Toronto’s R&B Son Comes “Back for More”– Interview with Glenn
I was able to speak with
Glenn Lewis this past Sunday in Toronto. More evidence that Glenn has turned a corner in his
career - gone are the days where you might bump into Glenn at College St.
Bar on a Sunday night. Now you have to schedule time through his management
and label to get a conversation with him! (smile) He was in Toronto to
collect his SOCAN Award and to hand off his latest offering which was
released this week – a hot and steamy video entitled “Back For More”. The video was shot here in Toronto with a guest appearance by
Kardinal Offishall. In Glenn’s
words, “Come along for the ride!”
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the video
So, I’ve seen the video – Back For More. I was surprised – not so much in
the world of music videos – surprised more because it’s Glenn Lewis. (Glenn
laughs) I think your original image was wholesome and a heart-breaking type
of guy and now … you’re up on some girl’s …
Glenn: I love my job – let’s break it down
completely to what it is. I love my job!
I think for a lot of people
what’s probably going to be a difficult adjustment may be the first time
they see it, based on what they know of me. You can’t help that when that
first image is locked into your mind, it’s a little difficult to see
somebody step out. All that it means is that the person has different sides
to them. It doesn’t all of a sudden make me this horrible person. The
“Don’t You Forget It” video – me and this girl I was seeing from before, we
broke up and I finally break through and I make it. She happens to be
walking home from the grocery store, sees my poster and is like “oh wow” and
then she starts getting flashbacks of when we were together. I still think
about her because the break-up was just prior to me breaking. And I go
looking for her and she goes looking for me and it just doesn’t pan out.
This one, I just happen to
be at a lounge somewhere and I see this girl from across the room and I go
and talk to her. I mean, it’s a situation. We’re talking and eventually I
pick her up and we go home and … all it is is me showing a different side,
When I first saw it, I felt like it was a business move. I thought maybe
you needed to go more commercial.
Glenn: That’s interesting – that’s really
interesting. It wasn’t so much business because if you make it solely about
that, it becomes emotionless. For those that may feel similar, it wasn’t so
much like a business move per se. Soul music is something that I
grew up on and listened to all my life and it’s never gonna leave me but I
also realize that things have changed. The climate around me musically has
changed. I might be inspired by 70’s artists and actually even some of the
late 80’s and early 90’s artists. In today’s music, it’s evolved partly
into business but you can still make good music within the business.
Even the song in itself without the video - you’re hearing me go from “don’t
forget your way home” and “don’t forget your way to your love of family and
friends”. That instilled confidence and empowerment when you might be at a
point where you’re like, ‘Man I don’t know if I’m going get through this
one’. To go from this whole inspirational record, to “I wanna take you
home”, is just turning to do my thing. I think that in itself is a shock to
I’ve already heard it. I’ve already had people say, “Damn Glenn!”
I think it was racy though even for a music video. There are some things
allowed in music videos, booty, etc. I felt it passed a point for me.
Glenn: I did that because in a lot of ways I
realized that doing that was a statement. There’s a place that I want to
take my listeners, my fans. But at the same time, in order for me to get
there, I want to capture as many ears as possible. If I stay in one
particular genre and cater to one particular person, it’s all safe.
And that’s your evolvement as an artist, as a man.
Glenn: For anybody that fell in love with the first
album, they know who I am. With this one, it’s another side of me. I’m
just asking you to go along for the ride – grow with me. It’s natural to
me. That’s why it wasn’t completely a business thing because it was a
natural progression to me. You have an idea of who I am but now I’m going
to show you a broader perspective of me.
I appreciate knowing that it’s part of your evolvement and I also appreciate
having the balls to do it. I’m sure it wasn’t hard the day of the shoot.
Glenn: I’ll be honest with you. Even doing it –
being able to humble myself and let people step in and go Glenn, we know you
can sing. People want to fall in love with the person. They know you can
sing and they know you’re a deep cat but show other sides – show who Glenn
is so people can go ‘Oh ok. Well he has his moments where he gets horny
like the rest of us. And he has his moments where he’s had his heart broken
and I see his views of relationships and love and what he wants out of love
and what he wants to give.’
That’s what albums are in a sense. You’re going through an individual’s
life – at least I would assume as such. You’re getting to know a person.
To a certain extent and I don’t know whether it’s necessary for me to go
here but there’s some artists that are formulated – like, this works for me
every time so I’m going to do this. But the real stars are the ones that go
outside the lines. Those are the ones that really break through. R. Kelly
did his ‘Bump ‘n Grind’ thing to ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ and ‘You Are Not
Alone’. He’ll do straight R&B records, he’ll do a soul record, he’ll do an
inspirational record, and he’ll do all these different types of bodies of
work. You see him grow and that’s why he is the success that he is.
Despite whatever criticisms he may have faced, despite whatever comes his
way, you get a chance to see him doing different things. Like how do you go
from doing (sings) “Remix to Ignition …” and then “Step in the Name of
Love”. The Chocolate Factory itself is a great album. It’s a great
So, when does your video come out?
Glenn: To be honest, I walk the video in to
MuchMusic tomorrow (Monday, November 24). So it’s going to start playing.
There isn’t a set date for me to do 106th & Park yet but I know
that’s one of the first things I’m going to be doing.
So you’re launching it here first?
Glenn: Yeah, got to. It’s home town.
That’s my take on it. That’s how I feel.
You don’t have to but we’re really glad you did! Do you know when the CD
Glenn: CD is scheduled for February 24th
tentatively. I’m a little disappointed about that because I was really
pushing for Valentine’s Day because I was really trying to have that whole
Valentine’s theme happening. You know, the lover man. (laughs)
Is the single out yet?
Glenn: It’s starting to surface. Its official
impact date is November 27th.
What do you miss most about being in Toronto?
Glenn: The thing I miss the most is going to see my
friends perform – definitely going to see my friends perform and to see if
they ask me up on stage. Or just having the opportunity to watch them do
My most avid readers know that I have supported Glenn’s career for years by
way of this newsletter. I think after reading this little peak into Glenn’s
persona, you’ll know why. Stay tuned next week for the more personal side
of the interview with Glenn – lots more good stuff to come!