Following Capitol Records’ success with Chingy’s “Right Thurr,” the label is banking on another newcomer, Javier, to help it reclaim a sizable share of the black music market.
Under the direction of Priority/Capitol VP/urban promotion Geo Bivins, the label’s newly relaunched urban division has found a hit with “Right Thurr.” The Disturbing Tha Peace/Capitol single is No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart and No. 4 on the Hot 100.
Javier’s self-titled debut arrives Aug. 5 and marks the division’s first R&B project. Mellow midtempo lead single “Crazy” is No. 55 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally. The track’s Chris Robinson-directed video has also been added to BET’s rotation.
In the late ’90s, Capitol generated some buzz with such R&B acts as Tracie Spencer and Sammie. The label’s current roster includes rap groups Slum Village and Dilated Peoples. The difference this time around, Bivins says, “is that A&R has improved. We’re really picking artists, not records. We’re looking for longevity.”
The label thinks it has this in Javier. The singer/songwriter is also a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, keyboards, percussion) who graduated from Hartford, Conn.’s Hartt School of Music with a degree in music education.
His earlier stints with a neo-funk group and the rocking Derek Trucks Band, led by group’s namesake, who is also guitarist of the Allman Brothers Band, opened the door to the variety of styles found on Javier’s debut.
Veering from R&B to pop to Latin (his dad operates Spanish-formatted AM station WCUM Bridgeport, Conn.), Javier worked with producers the Underdogs (Brandy, Tyrese), Syndicated Rhythm (Christina Aguilera, Amy Grant) and executive producer Kevin Cloud. Guest players include the Roots’ Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, jazz masters Roy Hargrove and Mulgrew Miller and Philadelphia strings maestro Larry Gold.
Javier possesses a voice reminiscent of a young Kenny Lattimore. He co-wrote every song for his debut.
“In this day and age, new artists don’t get that kind of creative control,” says Javier, who writes about everything from love to spirituality.
“There are a lot of male singers coming out now. I have my work cut out for me, trying to be different,” he says. “But I’m looking forward to helping bring back R&B to the charts.”
Javier’s voice is what caught the ear of Capitol senior VP of A&R Wendy Goldstein. “He’s a real musician with perfect pitch. That’s why it was important to us for the record to have his own flavor. Javier is a lot different from what’s out there now.”
Excerpted from the Aug. 2, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com Premium Services section.
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