Sleepy Brown: Long time coming

Singer, songwriter and Organized Noize producer Sleepy Brown finally gets to let the world hear his album, "Mr. Brown." The man that told the ladies that he liked "The way you Move" with Big Boy, stayed "So Fresh and So Clean" with Outkast and co-wrote "Waterfalls" for TLC gets to shine on his own. After some setbacks with other labels and changing release dates, Sleepy is poised to bring some soul back to the people.

craveonlineby craveonline

Sleepy Brown: Long time coming

CraveOnline: How do you feel about the finished album, Mr. Brown?

Sleepy Brown: I’m feeling great. I am happy to be with Purple Ribbon. They taking care of me and B (Outkast’s Big Boy) got my back. Once the deal was finished with this album I was very confident about it. I was happy to be at a place where they appreciated what I do.

CO: Did you do most of the production by yourself or was it produced by Organized Noize [the production company that includes Sleepy, Rico Wade and Ray Murray].

SB: I did a couple of them by myself but mostly it was Organized [Noize] together. The songs I did by myself were a song called Get 2 it and Me My Baby and My Cadillac.

CO: Me My Baby and My Cadillac is a good song.

SB: Thank you, I appreciate that

CO: Did you write most of the songs as well?

SB: Yeah. On Margarita I wrote the verses and of course Pharrell wrote the hook. The song I did the Black Eyed Peas’ back up band, Bucky Johnson We did this song called One Of Dem Nights. I co-produced and wrote it.

CO: By the way, what is the release date of the album?

SB: It was September 26th but it was moved to October 3rd.

CO: How are radio stations treating you?

SB: Beautiful. They really love Margarita. I just called Pharrell (Williams) the other day to thank him again. It’s bigger than I thought it was gonna be.

CO: How did you wind up working with the Neptunes?

SB: Actually, I met Pharrell one time when he was in Atlanta. It was about four years ago. He was at one of the nightclubs and I ran in to him and we started talking and we had a respect for each other. We said one day we would hook up. My manager Tatiana actually knows him and I told her about the time I had met him so she called him up. After that I was in L.A. one time and we hooked up again and did the song.

CO: Pharrell is really a lo-key guy.

SB: Yeah, he’s a real lo-key brother. He’s real cool.

CO: What you make is distinctly Soul music which has been somewhat missing these days. How do plan on bringing that back.

SB: It’s been missing but you have artists like Mary (J. Blige) she’s doing it. Of course I’ll bring some too.

CO: What is it about Atlanta that attracts that classic Soul sound to the artists there?

SB: I think we are like a melting pot. You can come to Atlanta and we will greet you with open arms and everything. We take on all cultures… and just put it in the gumbo and come up with our own. We love music out here. We’re very humble, we like to have fun. We do have a scene out here that’s kind of like a funky alternative scene that loves that. It’s like the same thing overseas, they love real music and we do have that here.

CO: Who did you wind up working with on the album, I heard you have [Dungeon Family singer/songwriter] Joi on there, who else?

SB: Oh yeah gotta have the sister Joi on there on the song Oh Ho Hum. Bucky Johnson is on there. This production team called Presidential Production. Carl-Mo who did The way you Move. This new artist named Pete magnet, she’s a writer. I got people that I respect and who are real cool. Mainly I did not want to have a lot of guests on there.

CO: What have been some of your favorite albums or projects that you have worked on?

SB: I got to say Ludacris. Of course TLC, those are my girls. Really Earth Wind and Fire, when I had a chance to work with them that was like a dream come true. I had a chance to work with Curtis (singer, songwriter and composer of the Superfly soundtrack) Mayfield before he passed away. As far as being a part of Organized Noize it has been one of the greatest experiences of my life.

CO: How was it like working with Curtis Mayfield?

SB: That was incredible and we did at Curtom [Curtis Mayfield’s record label and studio]. We did Goodie Mob’s (first album) Soul Food at Curtom.

CO: Really?

