American contemporary soul, rhythm and blues musician Elgin Baylor Lumpkin, popularly known as Ginuwine, spoke to Bamuturaki Musinguzi about his music and upcoming concert in Uganda, where he will be the main act at the Johnnie Walker Soul-R&B Safari concert on December 1, 2018, at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala.
What should your fans expect at your concert in Uganda?
The fans can expect a phenomenal show! I love the stage and I love to perform, it is who I am.
My team is ready to give you our all. My band will on the keyboards, bass, drums, and along with my dancers charged to show our appreciation for the invitation to Uganda. I aim to give you the “greatest show on earth.”
What influenced you in making Pony, a hit song that catapulted you into stardom?
Pony was the first single off my debut album, Ginuwine...The Bachelor in 1996. It came about playing with some beats and lyrics during a session with producer, Timbaland, and the late Static Major.
Timbaland gave us sample of bass, and then Static and I freestyled the lyrics until we were able to put the pieces together and created a hit.
We knew that the lyrics were synonymous with sex, but it was the perfect opportunity to open a new door and break some barriers in the industry.
What is the main message behind the song?
Pony speaks of a man that has reached that level of manhood where he is sure of himself. He is a bachelor, out enjoying life.
His confidence is strong as he speaks on desires and expectations in his sexual life. The lyrics say, “I’m just a bachelor I’m looking for a partner.” Not just any partner; “Gotta be compatible.”
His confidence takes it to another level because he describes the fantasy upfront only for it to represent the reality. This is about not being afraid to be comfortable with your sexuality and how to go for what you want.
How was it like working with Timbaland in your early music career?
Timbaland was one of the powers that helped launch my career. Working with the acclaimed producer was influential and supportive in my career especially in the beginning phases.
Early on he would challenge me to step outside of my vocal comfort zone, all of which always resulted in a top of the chart song.
What was the impact of the emergence of organic, retro-leaning neo-soul on hip-hop soul music?
Neo-soul has had a significant impact on the hip-hop soul. American singer-songwriter Prince was prominent in bringing forth neo-soul along with artist and groups such as Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and Mint Condition.
Bringing out the collaboration of jazz, funk, electronica and hip-hop and sometimes blended with Afro, Latin, rock-n-roll and house music, neo-soul became a bridge that brought together old school and new school.
Does hip-hop soul have a future?
When I think of the future of hip-hop soul it reminds me how the different genres of music have started to merge more but do not necessarily have a strong appearance.
What I mean by this is that we have a R&B artist collaborating with rap artist, gospel collaborating with R&B artist, and so forth creating new sounds so, I feel that hip-hop soul has a strong future, but it will be challenged by what the audiences feel is authentic.
Global digital music sales have overtaken physical sales. What is your observation?
We are living in a world of change and innovation. I remember the days of vinyl records, cassettes, and then CD’s.
It was a big thing to be the first of your friends to go buy a CD as soon as it was released. And this was not that long ago, just a few years ago.
We used to have meet and greet signing CDs for fans for a new album. Then overnight it changed. Now pre-sales consist of showing a screenshot that you bought a new single or EP for download on the release date.
I feel that digital innovation has created a new accessible experience for fans creating a new way to access music. As the generations change, the buying power changes.
How should piracy be contained in the trend of global digital music sales?
Piracy undermines the licensed music business. Many people will not understand how piracy affects the music industry unless they are on the inside.
So, one thing that I feel is helping to hold it is the consumers are being educated on copyrights.
Record companies, artistes and people in the industry are protecting the value of music. And now laws are in development and enforced to tackle online piracy.
When should your fans expect your next album or single?
I know that it has been a while, but it is time to show the sincere thanks and appreciation to my fans for supporting me over the years.
I am working on a few different projects right now both in and out of the studio.
Next year will bring new projects musically as well as new endeavours. I will not release the details just yet, but I will say it will be worth the wait.
How do you unwind after a day’s work?
In my upbringing, I was taught to stay grounded and know that it is a blessing from God that you are doing what you are doing so I do not take anything for granted. I am a very down-to-earth person who loves life, so I try to enjoy every moment.
I love what I do, I love to perform so I do not really consider it work but when I am not on the stage, I unwind and set the celebrity aside.
I also spend as much time as I can with my family. My children are my world. We like to hang out at the movies, dinner, or just having fun around the house.
Born October 15, 1975, in USA, Ginuwine is an American singer, songwriter, dancer and actor.
He is famous for his 90s and early 2000s rhythm and blues, and hip-hop soul hits such as Pony, Only When Ur Lonely, Holler, Tell Me Do U Wanna, I’ll Do Anything/I’m Sorry, and Same Ol’G.
Ginuwine’s ballad Differences off his third album The Life is his biggest pop hit yet, climbing to number four on the charts in 2001.
His first four highly acclaimed alums are: Ginuwine...the Bachelor (Platinum), 100% Ginuwine (Platinum), The Life (Platinum), and The Senior (Gold). The other four are: Back II Da Basics, A Man's Thoughts, Elgin, and Same Ol’G...the Bachelor.
He released a collaborative album with TGT titled Three Kings in 2013.
Some of his songs have featured as soundtracks for a number of films. For example, Same Ol’G was featured on the soundtrack to Eddie Murphy’s Dr. Doolittle.
He has appeared in films such as Juwanna Mann, Honey, Chocolate City, and Your Husband Is Cheating on Us.
Ginuwine was nominated in the Grammy Awards in 2003 and 2014. His single So Anxious was nominated in the 2000 Soul Train Music Awards in the Best R&B/Soul Male Single category. His album 100% Ginuwine won the Best R&B/Soul Male Album award in 2000 Soul Train Music Awards.
Ginuwine was married to the American rapper Tonya M, and they had two daughters together: Story and Dream Sarae Lumpkin. He also has four other children from other relationships.