ghetto. They were men that sang with their heads high about a plethora of topics. R&B in many respects has lost it’s masculinity, but artist such as Houston’s producer/songwriter TJ Boyce is not just a big “emo trip.” He is not a R&B thug, he is just a real representation of what a true southern gentleman is. Not only is TJ all man, he has the soul to back it up. We had the chance to chop it up with Mr. Boyce about tasteful sex, a man’s emotions amongst other things.
Tasteful Sex…That was not my vision for the record. Maliah did her thing and she is fine. That was not my vision for the video at all. I wanted to do something sexy; the song is “No Panties.” Something sexy, but done tastefully. I don’t really want to have the whole stripper vibe; I want people to respect the record even though it is one of those records. I consider myself a real writer; “No Panties” was really a joke at first. I was really joking when I came up with the idea, but people liked it so I went with it. It is not one of the most thought provoking lyrical records, but I think it is something all of us men can relate to. A lot of times we want to get straight to the entrÃ©e and skip the appetizer… that’s a man. I didn’t want the typical “booty” record. I wanted it to be sexy, but still have vibe [and] be banging. I also wanted to display my vocal ability. I think I was able to capture that. Me being an independent artist, I felt like I needed a record to catch people’s attention and make people talk. I think that “No Panties” in itself has a little shock value to it.
Joke of “No Panties”…When I first wrote the record I was in the studio and I called my girl. I was joking around and singing, “I don’t want to see no panties.” People heard me singing it and said you ought to write a song to that so they bugged me about it for a couple of weeks. Eventually I gave in and said okay man I am going to come up with something. As the recording process was going on I was like this thing is jamming.
Don’t Over Think… I’m a real lyricist. “No Panties” is not the most thought provoking idea I have ever come up with, but sometimes artist over think things. Music is supposed to be the soundtrack to your life, when it comes down to the bedroom, you don’t need to be really complicated.
Water Down Argument…I think that especially the way music is done today that artist should try to be as expressive as possible. When you are in the machine, meaning when you have a record deal and part of the system, a lot of times you get caught up in trying to do cookie cutter music or build something you think the label will get behind. Right now I’m an independent artist. I’m a real independent artist, everything I’m doing, I’m pushing myself. Every dollar that has been spent is TJ Boyce’s dollars so I don’t feel I’m in a position to follow anybody’s lead. I can create my own lane, but I do know that I have to be wise and smart. I’m not in the system, every shot I make has to hit. If I was a painter every painting is not going to be one type or one style. I may paint something abstract or I may paint something that is easier to understand. I think a lot of us artist over think a lot of things. I think that is one of the things that has hurt R&B, hurt urban music, hurt black music as a whole.
Greater Than a Title…I think I’m edgy. “No Panties” is an edgy record. It is not as edgy as I can go. A lot of guys aren’t singing, everybody is auto tuned up playing it real safe. I don’t like that. One of the greatest things about artists in the past was that they were very expressive; they had a lot of emotion. That is another thing that is out of the box for me. My music is more emotional than the average artist that is out there. You can feel me.
Range of Man Emotion…I think there are all types of emotions. Every emotion is not necessarily sensitivity; there are all types of emotion. There is anger, joy and pain. Our music is lacking so many emotions.
Not saying I want to be some kind of neo-soul artist. I feel like you can be a rapper and be emotional. Tupac was very emotional, that is what separates him from other rappers. That is why he is loved like he is loved cause of the emotion and vulnerability he put in his music.
Movement Toward Ubiquitous Style… I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing. I think it is good, for example everything is Hip Hop now. Hip Hop is Pop, Rock, it’s in everything and I think that is cool. But the thing I don’t think is cool when you have kids that don’t understand the history in regards to art and music. Then a particular art form dies like Jazz or like Funk. How many kids these days growing up in the hood learn how to play an instrument? Everybody wants to get on the computer and make beats with this new technology. The musicality of it is going to be lost. That is what I don’t like.
Houston Bloodline…Vocally I have a soulful edge to my sound. I am a like a new school singer with a soulful edge. I’m from the south; the soul is kind of bluesy, Muddy Waters type of flavor vocally. I can’t help it; I’m a soulful singer I think it is because I’m from the south. I grew up in church; my father was a preacher so all that flavor is in my style.
Missing Masculinity… A lot of these cats are not real guys. A lot of the masculinity in R&B is gone and I’m not any type of sexist or homophobia or anything like that. But of the sexiness, masculinity and a lot of stuff R&B stood for is missing these days. It goes back to that emotion and feeling; it’s got to be right. When you capture that emotion there is no denying it.
I always take it back to the root. When you take it to back in the day, those guys like James Brown [and] them cats were some tough dudes. They would whoop your ass! They were some real men. They just happen to sing. That is how I am. Ain’t nobody throwing bottles at me in the club, I promise you that.
Why Do You Love R&B… I love R&B because It touched my soul when I was a child. The music still affects me. It affects me emotional in a way no other music can and I want to extend the legacy of real R&B music.