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5 Questions with Eric Benet on New Album & Expecting a Baby

With a new album and a baby on the way, Benet couldn't be happier.
Eric Benet is one happy man.

Besides being a newlywed, the R&B singer is riding the wave of his latest single, “Real Love,” while recording his seventh studio album, which he expects to release in 2012 through his newly launched record label (in partnership with EMI).

He’s also one proud papa. His daughter India just entered her second year of college, and he’s about to be a dad again.

We tried to soak up Eric’s glow. Find out what he had to say about “Real Love,” his new label, and having a baby on board.  

ESSENCE.com: We can’t get enough of your new song, “Real Love.” Tell us more about it.

ERIC BENET: First of all, I left my old label, Warner Brothers, and I’m now on EMI. I wrote “Real Love” and let EMI hear it, and we decided we’d release that as the first single without any of the record done. So I’ll be spending the next four months working on a new record. I’ve started the creative process, so I know the direction and the feel, but “Real Love” is the only song that’s completed.

ESSENCE.com: What is the inspiration for the new album?
BENET: A lot of my music reflects wherever I am in my life. I’m in a really great place right now. My last album was a bit of an homage to ’70s soul, but with this record I’m going to take a very contemporary approach to old-school songwriting integrity. I still want to record most of my stuff live with dope musicians, as opposed to just loops and a drum machine. The other thing about this record is it’s a distribution deal with my own label — Jordan House — and EMI. “Real Love” is actually the first release from my label. I envision having other artists, but let me let my flagship release generate some income first and take it from there.   

ESSENCE.com: What is your definition of “Real Love”?
BENET: It’s definitely the relationship I have with my wife. Real love is a connectedness that you really weren’t evolved enough as a human being to have with somebody until you’ve gone through some real heavy things in your own life. I’m just really blessed I’ve found that in Manuela [Testolini]. We’re just so much on the same wavelength on so many subtle and so many grand things in life.

There’s an ease and a comfort to life when you feel like you’re no longer looking for somebody to fill your empty spaces. I think when you get to a place where you’re really happy with who and what you are, that’s when you’re ready for something that’s real and meaningful with somebody else.

ESSENCE.com: You’re also a newlywed. How’s married life?
BENET: We got married July 31st, but unfortunately, I’ve been on tour in Asia, and I’m now off to Australia. It’s difficult being apart, but it’s been great when we’ve been together. Manuela and I have the rest of our lives.

ESSENCE.com: You’re a newlywed, you’ve got a new label, you’re under new management. Is there a new baby?
BENET: Yes, there is actually. Blessings abound. I’m just at this very happy, very fulfilling, exciting time in my life. I’ve got one child in her second year of college (Benet’s daughter India is 18) and another on the way. With India I was the young, cool daddy. Now I’m going to be that old daddy.

Say congrats to Eric on Twitter: @ebenet