Anthony David is set to release a new album called The Powerful Now on Shanachie Entertainment TODAY. The Powerful Now is a nice mix of soul, R&B, rock, jazz and afro beats. As he mentions in his interview with us, the album doesn’t stay in one mood for long and that’s its strength. “Charge” featuring Carmen Rodgers is reintroduced on this album and that’s a good thing ’cause we feel it deserves a second look. We caught up with David and he told us about the moments, or the “nows”, that inspired the songs on the album. Read below and enjoy.
GFM: You have a new album coming soon. I’d like to mention a few of the tracks from the album. Maybe you could talk a bit about them and the inspiration behind the songs.
Let’s start off with the title track– “The Powerful Now”. You say [in the song] “This is the one and only moment that matters.” Talk about the inspiration and the feeling behind “The Powerful Now”.
AD: [I was] just inspired by the track and inspired by the now for me– this particular time in history that we live in and [it is] also a lot about the specific moments we live in that transform. It’s kind of micro. I’m what you call a futurist and I’m fairly optimistic. There’s a word called protopian, not that you want to be living in a utopia or a perfect state, but I do think that things have continually gotten better, so it’s kind of coming from that perspective– a protopian viewpoint. But, in the specific moment… remembering to live in the now. The sport I watch is UFC. I get inspired a lot by watching people in sports and entertainment or whatever it is and you can see when they’re inspired or living in that moment and they’re in a state of flow.
GFM: The next song I’d like to ask you about is “Booed Up”.
AD: That’s just a little winter time joint. [laughs] I haven’t done an album in four years so I kind of took my time and wrote whenever I felt inspired and that kind of goes with the powerful now, because there’s a lot of different moments. That’s why I ended up naming the whole album that because it doesn’t stay in one place or one movement. That was a winter or two ago when I had the hook and did it on my laptop. I just wanted to have something simple and cool. You know how that goes in the winter time. [laughs]
GFM: It’s the cuffing season.
AD: Exactly. That is the cuffing season anthem.
GFM: I noticed a bit of sentiment in “Road To Baxley”.
AD: I’m from Savannah, Georgia, but the records state that our first ancestors here were over in Baxley, Georgia– on my mom’s side anyway. We go back there at least once every two years for our family reunion. I wrote another song a long time ago called “Kinfolk” about a family reunion. The mood hit me again. I was planning on going that year and I wanted to write about it. I wrote about the roads to it. It’s something about tradition and passing on “stuff” to generations.
GFM: The last one I want to ask about is “Ayodele”. What does that mean?
AD: It’s a Yoruba word and a Yoruba name that means joy comes home. That came from another moment. I put it right behind the other song (Road To Baxley”) because according to my DNA on my mother’s side, there’s a large percentage of Yoruba ancestory, which I didn’t know until a couple of years ago. Also, it came directly from friend of my named Ayodele who is not Nigerian, she’s American but her mother named her that. She had gone to Africa and had some complications. We had to have a GoFundMe (account) to contribute to her medical issues. It sounds a little somber, but it was inspired by the fact that so many people gave money. I was saying her name in the song mostly based off her smile because she has a really pretty smile, then I found out what the name means. I thought it was really interesting because she was coming from Mexico at the time, so we had to get her transported from Mexico back home to get the proper care. It just all fit. Again, I just kind of went off of different moments over these last four years.
GFM: You call your songs secular hymns. What do you mean by that description?
AD: Some songs. I throw a few in on every album. I’m non-religious and I guess you could say I qualify as a secular humanist. I actually took that from James Taylor who did an album full of those years ago. I thought that was pretty clever. [They apply] when as a secular person you want to deal with the larger principles. Religious people have that. That’s what songs do anyway. I think nearly all of them are odes to love, or you sing about a mountain. You sing about things bigger than you. Religion has a whole lot of those– a whole lot of things that talk to the hugeness of stuff. For those (who don’t have religion) they don’t have anything sometimes to deal with that feeling. I’m a writer, so I’ll fill it in.
GFM: You started out releasing your music as an independent artist. Do you think that allowed you to be your authentic self artistically coming out of the gate as opposed to some artists who start out immediately with a major label and sometimes have to conform to the vision of the label? Do you think that starting out independent helped shape your career the way you wanted it to go?
AD: I don’t really know. I’ve seen it done a few different ways. I think there must be something to it. I’ve been on majors. But like you said if you start it out a certain way, maybe people [labels] do approach you. It must have something to do with it. Every artist that comes out– from Drake to whomever– he came out independent and I think if you just make money, then other people who come along to get involved in your business tend to think you know what you’re doing. Chance the Rapper– when I think about him he just gets to do what he’s doing and if you can prove that your model works then of course they don’t wanna obstruct that.
GFM: You talk about the different flavors and the different moods on the album. If you could describe or define it, what’s feeling that you want people to get from your album?
AD: Good question. I don’t know. [laughs] Whatever you want. I get a generally thing from music that I like and I don’t really want to pinpoint what it is, so I would just hope people get the same thing. The music that I grew up on and I listen to now there are so many different emotions I get from those. It feels kind of crazy to narrow it down so it’s whatever you wanna get out of it. I don’t think I say anything about killing anybody so obviously not that [laughs].
GFM: What is your definition of Grown Folks Music?
AD: Something you can lose yourself to and not worry about the content per se. You can close your eyes, throw your head back and not have to decipher what’s going on the whole time.
Anthony David’s new album, The Powerful Now is out NOW. Get it at iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.
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Kimberly Kennedy Charles (DJKKC) is trying to navigate life (in a minivan, no less) as a wife, mother, caregiver to Grandmother and writer in the 'burbs of Atlanta.