10 Questions with ... Brian McKnight
July 25, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Brian McKnight has sold over 20 million albums worldwide. In addition to being a singer, songwriter and producer, McKnight is also a multi-instrumentalist who plays nine instruments including piano, guitar, bass, drums, percussions, trombone, tuba, flugelhorn and trumpet.
McKnight has collaborated with performers across every genre including Quincy Jones, Justin Timberlake, Mariah Carey, Diddy, Christina Aguilera, Rascal Flatts, Nelly, Vanessa Williams, Willie Nelson and Kenny G.
1). What was it that got you interested in music? Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
I come from a very musical family. So it's almost second nature (mostly just church) though doing it professionally seemed like I was meant to do. There are so many influences but I consider myself to be somewhere in between Stevie wonder and steely Dan.
2). What is your approach to songwriting? How do you capture the inspiration when it comes?
I try not to limit myself as to how and when and where inspiration comes it's almost like I have a radio station constantly running through my head of songs that have yet to be written.
3). What was the inspiration for your new single "Everything?"
Leilani Malia Mendoza (my better half!)
4). You recently signed with Sono Recording Group (SRG) which is a Universal subsidiary. How does this partnership compare to your original deal with Mercury?
That first deal was a traditional record dea. This deal with SRG is a for real live partnership, no fine print ... no BS!
5). You've also run your own independent label as well. How would you compare being on a major label versus being an independent?
Make no mistake, in order to succeed in this business you have to have the resources of a major label no matter how much you think you can do it on your own.
6). Please tell us about your new live concert release "An Evening With Brian McKnight" which was recorded at the Saban Theatre/Los Angeles in January and is currently being released through a PledgeMusic Campaign?
"PledgeMusic gives us a unique way to reach fans and share things we could not easily do through traditional retail. My fans are such a big part of everything I do and mean so much to me. I wanted this pre-order experience on PledgeMusic to be extra special for them. That is what this live project is all about."
This project is my first live Blue Ray DVD and CD that has three new songs, one of which is a duet with one of my all time favorite artists Gino Vanelli called "Brothers in the End " a song that really mirrors what's happening in the world today.
7). You previously hosted The Brian McKnight Morning Show with Pat Prescott on KTWV (The Wave)/Los Angeles, CA from 2006 to 2010. Please tell us about your radio experience and how you ended up transitioning into a radio career? Do you miss it?
Throughout my career, opportunity has come knocking. Some good ... some not so good. I enjoyed doing radio and learning from a vet like Pat it was fun while it lasted. I miss the radio part of it but not the politics.
8). How are you using social networks to keep up with your fans?
Although I think that social media is the best and worst thing that's ever happened it is a necessary evil so I try my best to stay in touch with my fans.
9). What are the biggest changes you would like to see happen in the music industry?
That the streaming services start paying the writers their full share for the one thing this industry can't thrive without and that's the songs themselves.
10). Please tell us how you felt the first time you heard your song on the radio?
I was at Sunset and highland in Hollywood and half of it had gone by before I realized it was me! So surreal!
What do you do in your spare time? When you aren't performing or recording new material, what do you all like to do for fun?
Golf has taken over my life. It's pretty much all I do when I'm not working.
I understand you play nine instruments including piano, guitar, bass, drums, percussions, trombone, tuba, flugelhorn and trumpet. Please tell us how you came to learn how to play so many instruments?
Time, access, and the will to see if I could when I was a kid I had no idea at the time it would amount to anything. I just wanted to Impress the girls at school!
What are some of the artists we might find on some of your playlist now? Who are some of the newer musicians that you think are incredible and are really breaking ground today?
I still listen to the same music I listened to as a kid so lots of Stevie James Ingram Kenny loggins steely dan bee gees 80s pop 80s Rock and a load of straight ahead jazz.
Dirty Loops is a band out of Europe that's light years in talent ahead of everyone else.
So far, what experience has really stood out to you as a performer?
The fact that something I wrote and sang touched someone enough for them to want to see me perform in person still gets me every time.
Looking back, which years hold the best musical memories for you and who were your favorite acts at that time?
I think it would have to be the years that Ive been a professional writer from 1988 to now. As a go through my catalogue I remember not only where I was as a writer, but where I was as a person. It ireally is an autobiography of sorts reminding me of where I've been and how far I have to go.
Is there anything in particular that you'd like people to take away from listening to your music?
Hopefully at the end of the day my epitaph will read "Here lies Brian McKnight and he wrote a few good songs."