Sound Check: Alvin Garrett—Inspiring to Dream


Armed with a brand new sound and dreams to fulfill, Grammy-nominated songwriter/producer Alvin Garrett is back with new music of his own.

Fresh off the success of writing and producing for an impressive lineup that includes R&B singer Joe with 13 songs on his last two albums, American Idol winner Ruben Studdard, Johnny Gill, PJ Morton, Jordan Knight, Noel Gourdin, Trin-i-tee 5:7, and more, Garrett is refocusing on his own singing career.

For his newest release, Alvin Garrett has teamed up with Studdard, a long-time friend, to deliver the new soul rousing single “By Myself,” which is sure to light a fire of inspiration for all who listen. “By Myself” is about resilience in the face of adversity and rejection,” explains Garrett. “My journey has often led me down old rugged roads that caused me to question my purpose, but I’ve always been determined to keep pressing on through the walls of opposition.”

SoulTrain.com caught up with Alvin Garrett to discuss the single and how it’s helping to inspire others.

SoulTrain.com: You took it to church with the song By Myself! Talk a little bit about how the song came together for you.

Alvin GarrettAlvin Garrett: I guess it did take you to church! I really didn’t intend to write the song. I had gotten the music and I listened to the track and just couldn’t really write to it. It was around the holidays, there was a lot going on in my personal life and a lot going on in the country, so there was a bundle of emotions. I just happened to be in the studio one night and played the track again, and decided to plug everything up and I just went in and started singing. It wasn’t about any particular feeling. It ended up being more about a situation that summed up my life, my belief system, and as well as my position of what I believe that everyone should be willing to take and that is you have to be willing to fight for whatever you believe in, even if you don’t have a crowd of people around you, you still have to fight, and it’s a universal message. This is a message for anyone young and old, you really have to stand for your beliefs. I think in today’s time we want to follow the trend because it’s the cool thing, let’s look on social media see what’s happening, let me wear this or that, and basically people have lost their sense of identity. You don’t have to believe what I believe, but I’m still going to do what I believe is right. So the song just came out with this intensity and that’s how it happens sometimes, it’s just not planned, it just happens.

SoulTrain.com: What prompted you and Ruben Studdard to decide to record this single together? Since you two go way back, was this just something where you were just waiting on the right opportunity to come about?

Alvin Garrett: Ruben and I do go way back, pre-American Idol. We had always talked about what we were working on. I let him hear it and he was blown away. He actually wanted the song for his album, but I was just too connected to the song personally. He said it was personal for him also, and he said he wanted to sing with me, so I was honored that he wanted to work with me on it. He jumped with me on the song and it just turned out really great.

SoulTrain.com: What kind of feedback have you been getting on the single?

By Myself CoverAlvin Garrett: The response has been really cool; it’s been overwhelming in a good way. It’s a slow grind, one of those fires that burns slow but catches on and won’t stop burning. I’m still an emerging artist so it takes a little while to catch on, and once people hear it, they personalize it. So that’s why I think when people hear it, they will think well, this is my story also. They won’t say, oh, it’s Alvin Garrett or there’s Ruben. It will be this is my song, this is what I go through, or even this is my theme song. That type of reaction and its connection to people is this project’s sustainability. I would love for this to blow up overnight, but I’m enjoying seeing the response from people on social media and in my inbox about the song.

SoulTrain.com: Will there be a video for this song?

Alvin Garrett: I’ve been looking at a couple of treatments, but the problem is this is a song that can go so many different ways. You could tie it to the civil rights, or to the emotions that people are experiencing in Baltimore, or even to the independent artist who’s just trying to get on. There are just so many storylines and directions this could go in with this song. I don’t want to box the song into one of those storylines. So honestly, it’s more of a creative hold up. I do hope to have a video soon, but I want it to be the right one since it’s a universal message.

SoulTrain.com: When will your next album be released?

Alvin Garrett: I’m working on it. I’m working on another EP and I’m hoping to release that sometime this year. Right now I’m just focusing on the single. I’m also working and writing on other projects as well. I want the EP to be more soulful, like “By Myself”—that type of soul, with a more classic approach. I’m actually singing different than I did on the first album. Some of the other songs I’m working on is a bit raw versus the more sexy approach that I took the last time.

SoulTrain.com: With a lot of the civil unrest that has been in the news lately, does this change or affect the type of music you want to do in the future, like perhaps focus more on songs that speak to the situations going on and providing a soundtrack of reality?

Alvin Garrett: I’m not sure I would want to just make music about what’s on right now, but I would certainly want to use my platform to speak my heart about what I feel about what’s going on with our country.

SoulTrain.com: Whats next for you besides finishing the EP and pushing the single? What else are you working on?

Alvin Garrett: I’m working on some gospel projects and I’m focusing really on my own stuff. I’m working on potentially touring with myself and my band. The main thing is this single, once this song goes then everything will fall in place. This is big for me to have a song on the radio with my voice, this is the first one. I’ve had songs on the radio of songs that I’ve written. So to hear my voice on the radio is huge.

SoulTrain.com: Will you and Ruben tour together?

Alvin Garrett: Sounds like a good idea doesn’t it? Anything could happen.

For updates, check out Alvin Garrett’s website and follow him on Twitter @TheAlvinGarrett.

—Shameika Rene’

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, Carolina Style Magazine, Uptown Magazine, WEtv.com, or her own websites, www.themofochronicles.com and www.conversationswithmeik.blogspot.com. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram @mofochronicles.

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