Joe Talks New Album, ‘Bridges,’ And His Thoughts On The Current State Of R&B Music

R&B singer-songwriter and seven-time Grammy nominee Joe is back with “Bridges,” his 11th album in 21 years.

Featuring the Kelly Rowland-assisted lead single “Love & Sex Pt. 2,” the 16-track opus, released on June 24, features the 40-year-old crooner tapping into the complexities surrounding relationships and sharing his outlook on overcoming personal challenges.

During a recent interview with The Huffington Post, Joe opened up on recording “Bridges” and shared his thoughts on how the continuum of black music has influenced his career.

Last year you presented fans with the evolution of R&B on “DoubleBack,” and now you’re delving into the various stages that coincide within relationships. What inspired you to craft the title into “Bridges”?

“Bridges” pretty much sums up the songs on the album. It’s about relationships. And that’s what I been able to do throughout my career, is to build relationships. Instead of burning them, I’d rather build … I just got out of one situation, and then got into a completely new one the following year. It’s amazing how things turn around.

In comparison to “Love & Sex Pt. 1,” how has the song developed into the latest version featuring Kelly Rowland?

This one is a mid-tempo record, and it kind of takes it to a different energy when it comes to her audience as well, which is a little bit younger than mine. So it kind of jumps into that arena a little bit. And plus, Kelly’s representing right now. She certainly stepped up.

What led to the creation of the Marvin Gaye-esque track “Sex Ain’t A Weapon”?

It’s a pretty cool record. Just conceptually, it’s about trying to hold [sex] back. And basically my point of view is like, you can’t do that with me. [Laughs] It’s not necessarily how I live, but that’s just being fly. Being a man on the record, so to speak. It’s a fun record. I call it my “Great Gatsby of R&B Records.” So you’re going to see a few videos that coincide with those records to kind of bring the picture out.

As we conclude Black Music Month, how much has the culture influenced your career?

Man, I tell ya, it’s been pretty powerful for me. That was pretty much the majority of music that I listened to growing up as a kid. Coming from gospel and then falling in love with R&B. It’s pretty much in the same lane, musically. So it’s definitely evolving. It’s going to another level in a way, that I don’t want to throw under the bus, but kind of following what’s going on in the scene right now. And I think if there was more originality, and using live instruments and creating with that, I think you get a lot of different things happening with R&B. And people are afraid to sort of stand out and keep it what it is. But there’s some guys doing it, it’s cool and fun. But I think the essence of it needs to certainly come back. And I believe that’s live instrumentations and writing and talking about love and certain things they used to talk about in the past.

Joe’s new album “Bridges” is available in stores and digital retailers.

VIDEO: New MEPs enter European Parliament

The new session for Euro MPs has begun at the European Parliament, and the BBC’s Chris Morris offers a guide to the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union.

Jennifer Lopez Rocks Crop Top While Stopping For Ice Cream

Jennifer Lopez can definitely pull off the crop top look.

The 44-year-old singer and actress wore a cropped black shirt while grabbing some ice cream in New York City on June 30. She finished off her outfit with tight jeans, sunglasses and a bun hairstyle.

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J.Lo, who recently split from beau Casper Smart, was joined by her daughter Emme and some friends for the sweet treat stop in the Big Apple.

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On Sunday, Lopez performed at 103.5 KTU’s KTUphoria at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. She’s currently promoting her new album, A.K.A.

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10 Things Everyone Should Know About Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks is a national treasure, right up there with Yellowstone and the Statue of Liberty, only much funnier and more Jewish. Today is Brooks’ 88th birthday, and while it isn’t the holiday it should be we can at least pay tribute to the man who has given us so much. I think we can save the praise for how great Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles are, we all already know that. Instead, let’s cut to the chase. Here are 10 things that hopefully you already know about Mel Brooks, but if you don’t, you should.

Actress Jodi Lyn O’Keefe of VH1’s <i>Hit the Floor</i> Talks About Her Q Jewelry Design

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Ha! What a ham! Jodi Lyn O’Keefe is starring in the second season of VH1’s hit series Hit the Floor. Jodi plays Lionel Davenport, the tough-skinned estranged wife of Dean Cain’s character on the show.

