If you grew up in the 1980s then you probably remember going “Crazy” because your crush was your “Lucky Charm.” You always wanted to tell to them to “Dial My Heart” but if by chance they weren’t at home, they could reach you at the nearest pay phone. If you recall all that, then you probably remember another chapter in Motown history: The heartthrob R&B teen quartet known as The Boys. The group included siblings Khiry, Hakim, Tajh, and Bilal. The group ruled the R&B airwaves until the early 90s.
Fast forward to 2012, The Boys are all grown up and have morphed into the Suns of Light. Today, the group still continues to make music on a more international level.
On a solo note, Tajh, also known as Crown, is sharing love lessons that he’s learned over the years in his new album Crown Deluxe Volume I: Love Notes. “I called the album Love Notes because it became like a journal of my experiences, so I see it as sort of a commentary on the things I’ve learned about love, and because all the songs were inspired by love so the actual music and lyrics were literally love notes, like music notes,” says Crown.
Soul Train: What have you been up to over the past few years?
Crown: Well, for the most part, I have been doing a lot of production and songwriting, mostly stuff that’s been international like in Africa and the UK. I’ve also, along with a business partner, been developing a jewelry line. If you have seen Erykah Badu on the cover of Vibe magazine, she was wearing something we call “earwings” and so that’s heating up. It looks like we’ll be partnering up with her so the “earwings” will be her signature line, but I’ve been busy developing and honing my production skills and working on my music. I’m still working with my brothers to develop our label Sunland Music.
Soul Train: Since you brought up your brothers, what else are you working on with them?
Crown: We have the label, Sunland Music, and for the most part right now we’ve been developing a lot of African music. My brother Hakim lives in Gambia, so we’ve really been working with a lot of African artists there in Gambia, and Nigeria and other places. That’s where our focus has been. We’re international, we’re global we do everything. We did some production on Akon’s last couple of albums. Hakim did some stuff on New Kids on the Block’s last album. So, we’ve been very busy.
Soul Train: Why focus on the African market?
Crown: Really, Africa has so much potential and talent there. There is so much potential in developing that market, which we discovered while living there. You know we all lived there in Gambia for a while, and Hakim is still there. I came back to the States a couple of years ago. Bilal and Khiry are in California. So, we started in Gambia, and then we branched out into Sierra Leone, now we have artists in Nigeria.
Soul Train: What made you guys even decide to move to Africa?
Crown: It was an interesting story. We were performing in Atlanta and a friend of ours was producing the show. She asked us to go to Gambia to perform at the Roots Homecoming Festival. Now, that festival is based on the book Roots by Alex Haley, because that’s where he traced his roots. They have it every other year. So anyway, so we performed at the festival, and afterwards we were all just sitting around talking, and we said it was so nice and decided to just stay (laughs). So we called our parents and told them to send our stuff and musical equipment because we were going to stay awhile.
Soul Train: So were your parents like, “What is wrong with ya’ll? Get on that plane!” (laughs)
Crown: (laughs) Oh yeah, they were like ‘what the…?’ However, they packed up our stuff and shipped it to us. We rented a home downtown and we set up shop and we started working with the local artists, studying the culture, the tradition of music there to blend it with our style. We just started to create a fusion of the two.
Soul Train: That is an awesome story. But how did you get the name Purple Crown?
Crown: Well, it was actually a friend of mine that gave me that name. My name Tajh means Crown, so in English translation that’s my name. In the Chakra System, there is a color associated with each part of the energy system. So the crown of the head is associated with the color purple, and it represents the highest frequency there is on the color light spectrum. So that’s where the name comes from. However, right now, I have simplified it to just being called Crown.
Soul Train: How did you and your brothers come up with the name Suns of Light, since you obviously can’t continue to call yourself The Boys since you’re grown men now?
Crown: Suns of Light was a name that was kind of given to us by some extended family members. It came from the period of time before we moved to Africa. It was more of a transition period from coming from making music as The Boys. It was part of us making a spiritual journey, a journey of self discovery. We learned that money and fame do not equal fulfillment, and even after you attain those things, that if you don’t have a grasp on who you are, and what your purpose is in this world, then you’ll always have that hole or emptiness that can never be filled with other material things. It can only be filled with knowledge and love of yourself. That was the journey we embarked on and so we met people that were able to shed light on those things and point us in the right direction. So that led to us really just learning and our music started to reflect that journey. So Suns of Light released a few albums that reflects that vibe, it has a real positive spiritual tone to it.
Soul Train: Since you guys started out fairly young, do you think that you missed out on part of your childhood?
Crown: We definitely did miss out on some things, but it wasn’t traumatic or anything, it didn’t really mess us up. I can only speak for myself, but we left school around middle school, so we were home schooled after that. For the most part, I was always with my brothers and we had fun, and we were always around adults in the business. So, there were a lot of things that I feel like I missed out on such as learning how to communicate and associate with other people my age. Simple things like that, I found it difficult to relate to people my age, because I was so used to hanging around much older people and my experiences were so different. But I think that during the time when we stepped out of the spotlight, I personally tried to reclaim some of that by interacting with people and really develop my conversational skills. Those are the things you take for granted, having a free flowing conversation especially after you have been trained to talk a certain way through artist development.
Soul Train: Do you think the type of training you received is evident in other artists today? Is that what is missing in the industry now?
Crown: We came in on the tail end before music totally changed. We come from that time of the Motown era when artist training and development was still in place. Our parents were big on that as well; they gave us really good guidance and instruction, aside from music, but like proper etiquette, how to respect your elders, and people in general. They gave us “princely instructions” (laughs), basically they schooled us on how to have class. That is definitely missing in today’s industry, and society in general, it’s not there. The phase of music over the last 15 to 20 years has been kind of moving through and has taught us valuable lessons about our humanity and lack of humanity and respect for one another. There’s only so far that can go before the pendulum swings back in the other direction. You know there’s only so much disrespect that can occur before we destroy ourselves, so eventually it’ll revert to the way things used to be because it’ll get old. It’s like an experiment, going through the gangsta phase, disrespecting women, the chronic, bling-bling and so on, it’s just popular culture.
Soul Train: You just released the single, “Comfortable.” What is it about?
Crown: The song is about love. It’s about how in relationships you have to be sensitive to your partner, being mindful and attentive. In so many relationships, there’s a selfish approach to people interacting and people being concerned about what they can get out of it. So, the song is about a man having a concern and being sensitive to the needs of his woman. That is how love grows, out of mutual respect and concern for one another. Ultimately it’s not about a physical act; it’s the interaction between connecting the heart and the mind. We miss out on so many octaves of love when focusing just on the physical carnal aspect. People think that’s the real prize, but the real treasure is hidden in the soul.
Soul Train: How can fans get a copy of Crown Deluxe Volume I: Love Notes?
Crown: You can download the songs purplecrownbandcamp.com to order the album or you can get the music from CD Baby, and soon it’ll be on the other music distribution sites as well.
Follow Crown on Twitter @TajhCrown.
Shameika Rene’ is a journalist of all trades. She can usually be found producing television news and writing for various websites such as Charlotte Vibe, Creative Loafing, or her own site, www.themofochronicles.com. She’s also a special guest contributor on The Social Hour on Urban Soul Radio. Follow her on Twitter @mofochronicles.