Published Sep 25, 2012For his third offering, Miami, FL's Induce (aka Ryan Smith) has pulled off nothing short of a reinvention. Known mainly as a DJ, and for offbeat instrumental hip-hop offerings like 2005's Cycle, Halfway Between Me and You is his first effort to feature vocals and accessible song structures, and it wears its classic soul influences on its sleeve. Not that this is an indulgent, retro-minded affair. Traces of Marvin Gaye, Prince, New Edition and Jodeci, among others, are present, but are filtered through Induce's idiosyncratic and astute sensibilities, not to mention a killer vocal style that fuses Don't Be Cruel-era Bobby Brown with the blue-eyed soulfulness of Bobby Caldwell. The cover of Oliver Cheatham's oft-sampled 1983 boogie classic, "Get Down Saturday Night," ups the funk factor with some slamming Miami bass, while the Prince-inspired "Pretty," with its rubbery rhythm and off-kilter analog synth touches, sounds like a Controversy outtake. "Her & I" tweaks Arthur Baker's '80s New Edition productions with a slowed down, wayward groove. Although Induce confesses, "80-percent of the album was influenced by a break-up," Halfway Between Me and You is big-time party music, and the production, by the likes of Jack Splash and Manuvers, is crisp and tight. Wonderful sounds, indeed.
You're known for your hip-hop work. Why did you decide to go in an R&B direction for this album?
A few years ago, I started experimenting, just making weird stuff for my own peace of mind. Some of those songs were just to try it out. Actually, the guy that produced probably a third of the album with me [Manuvers], he kind of tricked me into doing the first real kind of singing song, which was "Get Down Saturday Night." He came over and was like, "Yo, I kind of have this cover and I just want to hear your vocals over it to see how it sounds." Six hours later, we had 80-percent of the song done; he basically tricked me into singing.
How would you describe the sound that you were going for on this album?
It's like how a lot of the stuff I've done is: it's pretty eclectic, It kind of goes across the board of soul music. There's stuff like the future soul sounds, there's disco-y stuff, there's a Motown feel. For me, it's a culmination of all the styles of soul that have come before.