As a past contestant on both "The Apprentice" and "Celebrity Apprentice," R&B and pop hitmaker Brian McKnight has an advantage in handicapping Donald Trump's provocative presidential campaign.
And, unlike Trump, the singer does his best to be diplomatic about the issue.
"Well, if every election is a popularity contest and the loudest person gets the most attention, who knows how to do that better than Donald Trump? That's my first thought," McKnight, 46, says from his home in Los Angeles.
"My second thought is I'm not sure if Donald Trump is the answer, but I do think a departure from the career politicians is the way we all need to go -- which isn't to say that Donald Trump is the answer, but maybe someone from another industry other than lawyers, which hasn't worked for us. So maybe this will open the door for more of that in the future."
McKnight, meanwhile, is focusing on learning the make more noise himself, in his chosen profession -- and specifically for his new album, "Better," which came out last month. The landscape is markedly different than when the Buffalo native, a onetime Motown artist who's also a syndicated radio host, released his first album in 1992, and he doesn't mind acknowledging his frustrations.
"We're living in a time where our records have become promotional items for the most part. You put it out and you hope that your core fans will continue to patronize you," McKnight explains. "What was crazy was the minute ('Better') came out, people who bought it were immediately putting every song up on YouTube.
"I found that to be very strange. I guess the point is if they had something nobody else had yet they could persuade people to view their YouTube portal before they went out and bought (the album) for themselves. If that's true, it really sucks."
But, McKnight adds, he doesn't let the frustration spill over into his creative process.
"The good thing for me is I love to write music," he says. "I didn't get into this to do it for free, necessarily, but I still do it for the love of it. It still blows my mind to be able to wake up in the morning with nothing and by the end of the day you have something that completely didn't exist. I continue to find joy in that."
8 p.m. Friday, March 11.
SoundBoard in the Motor City Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit
Tickets are $43-$63.
Call 866-782-9662 or visit soundboarddetroit.com
Send your thoughts and comments to