In recent weeks, Brian McKnight’s career has taken a slight shift from the conventional soulful ballads that earned him multiple Grammy Award nominations to a more mature subject matter that would land his music at a local strip club.
In light of his tongue-and-cheek, sexually infused song, “If You’re Ready To Learn” and his more recent track promoting an adult website, we thought it would be appropriate (or rather, inappropriate) enough to tap the "Anytime" crooner to talk about never doing another full-length album, why he decided to scrap his adult mixtape and five of his favorite sex-themed tracks.
What’s the current status of your adult mixtape, do you have a release date set?
I'm not actually putting out a mixtape anymore. It was never the plan in the beginning. I did something that I thought was incredibly funny [which I still do think is incredibly funny], and a lot of people showed that: one, they haven't come to see me perform in a long time; and then, number two, they take themselves way too seriously, and they think I do as well. I can't blame them, because if you only listen to the music that I've written, you could probably think that. But if you've come to see me perform in the last 10 years, you know that I use humor in all of my shows to sort of bridge the gap between all of these slow songs that I'm going to play. And at the time, I only had 40,000 followers on Twitter, but now because of this, a whole lot of things have spiraled from this situation. And now, having a chance to look back at it and really trying to analyze it, it's been a real trip to see the aftermath. Good and bad. [Laughs]
What has been the greatest take-away since releasing "If You're Ready To Learn," considering the amount of attention it has gotten, in comparison to some of your previous singles?
What that tells you is, "You know what, if you want to be a success in this business, you're going to have to speak another way to stay in people's consciousness all the time." In the world that we live in, with social media, that's what you're going to have to do. And I used to joke, "I wonder if I just go out and kill a guy today. That would probably spike my sales, incredibly." And it's so true. Of course, I didn't go kill a guy. I merely wrote a song about p***y, but there’s lots of other people out there writing them, too, it just wasn’t me. But it's been very interesting to see people's reaction.
With the adult mixtape concept now scrapped, are you working on any new material for your next studio album?
No, I don't think I'm ever going to do another one.
Well, from this standpoint, people are now only conditioned to buy one song at a time. The idea of trying to give them something and trying to keep them involved in it for that period of time is almost impossible to do now. So for me, I'm realizing now that the currency of the future is your email address, because it's the only thing that you have with you all the time. So to engage my fans and let them in on my creative process, and to be able to give them something from me every month to buy or download, the same way that I did with this song ["If You're Ready To Learn"], and people were able to get it, is the way that I'm going to do things in the future. So after 12 months, yeah, it’ll be a whole CD, but it’s going to be one song at a time that people can be genuinely invested in if they come and join Mcknight360.com.
Listen to Brian McKnight's top 5 sexual songs below.
"Sexual Healing" (Marvin Gaye) Brian McKnight: "At the time, although it doesn't seem very explicit right now, it was something that people were banning. No one had talked about sex the way that he does in that song. He even said it, 'when I get that feeling, I need sexual healing.' We're talking 1982, no one was doing that."
"Between The Sheets" (The Isley Brothers) Brian McKnight: "They're talking about actually doing the do, where people before then [just like me] never talked about sex. But here, they're talking about the actual thing."
"I Want Your Sex" (George Michael) Brian McKnight: "I like that song for the same reason as 'Between The Sheets' and 'Sexual Healing.'"
"Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can' Have None)" (Snoop Dogg) Brian McKnight: "When that song comes on, it's so groovy that you find yourself singing along with the lyrics just because of the track and then you realize what you're saying and you're like, 'man! Ain't No Fun if the homies can't have none.' [Laughs]"
"Housewife" (Dr. Dre) Brian McKnight: "It's a thing that you would never say to a woman, but they're saying it. And they're saying it in such a way that you don't think that it's wrong. Similar to what I did with 'If You're Ready To Learn.'"