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Musiq Soulchild Gets Into the Holiday Spirit

Of the Oakland Press

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Musiq Soulchild notes, with amusement, that “everybody’s been hitting me up about” ‘Christmas Musiq’ — which he finds “actually pretty fresh.”

It’s certainly a modest project amidst the 32-year-old R&B artist’s catalog, a seven-song set released as a Target exclusive in 2008 and now available through iTunes. But Musiq says he did use it as an opportunity to experiment, lending a reggae lilt to “O Holy Night,” for instance, and treating “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” as a Parliament-Funkadelic homage.

“I just wanted to use it as a catalyst to express that I’m interested in other things than just what people would classify as the neo-soul music they ... usually expect from me,” explains Musiq, who was born Taalib Johnson in Philadelphia and now resides in Atlanta. “There’s a lot of different things going on it. I know it’s just seven songs and pretty concise, but I did want to step outside a little bit of what people would expect from Musiq Soulchild.”

He expects to give the world more of that in the new year, when Musiq plans to release the follow-up to his 2008 album “OnMyRadio,” which netted him three Grammy Award nominations — competing against himself in one of the categories for duets with Mary J. Blige and India.Arie. He’s just started delivering songs to his record company and is hatching plans for recording and collaborators, but Musiq is mindful of straddling the line between new sounds and pleasing his already established fan base.

“I’m definitely going to stay true to what my core audience are accustomed to,” Musiq notes, “but I’m also going to incorporate a lot of things ... that I’ve always been about. Too much creativity can turn people off sometimes, ’cause it’s too much information to process.

“So I definitely need to get them on board with the fact that I’m very conscious of what I’m doing, musically. And now I feel I’ve got a good audience that’s willing to entertain all the other stuff I want to present to them. I feel like people are ready to hear some new stuff and some fresh stuff and some even more creative stuff from me, so I’m gonna take full advantage of that.”

Musiq Soulchild, Rahasaan Patterson and Ginuwine perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday (Dec. 30) at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $48-78. Call (313) 471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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