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B.W.D: Interview w/ Avant + KeKe Wyatt + T-Wayne

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The masterful crooner is back on point with his seventh album, Face the Music (Feb. 5, 2013). Inspired by the R&B legends—Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Luther Vandross and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds—who have been guiding lights in Avant’s career, the project marks the singer’s first release on the Capitol/EMI-distributed independent label Mo-B. But the set does more than just pay homage to R&B masters. Thanks to Avant’s inventiveness, Face the Music cooks up a tantalizing blend of contemporary and traditional sounds.

Jumpstarting the buzz about the forthcoming album is lead single “You & I,” Avant’s long-anticipated reunion with duet partner Keke Wyatt. Already a top 10 hit on Billboard’s Adult R&B chart and currently climbing the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs tally, the searing love ballad revisits the natural magic Avant and Wyatt conjured on their first hit together, “My First Love.”

Like many R&B singers, Avant got his start singing in the church choir. After attending Cleveland School of the Arts, he became the first act signed to NBA legend Magic Johnson’s MCA-distributed label, Magic Johnson Music (MJM). Avant’s 2000 MJM debut album, My Thoughts, spun off the Billboard No. 1 R&B hit “Separated.” That was followed by the top five hit “My First Love,” a cover of the 1983 Ren&eac

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