Silk Returns With Another 'Session'

It's been almost a decade since Atlanta-based quintet Silk stormed the music world with its 1992 chart-topping debut album, "Lose Control," which it followed in 1995 with "Silk." As the group prepares

It's been almost a decade since Atlanta-based quintet Silk stormed the music world with its 1992 chart-topping debut album, "Lose Control," which it followed in 1995 with "Silk." As the group prepares for the June 12 release of its fourth Elektra album, "Love Session," consistency remains the fivesome's byword.

Richard Nash, Elektra's senior VP of promotion, believes Silk's devotion to its sound is what keeps it relevant. "They don't try to follow the latest trends," says Nash. "They helped establish the sound for the R&B/hip-hop groups that followed. A lot of what we now hear from R&B groups began when Silk released [1992's] 'Freak Me.'"

Indeed, the raunchy signature style of Silk -- comprising Garry "Big G" Glenn, Gary "Lil G" Jenkins, Johnathen "John John" Rasboro (aka "Freaky Man"), Timothy "Timzo" Cameron, and Jimmy Gates Jr. -- did spawn imitators. But, unlike Silk, many of those male groups are no longer recording.

And while the 13-track "Love Session," produced by Deelite, shows the band to have matured musically and lyrically, Silk sticks with what it does best: power ballads and midtempo love songs. The group co-wrote and co-produced most of the songs on the album. "We give our fans exactly what they want," says Glenn.

Nash says, "Given the platinum success of its last album, [1999's] 'Tonight,' Silk has been able to maintain and also develop new fans in the younger female demographic." He believes that it's because the group is more than just the sum of its parts. "Most groups today have just one main vocalist. But all the Silk members are incredible vocalists."

Glenn says the group's vocal dexterity is apparent on the new album. "We recorded a remake of [Rick James'] 'Ebony Eyes,'" he notes, "that features Freaky Man's falsetto and Lil G's baritone. It works well."

"We've been very fortunate to do a lot of different things in our music and still remain respected," says Rasboro. "We've never felt pressured to keep up with what's new. We set the trends, not follow them."

In addition to a promotional tour still in the planning stages, Silk will also do a string of in-store appearances that will bring the group's members face-to-face with their fans. Some R&B stations will be holding contests to send call-in winners to the Caribbean for a special Silk concert.

Blackplanet.com will also conduct a featured promotion in addition to sponsoring a special contest through its new online dating service. Two winners who meet through Blackplanet.com will also be flown to the Caribbean concert.

"The Silk fan has grown with the group, and our marketing and promotion reflect that," says Michelle Murray, Elektra's senior director of marketing. "The group is very radio- and consumer-driven, so we're concentrating on reintroducing them to the marketplace."