March 29, 2017
From his earliest days of music with best friend Prince, being a founding member of Prince’s original Revolution band, to his three solo album debuts in the 80’s and producing and writing songs for household-name celebrities such as Jody Watley, Pebbles, Adam Ant, Tom Jones and more into the 90’s, André Cymone’s foundation in musical mastery is solid.
André’s highly anticipated new album, 1969, is an amalgamation of civil justice leadership with straight-out deliveries of wisdom dressed in melody and, true to André’s character, fluently ensconced with love — and multidimensional rock and roll.
Cymone’s skill set as an aficionado on bass and guitar, while simultaneously armed with a silky energetic voice and exceptional stage presence, transports an audience effortlessly as evidenced in October during the nearly five-hour sold-out Official Prince Tribute Concert held at the St. Paul, Minnesota Xcel Energy Center. Cymone sang six songs and participated actively throughout the emotionally charged event musically directed by Prince’s longtime NPG band member, keyboardist and musical director, Morris Hayes, with whom Cymone will be performing with as front man on select dates during the upcoming New Power Generation tour.
Set for an April 7th release date, Cymone’s new album, 1969, is obtaining early attention from sources including Afropunk and Okayplayer with its timely message and well-versed conveyance of a movement. It’s important to remember his recent history when it comes to civil rights.
Cymone penned “America,” inspired by the election of President Barack Obama, with all proceeds going to the 2012 election campaign. André also wrote the song “Trayvon,” in dedication to the memory of the slain teenager whose murder sparked a new age of the civil rights movement. All proceeds were donated directly to the  Trayvon Martin Foundation Last year the legendary singer, songwriter, actor, and prolific social activist Harry Belafonte’s organization, Sankofa.org, reached out to André on Belafonte’s behalf commending his civil rights efforts. In addition, Cymone recently traveled to Atlanta supporting Deputy Chair of the Democratic Committee Keith Ellison, who was then up for the candidacy of Chair. André Cymone doesn’t just write songs about unity, responsibility and social and civil rights issues; he shows up for them.
Creativity always has a birth and 1969’s appears to be an interweaving of wake-up call, civil rights message, and love delivered in multi-faceted genres that transcend rock and roll singularly. Can you give us more insight into what this album represents to you, its creator, and more about its conception? 
“The basic concept of this album was to satisfy a dream that I had as an 11-year-old kid. I used to hear psychedelic Rock like Hendrix, The Byrds, The Beatles, The Monkeys, The Stones and it spoke to me. I thought it was the coolest music I had ever heard.
I used to wish I could make music like that. Through the years obviously music had changed and my taste changed as well but I always went back to the classics, so I thought. I’ve been an artist signed to labels that wanted me to focus on what they thought would sell. Then I became a producer and helped other artists realize their dreams.
I thought, now that the music industry found a way to shoot themselves in the foot, and artists can just put music out that satisfies their soul, I decided to live my childhood dream in the form of reflection, so I went back to 1969.”
With the events of the past year, we know it has been an especially challenging time to navigate through life. Knowing Prince as your best friend, one-time band mate and brother of heart, having lived in your home and spent years as adolescents together, how has his transitioning affected the album and what do you think he would have said if you were able to sit down with him at the turntable and listen together, as you did with so many albums growing up?
“Prince and I shared many of the same musical influences and inspirations; we were born in the same year, 20 days apart so we had a lot in common in that respect. I think that’s why as kids we became so close and it’s also why I was really looking forward to playing him this particular album.
Through the years, we would occasionally reach out to each other when either he or I had a project we were really keen on and wanted feedback. We knew we both for one, would be honest and give true down to earth feedback, and two, if no one else would understand what we were trying to create, at least he knew I would and vice versa.
I also thought that Grand Central, the band we started as kids, would have had a blast playing these songs in front of a crowd.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. I had just finished this album and literally was to go into the studio that day to sign off on the final mix. I got a phone call at around 9:00a.m. that changed everything. I put the album on hold until now…”
Early in the midnight hour of March 23rd, with headphones on and the world turned off, I encountered my first listen of André’s latest of five albums, 1969, from beginning to end. Below are my immediate impressions of each song written while listening as I tuned in and experienced a transport of time that somehow proves as, if not more, urgently vital today than ever.
From the opening track “We All Need Somethin’,” you sense the energy is delivering a symbiotic message. We all need somethin’ to get us through the night… a universal calling to grab the headphones, this album (and it is an album in every sense of the word) is taking you somewhere.
“Money” is the story and warning of the culture we live. André’s calling us back to our priorities. This soul driven tune is a message to the masses of the insatiable needs that leave all too many in the throes of descent when fame is their ultimate game. Soul is priceless, money won’t buy you everything, like love and happiness.
“California Ways” is a pure psychedelic trip back to 1969. The vibe from the first note leads to visions of rolling down the strip in a drop-top as the sky-high palms blur into the sky. Take your time to vibe to this one, repeat.
“Already There” reminds you why André is a perpetual rockstar. The band surrounds the melody as he delivers a straight hitting love story as only a born rock n’ roller can. I dare you not to dance. It’s futile; surrender.
“Breathin’ Out Breathin’ In’” is a grown folks lullaby entrancing you to go deep into sensual arenas beyond flesh. Raw and real, he gives us the down low on the dimensions of spirit even in temptation, bitten to bleed.
“It’s Rock And Roll Man” is a dream come tangible. The lights, the stage. Visionary he is, André delivers truth while making you beg for more. Never stop giving it to us, Cymone.
“Point And Click” invites astral travel and the smooth yet deep thrust of delivery reminds us we’re still on this cloud of impermanence together. It takes a mystic to funk the wisdom this clearly; alchemy.
“Black Lives Matter” immediately grabs the consciousness. An intimate venue invites us to sit closer. His passion for justice is as effortless as the tears that drench a nation wet with the blood of our sons and daughters. His unspoken challenge between the acoustic lines invokes us to awaken, to be better and to rise in Love.
“It Ain’t Much” opens the sky inviting us to dance in the sun-showers of an early summer day. This melody is sure to leave you inspired to seek the beauty in yourself and every face you see. It’s your life.
“Black Man in America” returns us to the wake-up call for a generation with eyes half open. His authentic expression conjures sight through the veil of a culture of selective blindness. An ardent call for conversation — now. With heavy guitar and authoritative vocals, nothing is lost in André’s letter to America.
“1969’s” delicate chords enter us into a time unfortunately much forgotten. His transcendental delivery ushers in the ancestral forerunners of a plight that has fractured our hearts, yet revived our souls and devotion.
“Is That You” is the battle cry of a man who has paid his dues and is solid in who he is, and who you are baby. Cymone completes this cosmic ride in 1969 style, leaving his listeners wanting more. And more is just what you’ll want.