Super-producer, singer-songwriter, and musician Teddy Riley is one of the most influential, multi-talented entertainers of our time and this year, he’s pulling out all the stops to celebrate 30 years of the New Jack Swing sound.
We recently got a chance to sit down with the mastermind himself here at the ESSENCE offices and he dished on everything from the amazing new project he has in the works, to his close friendship with Michael Jackson, to what surprises he has in store for his 2018 ESSENCE Festival performance. He also weighed in on the chatter around Bruno Mars and cultural appropriation, as well as his reaction to Bruno dedicating his Grammy to him during his acceptance speech in January 2018.
“Well, besides us having the same birthday [laughs], we’re destined to get together and people always have a way of speaking to someone and that was his way of speaking to me,” Riley said of Bruno Mars‘ Grammy acceptance speech. “I honored it. I truly honored it.”
Speaking specifically about the influence of his sound on Bruno’s music, the Grammy Award-winning entertainer had only positive things to say.
“First of all, it brings our stock up –Babyface, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and myself— and that puts us even more in the game and helps to sustain us. It’s a known fact that God blesses us to bless others, and then sometimes, you get the blessing. But, I’m more of a giver, I like to give. So, him giving….sometimes we don’t understand receiving a gift. But, the most incredible gift to be given, for me, is someone paying homage. So, I feel wonderful about it.”
Check out the full conversation in the video above and then be sure to grab your tickets to see Teddy Riley’s New Jack Swing Experience featuring Wreckx-n-Effect, Blackstreet, Guy and other special guests when they hit the stage at the 2018 ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans this July.