EXCLUSIVE: Keith Sweat Talks 30 Years in Music, Vegas Residency, R&B Today, New Artists He Would Work With, More

R&B icon Keith Sweat will reach a historic milestone in 2017; he will be celebrating over three decades in music and 30 years since the release of his debut album, ‘Make It Last Forever.’ To ring in the 30-year anniversary, the multi-platinum selling hitmaker will perform a limited engagement in the Donny & Marie Showroom at Flamingo Las Vegas from Jan. 17 through Feb. 4, 2017.

Sweat released ‘Make It Last Forever’ in 1987 and followed the inaugural project with eleven more albums; his last being 2016’s ‘Dress to Impress.’ Five of his twelve LPs debuted at No. 1, and he has sold over 25 million records.

Singersroom caught up with that man we call “Fresh to Death,” and he opened up about this momentous time in his career, what his Vegas shows will be like, his feelings on R&B music today, and more.

You’ve been in the music business well over three decades, and 2017 will mark 30 years since the release of your debut album, ‘Make It Last Forever.’ What is the recipe for your longevity in music?

It’s just something I enjoy doing. I enjoy making the music. It’s something that I’ve been passionate about since a kid, so for that reason, I keep my drive alive and put out music that I think people want to hear. I try to stay consistent with time and what people have gotten to know from me. At this point, I don’t really try to stray from that.

So, Keith Sweat is taking over Vegas in 2017 to celebrate the 30-year anniversary. Tell us how this deal came about with Flamingo Las Vegas.

They reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in the residency. They came and saw two shows, and we just tried putting it together. I’m one of maybe two or three R&B acts that have been in their show, so I get the opportunity to just do what I do and hopefully make the music shine in Vegas on the strip.

How will this residency be different from your usual show outings?

I’m trying to have some variations. I’m in rehearsals now, and I’m trying a few different things. I’m not trying to do the same show I would do when I’m on tour; I’m trying to make this more theatrical. I will still have a lot of energy, but there will be a little more thought going into the process of the show. This is going to be more designed, unlike me performing live, which is more spontaneous.

You called this moment the second act of your career, can you please tell us why?

I mean, I did everything I could do the first time around, but I feel like a have more to give to the people, so the second coming is going to be just as strong, just as creative, just as energetic, just more of me. I still look the same, I still act the same, no different (lol). I just got a lot more in the system.

At this point in your career, What would Keith Sweat like to accomplish? What’s on your bucket list?

That’s complicated because I feel like I’m pretty much where I need to be. I think I put a lot out there already, so now I’m just tying the knots.

As you look back, are there any other moments or accomplishments that are as fulfilling as this 30-year feat?

The process of me getting to 30 years is an accomplishment of its own. Every year in that timeline has brought me fulfilling situations because it all adds to where I am now.

In the same vein, are there moments in your long career that you wish you could have changed?

Not at all. Everything I’ve done made me who I am and put me where I am. If I would have changed anything up, I may not be where I am today. So, I have no regrets.

Your last album was released in July, any plans for a new record?

At this moment, there are no plans for a new album. We’ll just see how things go; I might do another one, but I don’t know yet.

The R&B landscape has changed a lot since you came out, what are your feelings on R&B music today?

It’s more pop-driven now; It’s not the R&B that I knew it to be. It’s not the O’Jays; Everything is different. For the younger generation that’s doing it now, I’m cool with it because that’s what their interpretation of R&B is. My kind of R&B is considered adult contemporary or old school now. As far as R&B now, it’s not Joe, It’s not Dru Hill, It’s not Keith Sweat, but I’m not mad at what other people are doing. I can’t knock someone else for being a talented artist and doing the kind of music that they wanna do.

Are there any young artists that you listen to?

Not really, I just listen to people that got good songs out. I like trap music; I just listen to good music.

So to put you on the spot, If you had to select a new artist to do a duet album with, who would it be?

Oh man, that’s hard. I know there are people like Chris Brown that can really sing, Ne-Yo can really sing, The Weeknd can sing; It depends on the songs that we are doing.

What are your holiday plans? What’s Christmas like in your household?

I celebrate Christmas with my kids, get them gifts, make them happy and call it a day. We just have dinner together, celebrate together, and try to bring in the New Year together. Life is short baby, so we keep ourselves prayed up. I try to make sure everyone smiles.

So, as you celebrate 30 years, what advice do you have for new artists coming in the business now?

Basically, whatever you want to do, it’s there for you. Doesn’t many how many doors get shut in your face, keep that drive alive. With social media being so prominent, everybody hears and see what you do. If you’re a good artist, and your great at what you do, it’s going to be seen, and it’s going to be heard definitely.

Gary Gentles

Founder and Creator of Singersroom.com and IncredibleWork.com. Follow me on Instagram at @gary.gentles.

View all posts by Gary Gentles →