And Forever" is not a phrase usually associated with a fickle
music business, especially in recent times when one-hit wonders
and manufactured artists have been especially prevalent. But for
Silk, one of the few vocal groups to breakthrough in the hip-hop
era, the phrase applies not only to their own longevity--seventeen
years and counting with the current line-up featuring the four original
members who have been together throughout--but also to the quality
of their music which features finely crafted harmony singing and
lyrics that deal with timeless issues of love, romance and sex.
With the release of their seventh album "Always And Forever",
their debut release on Shanachie Entertainment on October 17th,
Silk brings their vocal artistry to a hand-picked selection of songs
that have inspired them as simultaneous homage to artists who they
respect and musical statement of the ultimate quality of Silk's
comes full circle on this album," relates Gary Glenn. "A
lot of these songs were ones we were already familiar with so it
was easy for us to step in and emulate people we have a lot of respect
for. It's a chance to show off our own artistry. If someone has
the audacity to do a MichaelJackson number or a Prince tune and
do it well, or to really do justice to"The Secret Garden"
, then they walk away with respect from the audience. That's what
The album, which
features Silk's interpretations of major hits by Blue Magic, Switch,
Shalamar, Prince, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Heatwave and others,
simply builds on something Silk had already been doing.
done a re-make on almost every album anyway so it was like time
to do this--a full serving of what we've been doing throughout.
Like (Blue Magic's classic) "Sideshow", we've been doing
that in our shows and people love it. We were doing (Switch's) "There'll
Never Be" at shows and people start to "step" when
we do it...and it's a beautiful thing. It even happened in Aurora,
Colorado, which is the last place I thought people would be steppin'!"
The young men
who formed Silk grew up in Atlanta. Three of them met each other
in the late Eighties in the course of working at a particular McDonald's.
Soon --Gary "Big G" Glenn, Jonathan "John John"
Rasboro, Tim "Timzo" Cameron and Jimmy Gates (Tim and
Jimmy were cousins)--got together around their mutual love of singing.
They sang whenever and wherever they could ("I don't think
there's a church in Atlanta we didn't sing at," laughs Gary)
at talent shows, clubs, churches and in the streets. Louise Ferguson,
who is their manager today, was determined to get them a shot with
Keith Sweat who didn't particularly want to audition the unknown
wanna-be's. So when Keith came to a barbeque at Louise's house,
she invited Silk to come over and they discreetly went down in the
basement and started singing for the kids there. Keith heard them
and liked what he heard enough to make Silk the first group signed
to his Keia label in 1992 and they were featured on "two of
Keith's tracks on his "Keep It Coming" album. Silk's first
single, "Happy Days" was garnering radio play but then
"Freak Me", another cut from their first album, starting
generating radio play spontaneously and when released a single became
a Number 1 R&B hit and Number 1 pop hit. It was quickly followed
by two Top Ten R&B hits--"Lose Control" and "Girl
U For Me, which grew into a string of hits throughout the Nineties
including "Hooked On You", "I Can Go Deep",
"If You ("Lovin' Me")and "Meeting In My Bedroom".
Their signature sound was dubbed "baby-making music."
time we came up," Gary Glenn notes, "producers were putting
groups together but when Keith met us we were already Silk. That
may be part of the reason why we have been able to stand the test
of time. We didn't just get together to get a deal; we got together
to sing. We had to find our own niche. You had Boyz II Men with
their harmonies and Jodeci with their "from the gut" sound,
so we were kind of in the middle. We went from high school stages
to arenas very quickly--that was due to Keith."
has grown up along with them and some of the children who were the
result of "baby-making music" are now teenagers.
are always telling us," John adds, "I made my first child
to your music." That's just a blessing! That someone created
a child with our music. We know what people are looking for from
our music so as long as we honor and respect that we can keep going
in that vein, like The Isley Brothers and Keith Sweat."
It's a difficult
challenge for even a solo artist to survive in the cut-throat music
industry and even more so for a group to stay together. Fourteen
years together since the release of their first single, what's Silk's
a lot of prayer, patience and understanding," says Gary Glenn.
"We don't always realize how important our commitment to each
other has been. It's like being in a marriage that you refuse to
leave. It's like "I got this ring and I ain't going nowhere!"
But we all bow down to what's important to Silk. And in the end,
we just love singing together."