Sound Check: Rudy Currence—Creating Music with a Message

It’s been a while since we have heard singer/songwriter Rudy Currence’s rich vocals, but the good news is he’s finally back with new music. The singer recently dropped the video for his newest single, “Royal Blue.” The song is a mixture of electro-dance music with Rudy’s signature soulful sound.  While it has been some time since Currence has delivered some original music to the fans, he’s been staying busy performing, writing, and producing for artists like David Banner. In 2013, Currence won Grammy and Dove Awards for his work on Lecrae’s album Gravity. Currence was also nominated for a Grammy for writing “Sunday AM” for Karen Clark Sheard.

Rudy Currence Royal BlueSoulTrain.com chatted with Rudy Currence about the direction he’s taking musically and why it’s important for artists like him to carve out their own niche in the music industry.

SoulTrain.com: Your new single “Royal Blue” has a different flow from what we are used to hearing from you. What made you decide to switch things up?

Rudy Currence: It’s funny because I had a concept for my album called The Coronation. I started coming up with a lot of regal-themed songs, so “Royal Blue” is really just a part of that. One of the reasons behind the royal thing was I’ve been in the music game for a while and I want to be considered music royalty. I want to be considered one of the greats one day. That was one aspect. Another aspect from a musical standpoint was that there are so many derogatory terms being used to identify us, that I wanted to do something that was more positive, uplifting, and encouraging in a subliminal way. I just had to slip that in there that hey, you are a queen or a king instead of you are a thug, hoodlum, hoe, or ratchet. So with “Royal Blue” it also appeals more to an international market since my fan base is growing—especially overseas like South America, the United Kingdom, and even South Africa. I wanted to do something that appealed to a more worldly audience and give them something they can identify with.

SoulTrain.com: Is that the direction you are going with the entire album as well?

Rudy Currence: No, not necessarily. I just want to make sure the album has good songs, great melodies, good lyrical content, and stuff like that. I’m really excited about it. The album is definitely going to be thorough because I want it to be a great body of work. I feel like in music we are in such a disposable time, and with so much going on, a lot of artists and labels know that people don’t really buy albums anymore. So with that, they don’t make great albums, they focus on singles and put a lot of filler records on a CD and say, “Here’s my album.” I want to make sure my album is an incredible body of work.

SoulTrain.com: Do you have any collaborations on this album?

Rudy Currence: No, but I may get my brother Mykel Starr on there. He has a new single out as well. I’m excited about what he’s doing. His stuff is more hip-hop and more trap than what I do, but we make it work because we both come from the same place; he’s the drummer, I’m the keyboard/piano player. It just works together. He is going to do a remix production-wise for “Royal Blue.” Also I am collaborating, writing, and producing for other people. I wrote and co-produced a song on David Banner’s new album, it’s called “Marry Me.” It’s a song that’s just loving on women, letting them know that I’ll be there for you, I’ll be your support system and I’ll marry you. I think sometimes people just need to hear that.

SoulTrain.com:  Do you feel that as an artist you have to conform or compromise your style even a little bit to what people are listening to today?

Rudy Currence: I don’t think that any artist has to do that to be honest; especially an artist that is established. I think sometimes that people can give in to peer pressure. I think you should always make things in a relevant, more relatable manner according to what’s going on in the world. Great artists usually are socially conscious and their music will reflect the signs of the times. In that aspect, I think you want to be relevant and have something to say that people can relate to. Your art is an expression, but as an artist you are also creating the soundtrack of life. So conforming to something that goes against your brand, no I don’t think you should compromise your integrity as an artist. For me, especially being a preacher’s kid and growing up in the church, I have a big church following. I do a lot of work on the gospel side of things as well with production or whatever. So because I also make secular music, I try to do stuff that everybody can get with and still remain true to who I am.

SoulTrain.com:  Did you ever feel any backlash from the church for pursuing secular music?

Rudy Currence: You have some people that will put God in a box, so of course they will put you in a box. There are definitely small-minded people who think you need to be singing in the church. There are also some who don’t feel like you should be limited to local church ministries. What they don’t realize is that, through my music, I’m out here in secular venues and I’m reaching people. I always take God with me. I have a relationship with Him; I share that relationship with those people and I encourage and inspire people, so God is still getting glorified. I don’t have to wear the label of a gospel artist to touch people’s lives. Any opportunity I get to thank God I take, and we usually have a church moment in the show anyway so it works out.

Music seems to be the only occupation where people expect people to identify as a gospel artist; lawyers and doctors who are saved don’t go to work with an “I love Jesus” t-shirt on or with their Bible. Gospel is for the world, but if you’re always singing and catering to the people who love Jesus, how is anybody else going to be about Him if they don’t know about Him? You need people who are inside the traditional four walls of the church and you need people who are unconventional, but they can also be a light in the dark. I want my album,The Coronation, to be a light in the dark because music has become so ratchet that positivity is missing. It’s important that there is a lane for an artist like me.

To keep up with Rudy Currence, check out his website.

-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 Five, Creative Loafing, Carolina Style Magazine, Uptown Magazine, Sheen 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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