An R&B remedy for a truly smooth summer.
In one word, the group Jagged Edge are simply monumental. Four talented singers, producers and songwriters – twins Brandon and Brian Casey, Richard Wingo and Kyle Norman – make up the Grammy award-winning R&B quartet. Formed in Atlanta Georgia, stemming from inspirational, soulful and gospel backgrounds, the group went on to release their first album in 1998, A Jagged Era. From humble beginnings, this was the beginning of an amazing journey ahead for the devoted four. The debut album rapidly went gold, initiating chart-topping singles ‘Gotta Be’ and ‘He Can’t Love U’ and propelling them to well-deserved international stardom. Presently, JE are signed to Slip-N-Slide Records, and their seventh album The Remedy is due out in June and set to be another huge success. Jagged Edge have contributed to R&B in a remarkable way and today’s artists can certainly learn from them. The 90s proved to be an important era for the guys and Flavour talks to them more about it, as well as the artists they respect and the meaning behind R&B then, in comparison to the R&B sound now.
Do you agree with the statement that R&B is not like it used to be?
Brandon: Yeah, I actually do – I’m not sure if that’s bad or good, I don’t wanna put a negative connotation on it, but I think that nowadays R&B is almost like a singing form of rap. People make records that in the past would have been considered rap, but throw some melody on it and that’s what deems it R&B… In the past there were songs that were melodic but meaningful and sung a certain way. We always sang from our soul. I think these days R&B’s more processed and ‘cookie cutter’. It’s not a bad thing – there’s a place for anything that’s innovative in music.
Which long-running artist do you take your hat off to?
Brandon: Wow, well first off a good friend of mine, Monica. I love Monica’s voice and her music. And Maxwell. Artists who keep R&B truest to its form – I love ’em all.
Brian: I think you gotta take your hat off to R Kelly too, just for the fact he’s still around and makes meaningful songs as well as innovative.
Which song first made you realise that you wanted to get into the music industry?
Brandon: I don’t know if I have a song, but the group New Edition. The first time I saw New Edition it wasn’t that I was so in love with their music, I was in love with the fact that it was five guys up there, unified, wearing the same type of uniform, and it looked like something powerful and strong to me. I will always remember those images. Brian: For me too! Just seeing five young guys who grew up where I was from – that just intrigued me from the very beginning.
Which is your favourite JE album and why?
Brandon: It would have to be the Heartbreak album. It’s such a monumental album in our career, as well as in R&B. I think that no matter what albums we put out, people are always going to compare it to that JE Heartbreak album. Brian: Yeah, that’s classic. My favourite album is probably the Baby Makin’ Project. I’m a ballad lover till the end!
Which old-school song brings back the most memories?
Brian: I have a few… [Laughs] Brandon: One song that instantly conjures up nostalgia is R Kelly’s ‘Bump N’ Grind’. Whenever I hear that song [the remix version] it almost puts me in a place of wherever I was the first time I heard it… [Laughter all round] Brian: For me, I think ‘It Seems Like You’re Ready’ by R Kelly. [Sings and sounds amazing!]
Which artists are your biggest old-school inspirations?
Brandon: I would have to say for me personally it would be Mary J Blige. Her consistency since the 90s is probably unmatched. Album after album, hit after hit, she was definitely one of the biggest figures of the 90s.
Brian: I would say Jodeci, just because we were high-school kids. I remember the first time I saw them I felt like there was nothing else like them, before them. They were the first of their kind. I think Jodeci had a big impact for me in the 90s. And if you could bring back any 90s R&B group, who would you choose and why?
Brian: Definitely Jodeci, and 112 – just because one thing I used to love is that people always used to put us against them, but I felt like if you were gonna put us against somebody, that’s the best group to do it with, and I love the little friendly competition we used to have with them! Brandon: Now we have no competition! [Both laugh]
Can you tell us about the artists you will be working with on your forthcoming album?
Kyle: So far we’re in talks with Rick Ross and Plies. We talked to Jay-Z about doing a song on the last album, so we’re going to try to pursue that again, and we’ve also been chatting with Snoop Dogg.
Could The Remedy be a sequel to the incredible Heartbreak album?
Brandon: We try to take whatever is new that’s going on in the music industry and incorporate that with our own music, so I’m sure you will hear newer influences as well.
Wingo: It’s a great album, whenever we get together and go on the road or go on tour, in the studio to record, it’s always magic! That’s one reason why we have been together for so long and it’s kept us relevant.
Single ‘Baby’ is out now on iTunes and album The Remedy is due out this summer.