Producer Sleepy Brown on His First Solo Album

Sleepy Brown has produced and written songs for some of music's hottest artists, including Outkast, TLC and Brandy. You can hear his vocals on Outkast's "I Like the Way You Move" and "So Fresh and So Clean." Farai Chideya talks with Brown about his versatile music career and his first solo album Mr. Brown.

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FARAI CHIDEYA, host:

This is NEWS & NOTES. I'm Farai Chideya.

Producer and songwriter Sleepy Brown has contributed to some of music's hottest artists, like Outkast, TLC and Brandy. But the Atlanta native is best known for his cool vocals on Outkast's I Like the Way You Move and So Fresh and So Clean.

After more than a decade, Brown delivers his silky, Southern vocals on his first solo album, Mr. Brown. He told me about his musical inspiration.

Mr. SLEEPY BROWN (Musician): I've always wanted to be in music, because my father was in a band in the ‘70s called Brick and they had some hits.

(Soundbite of song "Ain't Gonna Hurt Nobody")

SINGER: Ain't gonna hurt nobody so get on down, it ain't gonna hurt nobody...

Mr. BROWN: It's definitely in my genes and I knew that I always wanted to do it.

CHIDEYA: Was that a blessing or a curse? I'm sure your dad had some moments when the industry frustrated him.

Mr. BROWN: If you love it, if that's what you want to do, that's what you going to do. You know? So for me I knew it was going to be good as well as bad. But it's just about, you know, taking the punches and keep on moving.

CHIDEYA: Now you come out of the scene that has spawned so many artists: Atlanta. What is it that's so special about Atlanta that has really brought some creativity to the scene in recent years?

Mr. BROWN: As far as Outkast, we wanted to make sure that brothers from Atlanta had something to be proud of. I think Atlanta is just a melting pot for music. Like, we love all kinds of things and we'll just take it and make it our own.

CHIDEYA: What's your new album like, Mr. Brown?

Mr. BROWN: It's myself being finally at peace and understanding what I do and what music means to me. So it's kind of like my little spiritual awakening.

CHIDEYA: You have this song, Margarita.

(Soundbite of song "Margarita")

Mr. BROWN: (Singing) I've been working all day, now I'm gone so see ya. It's time for play, so name the place I'll meet ya. Make it through the bar…

CHIDEYA: Tell me specifically about that song and also about the video.

Mr. BROWN: It's just about unwinding, you know, working all day and just finally getting off work and being able to just, you know, be yourself again without being so, you know, corporate.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CHIDEYA: Well, I have to say you don't look very corporate. I'm looking at you, you're wearing, you know, a white sleeveless T-shirt, you've got lots of tattoos.

Mr. BROWN: Yeah. I'm not at all corporate.

CHIDEYA: That's right, that's right. I guess you just fantasize...

Mr. BROWN: That's for everybody, you know...

CHIDEYA: That's for everybody.

Mr. BROWN: That works from 9 to 5.

CHIDEYA: Exactly. And you shot the video in Majorca, Spain. That's hard work right there.

Mr. BROWN: Yeah. It sure was. Staying out in that sun, I tell you, looking at beautiful women. That was just too hard for me.

CHIDEYA: Mm-hmm. I'm sure.

Mr. BROWN: But it was fun though. It's a beautiful place. My first time being there.

CHIDEYA: Well, I mean is it all fun? I mean when you go out there on those video shoots how hard do they work you?

Mr. BROWN: I mean it's really not hard work at all, if that's what you love to do. I mean shooting a video in my backyard would be great. Doesn't matter, you know, as long as I'm doing what I want to do.

CHIDEYA: It seems like you've got a lot of support behind this album. But you recorded an album called Grown and Sexy that was never released. How did that make feel?

Mr. BROWN: I'm kind of glad that it didn't because the album really wasn't ready. This album right here is actually the Grown and Sexy finished completely. Mr. Brown is though. Instead of calling it that again, I called it Mr. Brown.

CHIDEYA: How does Big Boi, for example, or your other friends, feel about you moving from behind the scenes to the spotlight?

Mr. BROWN: You know, everybody on Dungeon Family is proud for me.

CHIDEYA: So what's next for you?

Mr. BROWN: Just continue to do music.

(Soundbite of music)

CHIDEYA: Sleepy Brown's debut album is called Mr. Brown and it's out in stores October 3rd.

(Soundbite of song “One of Dem Nights”)

Mr. BROWN: (Singing) Everybody's ready, time to get it, because it's got to be one of dem nights. (Unintelligible) trying to get it ‘cause it's got to be one of dem nights. (It's about to be) One of dem nights, one of dem nights, about to be one dem nights. It's about to be one of dem nights, one of dem nights, you were (unintelligible) one of dem nights.

It's time to get it on, we got it laid for you, whatever turns you on. Don't stop from dusk to dawn, even then we'll keep partying and vibing to this song. Whatever your groove we got it, all right...

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Mr. Brown

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Mr. Brown
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Released
2006

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