Paul Brown "Love You Found Me" 10/11/10
By: Cheryl Boone
October 11, 2010
"Well it is unfortunate that a lot of these stations have sort of gone the corporate route, and in doing so are having to make a lot of changes due to the people they are trying to advertise to. It’s just a reality you know."
Paul Brown has helped make superstars out of Saxmen Boney James and Richard Elliot and worked with Peter White and even the legendary Luther Vandross. But on his current release, “Love You Found Me” Paul takes time off from producing and steps back to artist mode to create his own love story.
SJM: You are known as the “Babyface” of Smooth Jazz. How do you feel about that comparison?
Paul: I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I think basically it means that I’m primarily a producer but I also make my own records as an artist like Babyface does, and they are sort of R&B leading as well.
SJM: Of course you are one of the most sought after producers in Smooth Jazz. Do you have more of a passion for producing or recording your own music?
Paul: I got into the business to record and go out and play music and got kind of side tracked with production and engineering. That was about 20 years ago and then I just decided to start pursing it again and I like doing both. It’s a nice balance because I don’t like to be away from the house all that much so it’s perfect to produce basically 3 weeks a month and play out 1 week a month.
SJM: You’ve worked with and helped so many artists with their careers. Is there anyone one experience that stands out in your mind as a favorite?
Paul: Well I worked with Luther Vandross for 15 years and that was very monumental in my musical experience. I learned a lot from him like how to do background vocals and adlibs and how to really create a nice solid pallet for the artist to sit in and he was probably my favorite guy to work with. His voice just absolutely poured out his deepness and he was one of a kind.
SJM: From a producers stand point, what do you think of the state of smooth jazz that everyone is so concerned about?
Paul: Well it is unfortunate that a lot of these stations have sort of gone the corporate route, and in doing so are having to make a lot of changes due to the people they are trying to advertise to. It’s just a reality you know. But I think that the main guys who are involved in Smooth Jazz who really, if it comes from the heart and it is what they do and the kind of music that they like and play, I think they will be fine. I think the ones that sort of curtail their musical careers to form into the radio format are the ones who will probably not do so well at this point. You know it’s unfortunate, but I’m hoping there will be some kind of a movement toward getting some of it back. With cable radio that’s happening, but it would be nice for at least the major cities to have a good station because it really helps with gigging when the radio promotes the show. It’s a much better situation.
SJM: Your newest release, “Love You Found Me”, is packed with a little bit of something for everyone, no matter what their musical taste maybe. What was your main motivation here?
Paul: It’s kind of a love story really. My wife and I were celebrating our 30th anniversary during the making of this record and she’s never really been involved in my music and I tease her that in 30 years we have never had a musical conversation. And there are others things in life and that’s the balance that we have with each other, but this time she decided to come into the studio and help me with my vocals; she’s really into vocals. So she produced my vocals and I think it came out great. I wrote the lyrics for her basically. So it was kind of cool and the style on the record is more like what I grew up with. I wouldn’t call it Folk Music, but more Van Morrison, John Mayer, and Eric Clapton than it is West Montgomery or George Benson.
SJM: You come out of the gate with “Sugar Fish”, a bluesy cut with a little scatting, and it was collaboration with Jeff Caruthers who worked with you on White Sands. Is this partnership between you and Jeff that appeals to your music senses?
Paul: Oh yeah. He goes back to the very beginning of my career in Smooth Jazz. We were doing a lot of remixing of R&B records and when I started getting into Smooth Jazz which was the first Boney James album, “Trust”, which was back in 1990, Jeff and I had written most of the songs on that album and he also wrote 24/7 with me and Old Schoolin’. So we’ve had a long history of writing together.
SJM: “Toast and Jam” instantly makes you snap your fingers and bob your head. Boney James did co-producing with you here. What did Boney bring to this tune and how has your creative relationship changed or been enhanced throughout the years?
