When you’ve had an illustrious music legacy (and your voice is still in good condition) like Peabo Bryson, there’s only one thing to do: keep making music. From his memorable Disney duets with Regina Belle (“A Whole New World” from Aladdin) and Celine Dion (“Beauty and the Beast”) to his solo hits (“If Ever You’re in My Arms Again,” “Tonight, I Celebrate My Love”), the Grammy Award-winning artist is gearing up to release his 21st studio album titled Stand for Love. Set to arrive on August 3 via Perspective Records / Caroline, Bryson enlisted legendary production duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to create a new collection of timeless music.
“This project started with trust,” Bryson exclusively tells Rated R&B in an interview. “There’s probably not more than two other people on this planet I would have trusted with this [album] for me than Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. I knew it was the right thing to do. We set challenges for each other and those challenges were met and superseded in ways that you can only dream about. Their process was a wonderful thing for me … how involved they want you as an artist to be. They aren’t trying to make you into a cookie-cutter image or a projection of themselves. They want you to be you.”
Dubbing themselves as “music tailors,” Jimmy Jam credits his joint efforts with Terry Lewis on Stand for Love as custom for Bryson. “He’s such a quality artist,” Jam tells Rated R&B. “He’s like that fabric maker who is bringing you the best silk and the best cotton in the highest quality. So when we put those fabrics together and custom make our suits, it’s the finest suit you can buy. We can try to put that same suit on someone else but they’re not going to be able to wear it like he can wear it. Peabo can wear it with so much class and sophistication, which is what he brings to music.”
Jam adds, “And we just feel like it’s needed right now. It’s like one of those things you don’t know that you have it until all of a sudden it’s there and you’re like, ‘Whoa. Music hasn’t sounded like this in a while.’ But then there hasn’t been an artist like him. So that’s what it is. It’s a combination.”
After nearly two months “Love Like Yours and Mine,” the album’s lead single, is steadily rising on urban AC radio (No. 7) and Billboard’s Adult R&B Songs (No. 9) chart. Jam is grateful for the warm response by Bryson’s longtime fans and radio.
“I always felt like the record was perfect for the urban adult format,” says Jam. “I was very pleased at the response that we got. I already had the experience of hearing Peabo after not hearing him for a long time. I was blown away at how he sounded. So to me, that experience that I had hearing him was the experience that I think everyone had when they heard the record. Like, ‘Wow. We miss this.’ So I’m very happy that’s the way radio has reacted … that’s the way his fans have reacted. People who may have heard of Peabo but never have actually listened to him before; now all of a sudden after hearing this record are exploring his old records. It’s amazing.”
Bryson is pleased with his single’s success, even though he didn’t imagine it. “Being a person of faith, I choose to think of it as being fortunately blessed,” he says. “You can not anticipate what people will want. All you can do is pursue for excellence in what you do. The way that the industry itself on all levels have embraced this project and have embraced the single, you can’t anticipate that. You can only pray for it.”
Ahead of his new album Stand for Love, Bryson is touring across North America this summer to promote his new music and classic tunes. He will perform at the Stern Grove Festival in San Francisco on June 17. From there, he will travel across other major U.S. cities until he ends the tour on October 10 in Perry, GA.
Fans who pre-order Stand for Love now on iTunes will receive instant downloads of Bryson’s of two brand new songs: “Love Like Yours and Mine” and “All She Wants to Do Is Me,” (which premiered on Showtime’s hit series The Chi earlier this year).
Listen to “Love Like Yours and Mine” and “All She Wants to Do Is Me” below.
Upcoming Tour Dates
June 17 – San Francisco @ Stern Grove Festival
July 20 – Los Angeles @ Microsoft Theater
August 1 – Detroit @ Chene Park Amphitheater
August 3 – Willimantic, Conn. @ Jillson Square Park
Sept. 2 – Atlanta @ Mable House Barnes Amphitheater
Sept. 14 – Dallas @ Arena Theater
Oct. 6 – Las Vegas @ Orleans Hotel & Casino
Oct. 10 – Perry, Georgia @ GA National Fairgrounds