Chuck Harmony – R&B’s Chief Ambassador

Grammy Award winning producer Chuck Harmony has one goal and that’s reintroducing the “swag” to rhythm and blues. No, he is not attempting to create a new dance move or change the fashion style; rather he is assembling a group of R&B ambassadors that fans from all genres will view as icons.

In his recent interview with Singersroom, Harmony discusses the pitfalls hurting the R&B genre, connecting with youth culture, the Grammy awards cutting R&B brackets and much more.

Grammy’s Downsizing R&B Categories… I think they should have left if open for both sexes. It gives people more of an opportunity to actually win a prestige award. What they’re really doing, especially in black music, by consolidating, deserving people won’t even get an opportunity to be nominated because it is so consolidated.

I doubt that it will push people to do that (create better music). I don’t know people [outside] of Kanye [West] that go in the studio and be like I’m gonna make this hit so I can get this Grammy. I think Grammys are an afterthought. It is unfortunate that so many deserving people will not get an opportunity because they have consolidated a specific genre of music. It was not all across the board.

The Industry Killing R&B… We did it to ourselves, we let the genre die. What happen was so many of our talented people stepped on the Pop train and they forsaken their own music. We all just jumped on the Pop train because we thought that was winning. It was winning but I think we owe it to ourselves and to a genre we actually created to keep it moving.

We have not had a lot of ambassadors for R&B. Like Kanye [West] and Jay-Z, all them guys are ambassadors for rap. Drake is the new generation and Nicki Minaj is the new generation of rap. We don’t have that in R&B. It is kind of an afterthought.

R&B Should Look Like… I think R&B just needs to be fly again. We need to get some young fly people doing it. A lot of times, the R&B artists at this stage are older in age, they’re like in their late twenties/early thirties. Imagine if Rihanna was doing R&B; she’s young, she’s fly, she don’t give a sh*t. If that was in an R&B format, it would win. We have to introduce it to the young people.

Difference between R&B and Pop… The difference is the soul element. Music is music and to classify music to me is actually a sin but in that classification, the one thing that makes R&B different is the soul element of it. At a certain point, we were so against the neo-soul movement that we took soul out of R&B music and it just became Pop music. You can tell that in the evolution of artist…a lot people started off R&B and went Pop.

Neo-soul A Bad Word… To a lot of people, including myself, neo-soul is a bad word because I look at it like soul is soul. I don’t know what the hell neo-soul is but soul is soul music. Even though the founders of neo-soul were D’Angelo and Erykah Badu, they weren’t neo-soul they were soul people.

New Enterprise Plan… I am looking to literally put R&B on my back and try to be one of the ambassadors. I know I can’t do it by myself but I can be one person that finds a young a hot something. Making those same great songs I have been making throughout my career but just putting them on somebody young, hip and fly. And try to introduce it to the eighteen and nineteen year olds.

Importance of Capturing 18-21 Year Olds… Because people look to them to determine what is fly. The people I work with, I really believe they are fly, I really believe they can sell a billion records but I think people look to eighteen or nineteen year olds to determine what is hip and cool now. Really thirty years olds are cool, forty year olds are cool but a lot of times, especially in black music, [people lose interest in older acts]. Look at white music; Dave Matthews is still cool, playing the guitar and being forty whatever is cool to the younger generation.

R&B Lifestyle Elements… It’s even less about the song and more about the lifestyle. We got to a point where it is not cool to be an R&B singer. It is not cool to listen to it. It’s cool to listen to Lil Wayne; that is some stuff we have to bring back to the table; the artistry and lifestyle.

I believe as it relates to a female artist, we have to bring the diva back. You remember when Mariah Carey was diva, Whitney Houston was a diva, Toni Braxton was a diva, like people wanted to be them. Now people go to BB and Aldo and get styled up and they look like anybody else walking down the street. Nobody wants to be that. I feel like we have to bring that back, that whole persona to black music.
Backing His Words… You damn right, anything that comes from my studio I believe in it. I will put it out myself. That is why we make money. The difference between people today and the moguls back in the day; Master P and the Puff Daddy and all them were not scared to spend their own money to put sh*t out themselves or get themselves hot and have the record label come.

There is $$$ in Soul… I really feel like the tides are changing because people are really not selling records. What we thought was working is really not working that well. So they searching and they have to come back to something. Then you have soul artist like Adele twelve/thirteen million records worldwide. She made big impression on the music business this year. That soul sh*t; we may have to revisit that!

—— By: Interview By Staff


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