Love is the overriding theme on Avant's sophomore album, the aptly titled "Ecstasy." The Magic Johnson Entertainment/MCA project is slated for release March 26.

Love is the overriding theme on Avant's sophomore album, the aptly titled "Ecstasy." The Magic Johnson Entertainment/MCA project is slated for release March 26.

"Since Sept. 11, I've been trying to make lovemaking something that's very serious, mentally or physically," the singer/songwriter says. "I want to be the balladeer. I want people to understand that more love should be in the house. There's no time for arguments."

With that in mind, his new 13-song set features many ballads, accented by a couple of impressive uptempo tunes. "With this CD, I'm taking it more personal," Avant says. "With the last CD, I had to put in a little pop and a little R&B. But this CD is strictly me. The last album was [about] my thoughts -- this album is [about] my feelings."

"Ecstasy" was written and produced by close friend Steve "Stone" Huff and Avant. "Steve just lets me roll," Avant explains. "He makes sure that I'm in his vibe and he's in mine."

Huff arranged and played all the instruments on the album, as well as wearing the executive producer hat with Avant, Eric Payton, and Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Huff also worked on Avant's 2000 debut album, "My Thoughts," which has sold 947,000 copies in the U.S. to date, according to SoundScan. That disc included the top-5 R&B hit "My First Love" with Keke Wyatt. Avant is also featured on Wyatt's current top five MCA album track, "Nothing in This World."

"Makin' Good Love," the lead single from "Ecstasy," was released Jan. 15, and is No. 22 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. "This song is a product of opening your mind and thinking of all the wonderful places [where] you can make good love," Avant says. "I wrote this song before Sept. 11. But after everything happened, it just sealed things. Now it's so perfect for everyone to understand how strong 'Makin' Good Love' really is."

Currently on a 25-city international tour with Mary J. Blige that wraps April 25 in Dublin, Avant will next embark on a solo national tour.





Excerpted from the March 16, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

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