SB: Yeah. We did some of Outkast’s stuff… like we did Benz or Beemer (off the New Jersey Drive soundtrack) but they don’t have a studio over there anymore. The last thing we did over there was that Curtis Mayfield album. We did like two cuts on that album. That was pretty hardcore.

CO: What was it like growing up in the household of a musician?  [Sleepy Brown’s father is Jimmy Brown. Brown was the lead vocalist/saxophonist/flutist of the Atlanta based funk/jazz band Brick.]

SB: You know what it was pretty normal, because truthfully my Mom and Dad were divorced at the time. Plus my Dad was like crazy busy because Brick was everywhere. The time that I did get to spend with him was at the concerts. I would be backstage; I would see Cameo, The Commodores, Parliament, Barry White… I remember the first time I saw a rap show; it freaked me out because it was the Funk era. It’s all these Funk bands and all of sudden here comes this dude named Kurtis Blow. He gets up there with his DJ and he’s cutting get down and we are like “what the f*%& is this?” Then we hear [mimics the Kurtis Blow song “The Breaks”] and we were like oh s#!% it’s something new. I remember that whole era. The funny thing about it, that a lot of people didn’t know is that me and Jermaine Dupri grew up backstage together. His father [Manager, Producer, Van owner and former Columbia Records head, Michael Mauldin] was like the road manager for Brick. So we grew up backstage, for real.

CO: Did growing up in that environment influence the way you developed your live show?

SB: Yeah it has a lot to do with it, because I take a piece of everything with me. I’m a big fan of Marvin Gaye and I’ve studied Marvin. Just the other night on BET Jazz, they showed this old concert of Marvin Gaye and that s#%t blew me away. I’m sitting there studying this now, presentation, who he talks to the women in the crowd. I took all that with me.

CO: Are you going to be doing any touring?

SB: Actually I am about to start the Hennessey tour. I think Robin Thicke started it with this band called SA-RA, this funk band. They did the other part [of the tour] and I’m going to finish it out. So I got like five dates.

CO: Are you coming to California?

SB: Man I would love to come to Cali. I can’t wait to get out there to do something. That’s my favorite place to go. That’s one spot I would love to do a show.

CO: What kind of music are you listening to right now?

SB: I listen to a lot of old stuff. I got the, I want you album, Barry White’s Greatest Hits. But of course I got T.I., right now T.I. is my favorite rapper. I think he is the King of the South, for real. I love music period. I might listen to everything.

CO: As a producer, who has had the most impact on what you do?

SB: As far as Organized Noize we used to love the Bomb Squad [Public Enemy’s production team]. We loved everything the Bomb Squad did, from Leaders [of the New School], Public Enemy, [Ice] Cube, BBD [Bell Biv Devoe], all that. Right now, I like Pharrell, Cool and Dre, I think they’re hot. And who else (snaps fingers), uhh, my boy [that produced] Amerie’s [1 Thing]… It’s a lot of em, they sick out there for real.

CO: What are you looking to do next after this album? Are you going to do some more production?

SB:  My thing is, I’ma treat it like the artists in the 70’s treated it. Like that was the only thing they had. Of course I would love to do movies and do this and do that, but at the same time they stayed to their art; Like you couldn’t wait for another album to come out for certain artists. That’s how I want to be. I want to have that impact. These days you might get one or two albums from an artist, then next thing you don’t know where they went. That’s cool. But at the same time if you are an artist, stay to that, keep giving us that. That’s why we are in to you, that’s why we go to the record stores. A lot of artists don’t do that these days and I don’t want to be that kind of artist.

CO: People have been hearing your voice and seeing your face for a while so now they can put the name with the face and have the whole package when your album comes out.

SB: Yeah. One thing that I promise is that I am always going to do an album. I never going to be on no, I don’t know if I going to do that… Do these movies  Naw, I’m gonna do this album.

CO: The fans will appreciate that.

SB: It’s all good.

Check for Sleepy in the film Idlewild and for the album Mr. Brown on Purple Ribbon/Virgin records.