Brian McKnight on His Upcoming Album 'Better,' New Single & Admiration for Taylor Swift

When you think of Brian McKnight you think of the throwback style of R&B that is missing in a lot of the new wave music.

We sat down with McKnight to talk about the particular style, his new single "Uh Oh Feeling" and what fans can expect from his upcoming album Better.

McKnight has over 20 million albums sold worldwide, 16 Grammy nominations and has collaborated with everyone from Celine Dion to Justin Timberlake.

He's really trying to get back to the basics of music that contains less computer generated sounds and create music with a more authentic feel.

Better marks his 13th studio album (set to release Jan 2016) and has been made available for pre-order on iTunes. Brian McKnight will tour the US in the spring of 2016.

His new single, "Uh Oh Feeling," is out now and you can check out our conversation with him below.

You're getting set to release the 13th studio album Better in January, what can fans expect from the new album?

"I mean I write all of the songs so you have Brian McKnight written compositions. I think the only difference is that it's very much like my first album because there is very little computer generated on this CD."

"You know I came off the road for three days with my band and we went in and cut 12 songs in two days.

No computers no anything and we just went for it. It just reminded me of the way we use to make records it's definitely a throwback to the records I made very early in my career."

How important was it for you to take it back in terms of how the tracks were recorded?

"It was important only that I needed to remind myself that musically I can do anything as opposed to listening to the radio and being like, 'Oh wow, I need to try and be like everybody else,' which is what I've been trying to do for the last four of five years."

"I just decided to be the best Brian McKnight I could be, just from a musical standpoint.

Kind of the way my live shows are, and people love them so much because they're musical and because it reminds them so much of the music I made back in the day."

"So, instead of trying to be like everyone else I just decided to go for it and be as musical as I possibly can."

What was the writing process like for Better?

"Well that's the one thing that never changes."

"Everyday most people are riding around in their cars, they're listening to Pandora and they're listening to songs that have already been recorded and that's how they put those songs to memory."

"I guess there was a radio station of songs that has yet to be written that I just actually have to write.

So, all day long music is going through my head and basically at the end of the day I feel like I'm probably going to write something good."

The single "Uh Oh Feeling" is pretty light and fresh where did the inspiration for that track come from?

"Well my girlfriend's daughter Julia, she's 16 and she's always talking about how creepy guys are trying to talk to her and it gives her sort of this, 'Uh Oh Feeling.' So I wanted to just switch that and make the 'Uh Oh Feeling' a positive thing."

"Her mother and I, we know what happens when those butterflies start going so I wanted to capture that in the song and use her daughter as inspiration for that, even though it's not what she meant."

"We all have a laugh about it when we listen to it because we know where it came from."

"I think the idea of the song is very reminiscent of a more innocent, flirting kind of appreciation for someone that maybe lost a little bit in the 'I got to have it right now' generation that my kids are dealing with."

What do you think about artists like Chris Brown and Trey Songz who have put their own spin on R&B?

"I think that every generation has their own music. They don't necessarily have to be like the generation before them.

The problem is we have to call something new. I think that because they're making music and they're black you automatically assume that it's R&B when to me R&B is Otis Redding, The Four Tops and The Temptations."

"I think the R&B label is doing those artists like Trey a 50 percent justice.

They have to live up to older artists like that. They are awesome at what they do, I just don't know if we need to call it R&B."

Did you ever expect that you would be putting out your 13th studio album and what's your secret to longevity in the music business?

"I never really thought about the time that passes while I'm doing it. Now we're talking about this record and that there will be 17 different records that you can buy, that's mind-boggling."

"While I was making them I didn't think 'Wow I can't wait to get to number 15,' at that time I was probably making number six or seven.

It's hard to put that into perspective but I never really think about it. I just love doing what I do and as long as people allow me to continue to do I'll continue to do it."

What was it like performing in South Africa to all of the fans who attended your sold out shows?

"You know that week of time I was there really reminded me why I got into this business.

For about 25 seconds I actually believed that I was Brian McKnight. During the last show in Johannesburg I'm on my second encore, people won't stop screaming and for 25 seconds I though, 'wow, I might actually be Brian McKnight.'"

"I say that because when you're walking around, unless you're Tom Cruise or Lebron James or someone who's famous everywhere they go, you have to remind yourself for that two hours I'm on stage, 'yeah I may have it like this but tomorrow it's not going to be that way.'"

"That's why I said to myself 'Yeah, I'm Brian McKnight! Look at this, this is awesome!'"

What are some of your favorite R&B acts over the years and who do you enjoy listening to as of lately?

"I don't compartmentalize my music. I might listen to everything under the Sun. One minute I'm listening to Rascal Flatts and the next minute Warrant or some 80's hair band."

"I grew up playing nothing but jazz and church music so when you start with that kind of discipline you then have the world of music to discover.

I'm always listening to Earth, Wind and Fire and music that I listened to growing up."

"It's funny because when we were kids we're like 'I'm not going to be like my parents, I'll never listening to this old folky music.' Now I've completely turned into my parents because all I listen to is pretty much the same records they did."

"I don't listen to a lot of today's music but you cannot mistake the genius of Taylor Swift.

I'm not being funny at all. It's not a coincidence that she's as successful as she is because she has, what every great artist from the beginning of time has."

"She has a grasp on her audience, she writes her own songs and she's a brilliant performer. It's what you would hope to be as an artist and that's consequently why she's successful."

What can fans expect from the tour next spring and are you excited for fans to hear the new music?

"I'm really excited for them to hear the new music because it's definitely a throwback to what I use to do.

It's funny because people always tell me, 'your first record man I loved it' and I tried to remember why they loved it so much.

On the one hand it's the first thing they ever heard from me, on the second hand I think that the way that record was made was classic and that's exactly want I wanted to recreate."

"What I'm trying to put together now is a back to basics tour where we go into smaller venues and we play everything.

Sometimes when you play for the bigger, sort of union controlled venues we have curfews and other things."

"I remember my very first tour, we were playing clubs every night.

They have a bar set up, people were drinking, people were dancing and it was just a great way to get indoctrinated into this business and I kind of want to recreate that again.

I don't know how we're going to do it but I just want to play man."

Any last words for your fans, followers and supporters?

"Just the biggest thank you I could ever give to them.

They continue to allow me to live this dream and I can't really thank them enough other than coming and seeing them as often as possible and continuing to create music for them. So, thank you, thank you, thank you."

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