Jodi Lyn O’Keefe’s Q Jewelry Design. Twitter: @JodiLyn_OKeefe , Instagram: Jodilok

You may remember Jodi Lyn O’Keefe from the TV series Prison Break. Jodi Lyn is one of those multi-talented people who should definitely be in your circles. She’s so much fun to watch on Hit the Floor! Jodi Lyn also cooks, loves to host dinners, has a great way of staying in shape and designs jewelry and clothes! Wait a minute. I just re-read that previous sentence and came to the conclusion that this girl is perfect!

You’re currently on season two of VH-1’s Hit the Floor as Lionel Davenport. What was it like being brought into a cast that was already established from season one?

It was definitely intimidating! They have all known each other for over a year and have this great camaraderie. The first cast member I met was Dean Cain during screen tests and we bonded so quickly. He is such a great guy! I watched the show before we started filming and it is so good – definitely a guilty pleasure. I love the cast and crew and I have many fantastic new friends.

Nash Bridges brought you to California from New Jersey. What kind of decision making went on within your family? Did your mom stay with you?

I was pretty close to turning 18, so my mom didn’t stay with me for too long before she went back home to New Jersey. It was a fairly easy transition except for the climate change, but I was getting a chance to do what I always wanted to do… act.

How do your jewelry, Q Jewelry Design, and clothing lines actually get manufactured? What type of research did you have to do?

It was a project in the works over a long period of time. It was organic, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. It’s a learning process for me, I’m still finding my way.

I have always loved being creative and I painted, which eventually turned into my t-shirt line Queen George, which was the jumping off point for my sketches of jewelry. I stumbled onto the thing I love most in this world, designing jewelry. In the beginning I had a lot of help from various people in the industry. It was trial and error, I had to make a lot of mistakes before the line came together. Expensive mistakes. It’s all manufactured here in Los Angeles, painstakingly one piece at a time.

What was it like growing up in your household with two older sisters? Did you share clothes?

My sisters are six and 10 years older than me so there was no sharing clothes, but rather I was given their hand-me downs. There was nothing better than the day my sister Heather gave me her bike. It was pink with a banana seat. I was the happiest girl in the world. My sisters and I are really close and they have made me Aunt Jodi and I couldn’t be prouder.

Libra, huh? Do you believe in all that stuff?

I definitely believe in astrology. I’m a Libra, which means I try to be balanced. I really think that a lot of the Libra characteristics are fitting to me. They say that Libras are very laid back. But we can also be very indecisive.

You’ve been in show business before social media was around. Do you think social media is a must in today’s entertainment world?

I am still very new to social media but I’m learning as I go and getting a lot of help from friends and co-stars. With Hit the Floor it is so important to be active on Twitter and I’m getting better every day. I love connecting with the fans and I’m working hard on my Instagram skills. Hashtags are still a little confusing to me #workinonit. Engagement with the audience and fans is much more key now.

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Photo by John Russo

What’s your ideal mate like?

The most important aspect in a man to me is his personality. I do appreciate a man who is tall since I’m a tall girl. I’m easily won over by a great smile and someone who makes me laugh.

Is there any particular acting role you like to play more than others?

I have really played a lot of different roles over the years, but the character Gretchen Morgan on Prison Break was one I truly loved because it challenged me, as I’m polar opposite of her. I would never cut off someone’s head, let alone stuff it in a box in real life. She was badass.

Tell us a behind the scenes story about Hit the Floor.

Something people may not know is that Dean Cain is very funny. He comes in every morning with his speakers and play Dj Snake and Lil’ Jon’s Turn Down for What. Dean is an unexpected “Hip-Hop” fan. And he loves to sing the Jason DeRulo’s Talk Dirty, but his lyrics are Talk Dirty to Dean. So we have our love of 90’s Rap in common.

Anything else you’d like to say?

I’m so happy to have joined the cast of Hit the Floor. I can’t wait to hear the feedback on the rest of the season. Things get crazy on this Monday night guilty pleasure.