Sound Check: Tony Terry

You can’t mention some of the greatest R&B love songs without mentioning R&B crooner Tony Terry’s wedding anthem hit “(When I’m) With You.”  The North Carolina-born singer topped the charts in the late 1980s and early ‘90s with hits that are still being played today. After a brief hiatus, the soulful singer is back with a new single called “Dance For Hours” from his forthcoming album slated to be released later this year. With the new release, Terry is reminding listeners that he has more in his repertoire than just ballads.

Tony Terry is more than just a singer; he’s also an actor who draws from his theatrical background as a graduate of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts to flex his acting chops on stages across the country.

SoulTrain.com spoke with the singer/actor about re-introducing fans to the styles of music he loves and his upcoming projects.

Tony TerrySoulTrain.com:   You just released a new single called “Dance for Hours.” It’s a different vibe from what listeners are used to hearing from you. Talk about how you ended up with this song.

Tony Terry: Well, I’ve been working on my new project for about 2 or 3 years, and during that time I’ve recorded hundreds of songs, literally. “Dance for Hours” is a song that came to me while I was working out with a friend of mine. I knew he was a singer and songwriter but had we never worked together, though we worked out together quiet often. He played the song for me and I was just wrapping up a project, so this was one of the last songs that I recorded and ended up being the first song on the album. The single is available on iTunes and Google Play, and it’s everywhere you digitally download.

SoulTrain.com: What can listeners expect to hear on the project?

Tony Terry: It’s a mixture of music that goes from rock to R&B ballads, the kind of stuff that I like to sing. When “With You” came out it kind of overshadowed anything that I had done prior to that, so people really forgot that I had done several dance records. So people expect to hear a ballad from me because of “With You” and forget about all the up-tempo songs that I’ve done. On this album, I really just mixed it up and did everything from rock to R&B. I’m super excited about the album—it’s smoking hot! I had a long time to put it together and I can’t wait to hear what people have to say about it, good or bad, but hopefully it will be good!

SoulTrain.com: Do you still get a lot of requests to do the song “With You” today when you are performing, even when you are acting in plays?

Tony Terry: I just did a play over Father’s Day weekend where I played a character who was abused by his wife. Somehow they wanted to put “With You” in the play and I’m like, “I’m not singing that song to that woman!” No matter where I go, I can’t do a concert or performance and not sing it. They will find a way to put it in even if it doesn’t work.

SoulTrain.com: Obviously you are still singing and acting, and you have a new album coming. What other acting projects do you have coming down the pipeline?

Tony Terry: I was recently cast as the lead in the Broadway-bound musical Carwash: The Norman Whitfield Story. If you remember the movie Car Wash, it’s being taken to the Broadway stage. I’m just blessed to be cast in the lead role in that production. Also, I am working on a television series called Immortals: Atlanta. We are expected to start shooting that in August, so I have a few things coming up.

SoulTrain.com: How do you balance your singing and acting careers?

Tony Terry: I try to stay busy. A lot of people don’t know that my career actually started in theater, so it’s not such a stretch for me to a theatrical gig along with the music. So it’s just something I balance to bow in and out of and it’s not a struggle to do both. I just make sure of the scheduling and making sure stuff doesn’t overlap.

SoulTrain.com: How do you feel about people who are being cast in roles in television, movies, and plays and they may not have the same experience talent as some who are being overlooked? Is this where this industry as a whole is headed?

Tony Terry: The entertainment business is really built on relationships—it’s about who you know versus what you know. I think that’s what happens with people who may be considered not as talented as another artist or what have you; it’s all about those relationships. If you have a network of relationships, then you can make some things happen, regardless of your talent.

SoulTrain.com: In 2012 when you chatted with SoulTrain.com, you discussed the constant mantra that R&B is a dying genre or even dead. In that interview you said it’s not dead, it’s just changing. Do you still feel the same way about the genre?

Tony Terry: Now that I have new music out, I sure hope it isn’t dead! I want everybody to buy it. I really don’t know, it’s been changing a lot. I am constantly asked to put out a new album, so it remains to be seen what will happen with the genre. There are a lot of places on the FM dial where it’s not being played, but we have the internet now, so people still have access to the music. People are still showing love around the world to R&B and hopefully with this new album we are able to cash in on some of that love.

Make sure to follow Tony Terry on Twitter @MrTonyTerry for updates.

-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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