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Avant Draw Soul From Movie Awards

Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

R&B singer Avant decided to call his fourth album “The Director” after watching Clint Eastwood accept the Best Director trophy at the 2005 Academy Awards.

And sure enough, the Cleveland-based artist — the first signing to former basketball star Magic Johnson’s MJM label — has cinematic ambitions of his own.

“I would love to go into movies and being a director as well,” says Avant, 29, who’s been making hits since “Separated” in 2000 and released “The Director” in April. “Being a (song) writer, you just basically foresee everything, anyway, so it’s nothing to leak over and try your hand at (movies).

“But this music thing is my first love. I’m trying to get everything I want out of music first, then we’ll look at movies.”

Avant hopes his audience, which helped “The Director” debut at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart, will “visualize” the characters and situations in his soulful love songs as he sings them. That, he explains, is why his current road trek is called the Imagination Tour.

“I want to stretch people’s imaginations and let them see it’s more than music,” Avant says. “It’s almost a movie you can’t see, but you can see the characters or exactly where I am in the song.

“That’s what I’m trying to bring to the table; I want you to see the vision of exactly what I’m singing.”

Avant performs at 8 tonight at the Michigan State Fair, Eight Mile Road and Woodward Avenue, Detroit. The concert is held at the Band Shell and is free with Fair admission. Call (313) 369-8250 or visit

Web Site: www.michigan statefair.com

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