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Tony! Toni! Tone! at Sound Board, 5 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Thirty years after its debut album, Tony! Toni! Tone! is still playing sweet soul music.

The Oakland, Calif.-formed troupe is current a trio, fronted by singer-guitarist Dwayne Wiggins, who co-founded TTT with his brother, Raphael Saadiq, and drummer Timothy Christian Riley. The group is riding a legacy of gold and platinum along with hit s such as “Feels Good,” If I Had No Loot,” “Anniversary,” “Little Walter,” “The Blues” and more.

Fast forward to 2018 and TTT is still an active concern, though it hasn’t released an album for 22 years, while Wiggins, 57, remains active discovering and producing young talent (his past finds include Alicia Keys, Destiny’s Child and Keyshia Cole) as well as working on multi-media projects for TV and film...

• The 30 years since TTT’s first album, “Who?,” have gone by in a flash for Wiggins. “It only feels like 10 years for me. Back then we were so young. We were still learning the ropes so everything was still exciting for us. We were all just coming up and learning. It was so fresh. And can hear in what we do now, even Raphael’s own stuff, everything we learned back then.”

• Wiggins says TTT took its music-making lead from some of its predecessors. “We look u to groups like Earth, Wind & Fire, the Isley Brothers. We understand song structures, simple lyrics people can grab on to. We tend to write songs instead of tunes and come up with things that are going to last for years, like the music we grew up listening to.”

• Wiggins adds that since Saadiq went solo during the late 90s the focus for TTT has changed. “That transition was difficult. But now we love passing down information to the next generation of artists and musicians. We like to pick up musicians in different cities and give them a taste of this industry. That’s very rewarding to us now.”

• While the TTT members -- Wiggins, Riley and Amar Khalil -- primarily spend time working with other artist, they’re also in the midst of an ambitious new band project -- executive producing and composing the score for a new movie called “Timeless.” “That’s new territory for us, scoring,” Wiggins says. “We’ve always worked with orchestras and big band set-ups. But this is a whole other thing that’s so different. It’s really exciting.” TT has also written a song for another film, “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” that’s waiting for a theatrical release.

• TTT does take a relaxed approach to making music, according to Wiggins. “It’s still, like, our hobby even though we’ve done so much. The way we work...We hang out. We come to the studio and hang out and play ball, whatever else it may be. It’s not like we go in there and are just like, ‘Let’s write!’ We just kick and the songs come out.”

If You Go:

• Tony! Toni! Tone! and After 7

• 8 p.m. Thursday, July 26.

• Sound Board in the MotorCity Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit

• Tickets are $45-$57.

• Call 866-782-0622 or visit soundboarddetroit.com.

Web Site: www.soundboarddetroit.com

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