Paul: Yes, I was actually trying to get him to do the song “Toast and Jam” and he said I really like the way you sound on it and we got together and actually wrote it together. He helped me produce it and it was nice to just get back in the studio with Boney again. Our relationship is great. I’ve produced 9 records for him and I don’t think there is another production team in any genre that have done that may records together. The last couple he wanted to produce himself and I think an artist deserves and should try to do some stuff like that. But he and I always talk and he’s interested in what I’m doing and I’m interested in what he’s doing and I’m sure we’ll get back and do some more recording before too long.
SJM: You co-wrote “Strollin” with Euge Groove and he’s playing multiple instruments here. Richard Elliott is also featured here on sax. What a great combination of talent. How did you decide on Richard doing the sax instead of Euge?
Paul: Euge put that track together. I called him and told him I was looking for something for my record and asked if he had anything, and he had that track. He played it for me and I came up with the melody. He had already played sax on “Let Me Love You”, but I wanted to get Richard on a song, and I said I was thinking about putting him on that song and Euge said okay.
SJM: “Let Me Love You” is one of my personal favorites on “Love You Found Me”. You have strong, easy cords, but just enough sexiness with the accompanying Sax and vocals to add a just the right amount of romance. Where do you go to mentally to create just the right balance on a song like this?
Paul: Well like I said my wife was a part of the way that sound came out. I had sung songs of some of my previous albums, but never an original. So this was my first original with vocals. I really love it. I think it’s the kind of song that a lot of different artist could do. Like I said before if you like Van Morrison or John Mayer I think you’ll like that song.
SJM: Do you see yourself doing more of your own vocals in the future?
Paul: Definitely, especially if “Love You Found Me”, the song itself does as well as people are saying it’s going to do. I don’t see any reason not to and it seems like the format is going there anyway.
SJM: I’m sure you’ve heard that you have a Bob Dylan sound there?
Paul: Yeah on the song “End Of The Day” I’ve heard everything from Jackson Browne to Bob Dylan and on “The One You Lean On” I’ve been hearing Bruce Springsteen. It’s kind of funny because they are all the singers I listen to. I love Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. I like a lot of singers who aren’t really singers. They’re kind of quirky.
SJM: Your friend, Marc Antoine is heard on “Right Back At You”. What’s the difference in the two guitars that you each play and why does the sound work so well together?
Paul: Well like on “Foreign Exchange” basically you have Marc playing the nylon string guitar and I’m playing what you would call a jazz or an electric guitar, and the two sounds do work very nice together. The “Foreign Exchange” album was so much fun to make, and we had the track “Right Back At You” at that time and decided to put it on this record.
SJM: Do you have a personal favorite on “Love you Found Me”?
Paul: Ah the track “Love You Found Me”, the final track is my favorite. It’s more like free and smooth jazz and before I started getting into this genre, that’s of the kind of music I was playing and listening to more than jazz. I think it fits in well.
SJM: What do you have in the works for future productions?
Paul: I’m right in the middle of Jessy J’s third album and Euge Groove and I have been talking about songs for his next one. I’m also working with some unsigned people that I’m kind of bringing along and develop.
SJM: Now that you mentioned Indie Artists, how do you see them getting out there and heard with the industry changing?
Paul: It’s funny and ironically it’s better for those people because everybody is gonna be putting the records out themselves in a minute. I don’t think record companies are going to be able to survive so everybody is gonna be doing websites, Amazon and iTunes. I think anyone who is creative enough to make a record and has the means to do it, can put their record in the same fashion as most. Marc just put out his new one on his own label, mine came out on Shanachie and we’re going to watch and see how they parallel and what the differences are in money that they generate in sales and all. But basically everyone will be in the same boat in a couple of years.
SJM: Any parting thoughts for your fans that you want to let them know?
Paul: Well I’m trying to put together a possible Alaskan Cruise and its going to have artist slightly outside the smooth jazz thing, but stuff that’s going to work along the same lines. That will be probably May, but I’ll know more about that in the upcoming months. Just listen and buy CDs because it’s all going to go away if we don’t support it on some level.
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