I had the opportunity to talk to Alvin Garrett some time ago, and it did not go as planned. Normally entertainers have a hectic schedule and time we know is precious as they prepare for interviews, shows, appearances, etc…
But when Alvin and I talked, that was not the case. This was a brother who came into the interview poised and ready, yet we talked and cut up like we were friends for years. His love and passion for the music resonated in each word spoken, from history to where he currently is right now, preparing for several shows in his native state of Alabama. This was truly going to be a memorable …well, let’s not say “interview” lets pen it as “a meeting of two brothers, sharing the good things about music.”
He was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, AL and now resides in Birmingham, AL, a place that he dearly calls home. Before his entrance into music, Alvin worked in a corporate 9 to 5, but the urge of music was there, and pulled him to accomplish greater things. Over the course of his writing and producing career, Alvin worked with singer Ruben Studdard, received a Grammy nomination in 2012 for writing the song, “Bring Your Praise”, which was featured on Gospel Album of The Year nominee, Trin-i-tee 5:7. He also won a Stellar Award in 2012 for his contribution to Urban Gospel Album of the Year winner, Deitrick Haddon and currently the songwriter/producer and singer has shared his talents on the hit single, “I’d Rather Have A Love,” written by Garrett and performed by Joe. That single is buzzing on the Billboard Urban AC charts. From Pop, R&B, Gospel, and Contemporary Jazz, his musical prowess knows no bounds it seems. Along with working with fellow artists such as Joe Thomas, Ruben Studdard, Johnny Gill, Noel Gourdin, Trin-I-Tee 5:7, Deitrick Haddon, Jordan Knight, Veshawn Mitchell, and a host of independent artists, he has securely placed himself as a force to be reckoned with!
UT- The work you’ve done as a producer is stellar!! How does that compare to your newest endeavor as a solo artist?
AG- It like building a home, every brick laid into its place. It’s the history I’ve laid, from bass guitarist touring shows, which laid the foundation, to working with other artists and putting together shows , which really gave me a leg up and experience needed, so when I was able to finally put together my own show!
UT- Was there anything else that you took away from such a memorable experience?
AG- I’ve seen that the market has become flooded with music, and there has been a degradation it seems, no cohesiveness, for some records. When I started this project, I wanted it to be a story, from top to bottom. I feel good about that, to be able to pull that vision together into this project! To see that R&B music is making a comeback. A more personalized writing, to still feel young and fresh and create the right environment.
UT- Well brother, your debut album Expose Yourself seems as though it hits a very special or personal place. Can you share that?
AG- It was symbolic, because behind the scenes, working with Ruben Studdard, working on projects even before his American Idol debut was one thing, but now I felt it was time to step out. I’m really known as that bass player man…they call me Alvin “Cornbread” Garrett (laughing out loud) so everyone was surprised that I could sing! I have to say the journey with Ruben was incredible, but I had to ask later, what was “my” voice? Truthfully, God created us to be naked, not ashamed, to take off fear, inhibitions, to not be afraid and chase after love…to Expose Yourself!
UT – Brother…that’s deep and very profound!! With that said, is it important to you, in today’s music, to get back to the roots of music, the communication between people?
AG- It’s very important! My mission as an artist and writer, to put that love back into music.
UT- Speak on that Alvin!
AG- We see it (society) talking about everything else. Today many are not talking or singing about love, maybe because they are not experiencing that wonderful emotion. Think of the greats that did, the Motown era, artists like Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, and so on. I truly appreciate Joe for taking the time to talk about love again, and allow me to work with him on is album. We’ve allowed love to be removed from our lives, and I hope to bring that timeless type of music that inspires love.
UT- So basically this album is a strong guide for brothers to follow?
AG- You know what, I will say it’s a “guidebook” (laughing again) I can walk you through the album from top to bottom and you will see where it takes you. To know that you are looking at her from the shoes up, head to toe…that’s Track 2. On Track 3 …realizing that she got you on a string now! Move forward quickly to Track 7, speaking on the intimacy, telling her it’s you and me, to breathe with lungs, to be that close to you…….
(Note, Brother started going down each of the tracks, telling the story on each of them…Fam, ya gotta buy this album!!!)
UT- So Alvin, you’ve shared what this album is, what it will hope to accomplish, but if you had to describe yourself to the masses, Mr. Alvin Garrett, what would you say?
AG- Hmmm, how to sum myself up? I would say, a passionate man, if my heat’s not on, then I’m not in it. I take big risks, and I believe in faith because a lot has been stacked up against me over the years, but I don’t quit! I strive on, and I love every step of the way, because it’s that journey that’s memorable. A man of passion and man of heart.
Again I emphasize that this really wasn’t an interview, it was an opportunity to meet and talk to a brother whose musical experience and accolades gained and earned over the years rival only against one thing, his passion for his craft, and the love for bringing us closer together…to truly “Expose Yourself”
By Carey Digsby
To follow Alvin Garrett:
His website for upcoming events and to contact him:
Follow him on Twitter: @TheAlvinGarrett