I first heard about Al Chauncy when a friend, his back ground singer Stormy Robins, shared Late for Church with me. Late for Church is Al Chauncy’s debut album. As the son of jazz and rock n roll pianist, Gerald “Jerry” Williams, Al Chauncy definitely has music in his blood and has had a clear vision about his future for quite some time.
“I knew I was going to be an entertainer in 3rd grade… I had an epiphany on the playground and said to the universe I am going to be a superstar one day.” – Al Chauncy
Late for Church shows his progress toward becoming a superstar since those days on the playground. The songs on Late for Church are a reminder that the world is not perfect. The album is a shout out to Al Chauncy’s days in the church and on the streets of his home town Raleigh North Carolina. With songs like “Faithful Mind” where he begs a woman to “don’t make me do wrong… I’ve always been a faithful man” one quickly sees that Late for Church is not a religious album. Al Chauncy has a unique take on delivering soulful music that is fit for modern times. He describes it as high definition modern soul (Hi-Def Soul). This freshman product from Al Chauncy is one that you can play from end to end at a back yard bar-b-que and both your uncle and young cousin will enjoy but you may get the side eye from your grand ma. Late for Church includes soulful lyrics, fun songs with tongue in cheek lyrics, pure soulful funk and classic R&B.
Al Chauncy took some time to chat with me on a warm sunny day on the Marietta Square.
Interview with Al Chauncy
Before we get started, where is my cigarette and my Pepsi?
What should someone expect when they see you live?
Live, they should to expect pure bliss and excitement. I’m like a moving freight train… a 250 pound freight train on stage. I have a lot of fun, I am very energetic. I don’t stand in one place. I interact with the crowd. I believe that you have to give the crowd an experience. Not just a show but an experience.
What was the first music you added to your music library?
The first album I ever bought as a kid was Kris Kross. It was a maxi single with Supercat. I bought it at Grips Tapes in North Carolina. I used my allowance to buy that tape. But the first LP that I bought was probably Nas It Was Written. That was when I was making money from the barber shop sweeping hair.
Sweeping hair from the barber shop? Lots of wisdom is shared at the barbershop. What wisdom did you gain while working at the barber shop?
I learned that I couldn’t sweep worth a damn! Mr. Newkirk fired my ass! He said Al Chauncy, I’ll call you when I need you. I’m still waiting 20 years later and Mr. Newkirk still hasn’t called me back.
What is the first concert you attended?
The first concert I attended was in the 90s. It was MC Hammer, Boyz II Men and Kriss Kross. It was at the Walnut Creek Amphitheater in Raleigh, NC. I had lawn seats. That was awesome.
Boyz II Men had huge commercial success in the 90s but we haven’t heard a lot of new music from them since. What do you think an artist needs to consistently produce great music?
It’s probably chemistry. You have to get some great song writers on a record and have great producers. Good music is good music and it resonates through time. L.A. Reid and Baby Face wrote some incredible records for those guys. Sometimes you need to double back to some of those guys that helped out in the beginning and say “craft me some hits”. Some of the new jacks may not have the experience of these older cats.
Speaking of older acts, if there was anyone that you could perform with onstage who would that be?
Charlie Wilson! One of the greatest performers of all time. Charlie Wilson will out do any of these young cats. That’s the kind of artist I will strive to be when I get to his age. He continues to knock out hits, he looks good, he dresses sharp and he is just incredible. Most of the great singers from the last generation are dead and gone but Charlie Wilson is going strong.
That’s one of the reasons I encourage people to get out and listen to music. There are people that you may have listened to as you were growing up and the options to hear them live are dwindling away.
Who is someone that you think is under rated that more people need to hear?
Gourdan Banks, he has a song that came out last year “Keep You in Mind.” [breaks out into song] Can Iiiii keep you in mind, in my mind… I thing a guy like that that is a real writer and balladeer needs to have more of the spotlight.
I take it that you aren’t an Auto-Tune fan?
Auto-Tune is good if it is used the right way. Auto-Tune is supposed to be used to correct the pitch and the cords. It is not supposed to make you sound like Animal from Muppet Babies.
There have been a few people that have pulled off that sound using a talk box like Roger.
But, they were incredible. They were using cords when they were hitting it and doing something original. They knew how to use it. I think that people are abusing Auto-Tune.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on my SOS project. That stands for the Superman of Soul . That project is funk, soulful, eclectic, energetic and I think that it is a beautiful body of work. I would love to get you out to hear it. I’m planning for a fall release. The sound of the record is like… you remember back in the day when you heard James Brown or the funk sound by Sly and the Family Stone? I’m bringing that into today’s music with my soulful voice on top of it.
Music has been at the center of social revolutions and political revolutions. What do you feel that you can contribute to a positive change?
Good music! I want to change the frequency of the people. They are on a low end frequency right now. My music is meant to take people to a higher elevation. Like when you hear Earth Wind and Fire it takes you some where. When you hear Lionel Richie “Easy” it takes you somewhere. When you hear this new record I got “I Feel Good” it’s going to take you some where!
Who are you working with on the SOS project?
The incredible Chris “Traxx” Rogers. Chris was the former in house produce for Cee-Lo Green. He produced for Bone Krusher and a host of other artists well. He brings all of those experiences to the study. I am honored to have someone with his music experience working with me. I’m excited!
Al Chauncy “Luv Drunk” on You Tube
I’m looking forward to hearing what’s next from Al Chauncy. If “Luv Drunk” is any indication of what to expect as part of the SOS Project, I’m sure it will be one to add to your Libro Musica.