Once upon a time, heartthrobs made up groups such as New Edition, Jodeci, and Boyz II Men. They sang ballads that made lovers swoon by appreciating every asset, every touch and every breath. But, those days are long gone. R&B has recently taken an aggressive turn, leaving almost nothing to the imagination.
But perhaps the true essence of love within R&B can be saved. That hope may be found in a group of young men who answer to the names of Bishop, Jericho, Xion, D-Lew and Diesel—and collectively call themselves Compozitionz.
Having studied musical legends such as the Temptations, Sam Cooke and Take 6, the group combined their knowledge and musical talent and began singing as a quartet at Jackson State University. Consequently, as most stories go, a lot of hard work and one additional member later, the group took its name from Anita Baker's third release album and then began performing as "Compozitionz."
They all exhaled deeply when asked about their new album and what it was like to work together on the project. Their new single from the album "Come Over" has become a local hit. "It's a major accomplishment for us because prior to the 'radio Compozitionz' we were more of a live performing group. We've always drawn a crowd with stage shows, dance steps and old-school Motown music. Then all of a sudden to fit into a mainstream rotation is a huge leap for us," says Juan (Bishop) Knott.
Brian (Xion) Johnson adds that the love Compozitionz is receiving locally is refreshing and appreciated because it was often difficult to be taken seriously here at home. "We used to go to every place and try to get gigs, and we couldn't," he says. "Now, it's a wonderful sensation to know that even our own state loves us on the radio as much as they do. You can't compare it."
This new-found love for these romantic heroes may be partly due to the fact that their music creates a mood that is essential for the purpose of lovemaking, both physically and mentally. The guys say that they are serious about using their talent as a way of recreating the connection between men and women that has been lost in the music of today—music that often favors one-night stands over long-term commitments.
"A lot of the newer music I respect, I like, but when it comes to love, it's not there in some of the new music. What we try to portray in most of the songs we do is a constant thread speaking on love and relationships," says Larry (Jericho) Armstrong. "It's not about the 'hit it and quit it' mentality. What we try to bring to music is that connection where you're in love, you want to be there, and that's the only place you want to be."
On the contrary, the only place Compozitionz is dying to be these days is on the stage, in your speaker and in your ear. With the recent accomplishments of their album and single, opening for groups such as B2K, and even selling records in Japan as they aspire to have an international sales market, the group's dance card is full.
The group currently has a standing show performing at the Horizon Casino in Vicksburg, as well as appearing at several corporate shows. Compozitionz is performing Aug. 3-5, 2005, in Atlanta at the Sixth Annual Billboard/AURN R&B and Hip-Hop Conference.
"We want to do what we do, but on a bigger scale. We want to magnify our career right now. Instead of selling out a place at the capacity of 500, we want to sell out 15 thousand," Knott says. "Once we are in front of you and present to you our thoughts, feelings, ideas, and emotions, you'll buy into it cause we're giving you what we got."