Album Exclusive: Novel’s The Audiobiography
On Monday February 2, a group of New York-based media was invited to Capitol Records for the first preview of the anticipated debut album from singer/rapper/writer/producer Novel.
Novel gives a preview of his album to assembled media
The event was hosted by Novel himself, who was excitedly introduced as “the male Lauryn Hill” by Capitol’s Senior Director of A&R (and the man who signed him) Chris Anokute.
Chris Anokute (Senior Director of A&R), Novel, Dave Enriquez (Domestic Product Manager)
Unlike most artist comparisons, the description is fitting. Like current powerhouses Ne-Yo and The-Dream, Novel has built a career working behind the scenes, writing and producing for artists including Alicia Keys, Joss Stone, Lionel Richie and many more. After being signed to numerous labels including Rawkus Records, Novel is now attached to Dallas Austin‘s Rowdy imprint via Capitol and his debut album, titled The Audiobiography, is quite simply a masterpiece.
Here’s a breakdown of what music fans can expect:
- “Intro” – The album opener “basically breaks down what the album is going to be about,” laughed Novel as he talked to the room about the overflowing subject matter featured (everything from family and friends to Nelson Mandela and Notorious B.I.G) and his decision to rap, rather than sing, the intro.
- “Makes You Happy” – DJ Toomp produced this R&B gem. A warm, sunny dedication to a special lady where Novel sings “I’m all in your world/And it don’t get no better”.
- “Think That We Landed” – If Kanye West had the vocal chops to sing as he desired, he would have made this track. The sound is futuristic and frenetic, with Novel describing the song as being “about a girl I met, spent the whole night smoking and drinking with until it felt like we landed on another planet. If Prince was to make a track with Andre 3000, I think this is what it would sound like!” It’s up for possible lead single, in addition to “Makes You Happy”.
- “Song Cry” – Like most Jay-Z fans, Novel was touched by the concept of Jay’s hit (from 2001′s The Blueprint) lamenting the end of a once-strong relationship, so he flipped it into a soulful number about him and his father Mickey Stevenson, who was actually Motown Records’ first VP and A&R.
- “My Little Piece of Wonderful” – The song describes Novel’s feelings towards his daughter (born to Novel when he was 17), but also doubles as a love song, with Chrisette Michele lending her luscious vocals.
- “If She Didn’t Do (So Much Drugs)” – Here Novel raps about the crazy ways of his one-time girl over a pulsating, organ-heavy track produced by Dallas Austin.
- “One” – A stirring anthem reflecting our current times and showing the influence alternative rock has had on Novel as an artist, with a strong message derived from Bob Marley‘s classic “One Love”.
- “I Can Be President” – Numerous dedications to President Barack Obama have been made, but this is arguably the best. Originally produced by the late J Dilla and featuring Joell Ortiz (who earnestly raps “Man it felt good/To watch the new and actually see smiles in the ‘hood”), “I Can Be President” is on Novel’s current unofficial release, 808s & Mixtapes.
- “I’m Not Drunk, I’m Just Drinking” – Inspired by classic country and blues songs, “I’m Not Drunk, I’m Just Drinking” is a stripped-down, witty track that showcases Novel’s vocals: “Sitting here trying to figure out/Tell me how did I live without/All of your love and affection/Even though sometimes it feels like we’re moving in different directions.”
- “Velvet Sky” – This is Novel’s swansong and he isn’t hesitant to say how the song is influenced directly by Prince’s signature “Purple Rain”, talking to the media about how the Purple One himself heard the song, asked Novel to come to one of his shows and met him afterwards. The haunting track is about death, but everything is powerfully described by metaphors of colors. Novel first recorded “Velvet Sky” when he was signed to Rawkus and bought the track off them because he says he would “never, ever re-record it. I believe you can never recapture a magical moment.”
- “Should You Stay” – Another alternative track, influenced by the music of Coldplay and Keane, that captures an earnest yearning from a man to a woman.
Other tracks set to be featured are “Caffeine & Cigarettes” with Cody ChestnuTT, a duet with Leona Lewis and his lead single that’s currently out now, “I Am”.
The Audiobiography (due for release summer 2009) is set to be the most satisfying music experience fans will have in a long time. Artists so diverse in their offerings are most often a hard sell, however Novel is a proven talent to many industry insiders and the public will no doubt agree.
Check out current single “I Am” featuring Talib Kweli, Ben Folds and Spree Wilson:
Look out for Boss Lady‘s interview with Novel on DrJays.com Live by the end of the week!
*Special thanks to Brian Scully, Tynicka Battle and the Think Tank Marketing team.