If there’s one thing that ties Lyfe Jennings’ fifth full-length album together, it’s his unwavering honesty. However, that could be said for all of the platinum-selling, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter’s work over the past decade.
“I don’t care if people remember my name as long as they remember the music,” he proclaims. “I’ve come to the conclusion that the only thing that will make the music last is truth.”
So what is Lyfe’s truth? Well, even though he views life a little differently these days, his delivery is still the same. The new album takes flight on that same sincere and soulful R&B that made millions of fans fall in love with him on songs such as “Must Be Nice”, “Let’s Stay Together”, “S.E.X.”, “Will I Ever”, “Never Never Land”, and so many more. At the same time, his growth as an artist, storyteller, and father all remain reflected in the songs. It’s real. It’s raw. It’s Lyfe.
In late 2010, Lyfe faced incarceration with his head held high. During this time, music took precedence for him. He was able to completely focus and pen songs with depth and real introspection. He’d hum melodies to himself, and then scratch down lyrics and titles with a lone pen and pad on his bed. For the first time since his unanimously celebrated debut, he was able to completely immerse himself in music.
“I was genuinely able to concentrate,” he admits. “I didn’t feel like I was writing for an album or because I had to. There were no deadlines. I didn’t have to worry if a track was worthy of being a single. My focus was strictly on the song. It diverted my mind. There was so much energy as a result.”
He returned home in early 2012 and immediately harnessed that “energy” into a bevy of songs. He teamed up with talented young producers including B.G., Brandon “B.A.M.” Alexander [Chris Brown, Tyrese], Smurf, and C-Note. Lyrically, it would’ve been easy for him to dwell on recent hardships. However, spending all the time he could with his kids and buckling down in the studio, he found light within his life. That light shines throughout the new record.
“I wanted to strike a balance between light and dark,” he goes on. “Everybody’s life has happy moments, but I’d spend more time focusing on the negative aspects in the past. Here, I focused on the positive as well. It doesn’t go too far in either extreme. I like to call it ‘Dusky’.”
The first single, “Boomerang,” slides from a soft piano melody and airy guitar into a powerful and confessional hook. Lyfe’s falsetto reverberates potently over the musical backdrop, reaching immense heights.
“If you break a woman’s heart, that shit is going to come back to you,” explains Lyfe. “If you disrespect her and don’t pay attention to her feelings, she’s not just going to get over it. You can’t do that because she’s not going to forgive you. You don’t realize that when it’s happening though. That’s what the song’s about.”
On the other end of the spectrum, “College” taps a timeless R&B essence with its smooth refrain and infectious flavor. “It’s one of those lighter records,” he affirms. “There’s a little wordplay in there. As relationships progress, she’s changing like you’re changing, but you’ve got to keep learning about her. In a sense, you’re going to school. It’s like you’re in college for your whole life with this woman.”
Two of his personal favorites—”When It’s Good” and “Seventeen to a Million”—also boast a brighter outlook, while preserving his same swagger. He credits this evolution to a lot of his personal growth.
“There are much more important things in my life these days,” Lyfe continues. “I learn a lot from my kids, and I try to be a great father. I’ve learned patience from them. I’ll look back at my life and think about the prompters—the things that made me feel the way I did about myself and other people. I don’t want them to develop those.”
In addition, he continues expanding beyond writing and recording. On the horizon, Lyfe plans to work on projects close to his heart including non-profit charities and acting. He’ll be touring constantly, preserving his relationship with his Lyfelong fans. He’s cemented that relationship with his live performances; ones that possess you with the spirit to share the lived-in truths learned first-hand from his relationships, betrayal and the streets.
Lyfe’s fan base has been there since day one with the release of his debut Lyfe 268-192 through The Phoenix, Lyfe Change, and I Still Believe, which sold over 2.12 million albums combined.
His bond with the listeners stands stronger than ever. “If you’ve ever gotten one of my records, we’re now in a relationship,” he smiles. “Lyfe Jennings albums aren’t just albums. I like to consider them heirlooms. They talk about things you can pass on from generation to generation. Keep it going.”
This is another heirloom from Lyfe that’s worth treasuring forever.