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Brian McKnight Reflects on ‘U Turn’ Album After 10 Years

Brian McKnight
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Brian McKnight’s seventh studio album, ‘U Turn,’ celebrated its 10-year anniversary yesterday. Released on March 25, 2003, the effort was a new direction in Brian’s life.

Already having 10 years in the music industry under his belt prior to the release of ‘U Turn,’ the singer needed to figure out a way to reinvent himself as an artist, all while dealing with a divorce from his wife along the way.

He speaks with TheDrop.fm about the making of the album and reflects on certain standout tracks.

Brian and Julie McKnight were married for 13 years, after meeting while attending Oakwood College in Alabama. Then they parted, and while crafting ‘U Turn,’ he had to deal with that life change. “I was 33 at the time,” Brian shares. “And I felt like I needed to have a new outlook on my life. I had just gotten a divorce; my kids — Niko and Brian McKnight, Jr. — were just teenagers at the time. I sort of wanted to look at myself and look at what I was doing.”

Those moments helped inspire the final body of work. “That’s what ‘U Turn’ was all about,” the New York native states. “Especially for men. I’m not sure you know what we do but we reevaluate where we are.”

Brian teamed up with rapper Nelly on the single ‘All Night Long,’ which was featured on the LP. After working with the St. Lunatics on a song called ‘Groovin’ Tonight,’ on ‘Superhero’ — the album prior to ‘U Turn’ — the crooner set his sights on working with Nelly. “The deal was, if I did a song with them [the St. Lunatics], they would have to do a song with me and that’s where it came from.”

The ‘Back at One’ singer elaborates on working with the St. Louis rhymer. “He’s a super talented guy, we did the video and it was just fun,” he admits.

He also worked with Fabolous and Six John on the album’s title track. “I felt with that song, it was one of those cool kind of grooves,” he says. “ With Fabolous and my buddy Six John, they have another perspective than I have and it’s always great to do collaboration with rappers because the two worlds come together.”

On ‘Good Enough,’ he switched the hip-hop collaboration to smooth R&B singers, working with Joe, Carl Thomas, Tank and Tyrese. “I wanted to create something with that song that hasn’t been done before that these guys felt the same,” Brian reveals. “A woman wants sincerity and to mean it and then have it from five different guys who are all very different and desirable in their own way.”

Brian definitely captured that on ‘Good Enough.’ He also captured the essence of his new perspective on life at that time. Though he was dealing with his own trials and tribulations, when it comes to love and loss, he was able to connect with his listeners in his own genius musical way.

At 43, he’ll continue that tradition with the release of a new album, ‘More Than Words,’ due April 2.

Listen to Brian McKnight’s ‘Good Enough’ Feat. Joe, Carl Thomas, Tank & Tyrese

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