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Interview with Bryan Loren

Bryan Loren started writing music at about age 12, doing recording sessions at 15, and signed his first record deal at the tender age of 17. He debuted with a solo album in 1984 called 'Bryan Loren' featuring cuts like 'Lollipop Luv', 'Do you really love me', the splendid 'Take all of me' and the here displayed 'For Tonight'. Stunning music from this multi-talented producer and songwriter. Loren has written and/or produced music for Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Barry White, Sting, Sly Stone, Chante Moore, Will Downing, Najee, and many others.

Bryan Loren's superfunky 'For Tonight' 12 inch (click here to listen a sample)

I'm happy to present my readers an interview with one of my all-time favorite artists: Bryan Loren. Super to have you on the site Bryan, how do you do?

Bryan Loren:

Hello Ed, I’m great. And thanx for spending some time with me.

You're welcome, the pleasure is all mine. Before we talk about your 'Bryan Loren' album which contains classic songs like 'Lollipop Luv', 'Easier Said Than Done', 'Falling In Love', 'Take All Of Me' and ofcourse the funky killer 'For Tonight', can you tell us about your musical background and influences?

Bryan Loren:

I started playing music (drums primarily) when I was about five years old. I grew up in Philadelphia listening to TSOP and Phila. International. So, songwriting was available in its finest examples. I also listened to alot of Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, Herbie Hancock and many others. Many different types of music too.

What led to your recorddeal with Philly World Records?

Bryan Loren:

I did alot of recording sessions at Alpha International Studios in South Phila. Under the auspice of producer Nick Martinelli, I played on records by Nona Hendrix, Tavares, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Fat Larry’s Band (the first band I was in) and many others. The owner of Alpha International Studios was also the owner of the then fledgling Phillyworld Records. Alpha was also the home base of Phillyworld. My first studio-based band was called Cashmere. I only wrote/made one record with Cashmere, it was called “Do It Any Way You Wanna”. I quit the band after that, and a year or so later was asked by the label to do a solo record.

You had the privilege to work with one of the greatest producers of those days, Nick Martinelli. He was kind of the household producer for Philly World. How was your experience working with him and what was his part in your project?

Bryan Loren:

Contrary to popular belief, Nick had no part in my project. If you look at an original copy of the eponymous Phillyworld album (not the Hot Records re-release which bore a new title (Lollipop Luv) and extra credits(!), you will see that I am its sole producer. The company that bought the Phillyworld catalog, Hot Records, changed that when they re-released the album. Nick is only LISTED as co-producer on Lollipop Luv, a move thought by the label to enhance interest in the record at radio. Nick did not attend one recording session on the Phillyworld album, not even Lollipop Luv.

Bryan Loren's strong debut LP 'Bryan Loren' from 1984

So you wrote, sang, played every instrument, arranged and produced all of your album, that's an admireable achievement. Your warm silky voice over all that music does it for me. How long did it take you to record your album?

Bryan Loren:

Too short. Another interesting fact with regard to that album is, it isn't finished! I was rushed by the label to complete the project in time for a February release, as to coincide with Black History Month. The songs “Easier Said Than Done”, “Stay With Me” and “For Tonight” are incomplete.

That's amazing. I never noticed that though. Nevertheless, your single 'Lollipop Luv' reached a respectable no. 23 in R & B on Billboard's charts and 'Easier Said Than Done' reached no. 68. Did the album sell well too?

Bryan Loren:

I don’t really know. For me, it was more important to springboard from that project into whatever the future was going to be.

It wouldn't be until 8 years later that you released your second album 'Music From The New World'. In the meantime you wrote/produced for many artists such as Vesta Williams, Shanice Wilson, Barry White, Eric Benet, Whitney Houston, Sting, Sly Stone, Chante Moore, Will Downing and even Michael Jackson. Is it true that you co-wrote songs for his 'Thriller' album?

Bryan Loren:

No. I co-wrote songs for 'Dangerous', none of which he used. He eventually used one of those songs for “Blood On The Dance Floor”. It was called, “Superfly Sister”.

Probably your biggest success was the TV soundtrack 'Do The Bartman' which you wrote for the 1991 'Simpsons Sing The Blues' album, eventually selling 2 million copies. How did that come about?

Bryan Loren:

The creator of the Simpsons approached Michael about doing something for the show. He asked me if I would write the song.

Always good to have some important connections then :) Now, your second album 'Music From The New World', that's a somewhat mysterious production. Was it released commercially at all? It seems that it only came out in Japan in small quantities on the Arista label.

Bryan Loren:

That album was not released comercially. It was only released to the cut-out bins in Japan. That is why so many copies seem to turn up as imports.

Bryan's 1992 'Music From The New World' album

What has been going on in your life since the 90's until now? Do you still write and produce a lot?

Bryan Loren:

I still and will ALWAYS write and produce music, though I have focused my efforts on my own work. I’ve spent alot of time traveling the world as well.

Can we expect a third album by Bryan Loren?

Bryan Loren:

Without fail! In fact, I’m looking forward to sharing new music in the no-so-far-away future. Music that will perhaps re-define any current perception of me as an artist...

Great, I hope it will still be funky! My favorite Bryan Loren song is 'For Tonight'. If you had to pick one song from your ouvre, which would be your favorite?

Bryan Loren:

Funny thing is 'For Tonight' is so well liked by so many people. The demo was REALLY good. I like all of the demos for my first album better than the record! Because I was rushed through it, I couldn’t give the attention to detail I wanted to. It’s not that I don’t like the record, I do. I just know what it COULD have been.

It would be cool to hear your demo's as they were originally intended. We stay in touch.
Thank you very much for this interview Bryan. Do you want to say something to your fans?

Bryan Loren:

Yes. I’d like to thank everyone for their interest in me and my work. I hope that you have found something you could use in there. I do plan to give those who want it, more to explore. Love, life, and music!! Be well.

Bryan Loren.

November, 2007

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