Mark Edward Nero: What was the overall theme of Love Has No Recession?
Aja Graydon: Our theme is really encompassed in the title. it's just about the resilience and the unmovable nature of the things that are most important in life. You can have issues with things like finances, you can have issues with the world, with things that are going on all around you, but love has no recession in the sense of that true love, the things that are most important in life, are unmovable and unshakable.
Nero: How did the whole theme originate? Is this something you'd been thinking about for awhile, and just saw what was going on in the world and in the country today?
Fatin Dantzler: Initially, we wanted to title our album The Great Recession, we felt like in a sense, making an audio piece and putting it in a time capsule about the times we're living in, I felt we are experiencing, and living during extraordinary times. Not just with the country or with the world, or financially for that nature, but just in general, that we are not really as a community of artists, in some ways speaking on. There's so much more to life than the romantic part about your life. And even knowing that we're a husband and wife duo, we're also parents, we're also people who live in the community, we're also citizens of the world, and we just needed to kind of open our minds a little bit beyond our comfort zone.
Nero: How difficult was it for you two to leave your comfort zone and explore some topics that hadn't been really explored on your previous albums?
Aja: I don't think it was that difficult. People who know us personally know that we have lots of conversations about those kinds of issues. I don't feel like it was too much of a step outside of the conversations we were having in our living room and on our cel. phones outside of the studio. We just brought those conversations into the studio, which really wasn't that difficult. I feel that we came up with something that's somewhat a departure from what we would normally do, but more than anything, we pulled that subject matter in to what we do.
Nero: One thing that's different from your previous albums is there's quite a few collaborations, you two worked with Chuck Brown, DJ Kool, Rich Medina, Snoop Dogg. Was that a conscious decision, or during the creative process did you just say 'hey, why don't we put such-and-such person on this song'?
Aja: It wasn't a conscious decision at all. I think that maybe more open to it this time around. Sometimes it just seem that we were crafting songs that just felt like 'Hey, you know who we should get on this?!' type of thing. It wasn't really like a thing where this album was really gonna open up the floodgates for people to come work with us. it really come out organically with everybody, even Snoop. It wasn't really conscious, but we definitely understood as we were making the records that there were certain records that would be enhanced by having certain people on them.
Nero: Speaking of Snoop, how did the single "You Got Love" come together? What was the origin of that track?
Fatin: The track was given to us by (producers) Steve Mckie and Adam Blackstone, and we had the first verse and hook already. And it was something that we were just kind of vibing with for awhile. And we kind of got introduced to this relationship like 'Snoop might wanna work with you guys' kind thing. We sent him a couple of tracks that we were in the midst of working on, and I think it was two songs, and "You Got Love" was the one where he just wrote back to me immediately like 'yo that's a hit!' He wanted to get on it. And one day, the vocals just showed up. And it really felt like Snoop came to our world more than we went to his world. He wanted to do something that was authentically like us, but put his spin. And for that, we're just really proud and happy.
Nero: Aja, do you have a favorite song on the new album?
Aja: My favorite song, I would really have to say is "Magic Happen." I just love that song, I sing it all the time and I just like it a lot. Over the past few months, I find myself singing it all the time. I really like my husband's voice on that particular song; it just sounds so genuine, like something he would say to me ... I hear him all in it. Actually, I sing his verse more than I sing mine.
Nero: And how about you, Fatin. Do you have a favorite song?
Fatin: "Magic Happen" is definitely one of my favorites. I don't think I have just a favorite. I really think this record is full of a lot of great songs, a lot of great musicianship, a lot of great energy. They all give me and evoke different moods, I just like it as a project, I really do.
Nero: I just had one other question for you, and I guess this question would be for both of you: what is your opinion of contemporary R&B and Soul music? The music that you make is a little bit different from a lot of the music that's on the radio and video shows.
Aja: If you had to judge African Americans based solely on what was playing on popular radio, you would think that we were the horniest and the richest people on Earth, because it seems as though within black music, there's a plethora of talk about sex and money and wealth and the trappings of wealth. I am somewhat disappointed at the narrowness of what's being talked about within our music landscape. I would love to see us stretch our wings a little bit more and definitely be a little bit more crafty in our songwriting. But I'm also really happy in a way about the state of music. I know so many quality and beautiful artists who are doing things that are fantastic. Our labelmate Anthony David, Jill Scott, artists like Kem, artists like Musiq Soulchild. So there are people out there representing for the real.
Fatin: I think there's room for every kind of music that is made. I don't think it should be about bashing young and impressionable musicians. There has to be different kinds of music so you can recognize the good music.