Published Dec 16, 2013It's been a little over a decade since Toronto-based R&B singer-songwriter Glenn Lewis first made an international splash with 2002 album World Outside My Window and hit singles "Don't You Forget It" and "It's Not Fair." At the time, Lewis was earning Grammy nominations, was being compared vocally to Stevie Wonder, and was a major part of the growing "neo-soul" movement, along with artists like D'Angelo and Erykah Badu.
But Lewis has been away from the spotlight in recent years. As Lewis recently told Exclaim!, there were a host of reasons, including management and label changes, that ultimately led to the 11-year gap between his 2002 debut and his new sophomore album Moment of Truth, released earlier this fall.
"At the time when I was preparing to come up with a sophomore record with Sony/Epic [around 2003-2004], there were a lot of changes going on with the label," Lewis explains. "A lot of people that were instrumental with the making of my [debut] album, most of them had left by the time I was ready to do the second. A lot of them had left and also the downloading thing was starting to become prevalent, so a lot of labels were panicking. There were a lot of crazy things going on the time. So the push that my sophomore album should have got [at that time], didn't happen."
Now signed to the recently relaunched Ruffhouse Records label (the former hip-hop label co-founded by longtime music executive Chris Schwartz), Lewis is excited to be back on the scene and making new music. Work on Moment of Truth began back in 2011, he says, adding that he worked with soul producers Andre Harris & Vidal Davis and Carvin & Ivan for the new project. Moment of Truth represents a "back to basics" approach in terms of creating traditional R&B music, according to Lewis.
"It was a pretty easy process. I guess if you do it for a while you know what it takes," Lewis says. "The aim really, was to put together an ensemble of just great songs. Just make some great music, vibe out. Some of the inspiration was like really wanting to have like classic R&B elements with some of the consistency of the production happening today. But mostly [the album gets its] inspiration and sonic quality from a lot of the great music from yesterday. That was definitely part of the ingredient of putting together the album.
"Even the title itself, Moment of Truth, came from the idea that each song is like a conversation, a moment of truth, captured. I think it kind of came out that way in conversation. It's just one of those things, you know, that when you've been doing it for a minute, you just know what you are doing."
Between albums, Lewis stayed busy performing scattered dates across North America and by continuing to write new music. And to hear him say it, he's not too concerned about the long layoff having any effect on ensuing Moment of Truth connects with today's R&B audience.
"I think definitely part of the mindset was to sort of re-introduce myself as it's been a while," he says. "Fortunately the case is I've stayed relevant for real lovers of the music with records like 'Don't You Forget It' and 'Fall Again' [from the 2002 Maid in Manhattan soundtrack], the track 'Storm' and [2011's] 'Good One' that I released independently. Those records kind of kept me relevant with music fans, and I think the main thing is that people know I'm back and still making music."
Read more of Exclaim!'s recent interview with Lewis here.