It’s just cool to listen to it. “And that’s what I want to be, I want it to be cool to listen to Eric Nolan.
By ReGINA “G STYL” CRAWFORD
A long-standing member of The O’Jays, Eric is ready to unleash on the world his first solo project since joining the Rock ‘N Roll Hall Fame group 17 years ago and in another year he will be the longest active member in the group besides Eddie and Walter, and the only active member besides William Powell who has ever recorded with the group. If you’re expecting to hear the same classic sounds produced by the group, then you’re in for a surprise. Mr. Grant’s debut CD titled “Mood Swing” will showcase his own personal style of music. He calls it a smooth and rich blend of new jazz laced with a double shot of neo-soul. This Cleveland native is a veteran vocalist and songwriter, and has written most of the songs on the CD.
Eric began singing at the render age of four and by the time he was a teenage he was singing with The Deltones, a group he formed in the image of The O’Jays. “I deliberately patterned them after The O’Jays because actually I thought The O’Jays were gonna get old, and I wanted to be the next one in line to be the new type of O’Jays group. Just like New Edition did with the Jackson 5, I wanted to be that type of act,” states Eric about the formation of his singing group.
At age nineteen, Eric began singing background vocals for Dennis Edwards of The Temptations when he too launched a solo career in 1984, which he did for several years before departing for Detroit where he teamed up with songstress Jeanie Lyles. The pair formed a duet called E &J, however, after four years in the Motor City Eric returned to Cleveland to sing background vocals for Gerald Levert. Eric received a Gold Record Award for his contribution as a background vocalist on the Father and Son CD which featured Gerald and Eddie Levert, and after a year of touring with duo he auditioned for and became a member of The Legendary O’Jays.
Eric is more than qualified, solidly poised, and in the best position of his musical career to launch a successful solo project. “Mood Swing” is a collection of sensual musical vibes mixed with smooth vocals and sexy lyrics all related to love. The first single “Reminds Me” has been released on iTunes and Amazon, and is a groovy, upbeat track with a slight throwback appeal that you might miss if you don’t listen carefully. “Change My World”, written by Mr. Grant, is an arrangement with a seductive guitar and piano backing Eric’s fluid vocals, and has a smooth and mellow vibe that speaks to the ultimate love fantasy. “I Can Love You”, also penned by Eric, is a sultry, full flavored song that addresses the subject and proposal of a new-found love and the listener will truly appreciate the “pureness” of Eric’s voice on this track. With this project, Eric gives us answers and solutions that we would all love to hear. “I’m only going to release four songs off the CD,” he states of his solo project. “I want to test the market. I want to see if people feel me. If they feel the transition from me doing R&B, O’Jays, down home singing, you know sweating and getting ugly with it, to some cool Kem, Will Downing type of music. Will they accept the transformation of me going from over there to over here,” he adds.
When asked to define the sound of the CD, Eric responded, “When I started doing Mood Swing, Kem wasn’t as popular, and he is really doing what I want to do but I want to give it more street edge because I’m from the streets. I wanted to do something that’s more urban jazz, a little bit more to my peers. And when I say my peers, I’m not talking about my age bracket, I’m just talking about that I’m a street guy. I’m not a thug, I’m just a street guy. New jazz is more or less something that you just connect with; the streets connect with it; women connect with it. Something that you can put and just chill to.” Feedback that he has received so far is that the CD is something that you can put on, and just ride to. It’s just cool to listen to it. “And that’s what I want to be, I want it to be cool to listen to Eric Nolan. But I also want it to be sensuous, sexy, and romantic for women to listen to it, so I’m trying to bridge that gap. It’s called Mood Swing because every single time I went into the studio I was in a different mood. I’m a cancer, so I’m moody anyway,” he concludes on what you can expect from his first solo project.
This has been an in depth look into the music within Eric Nolan Grant, and you can connect with Eric on Facebook at facebook.com/eric.n.grant, on Twitter at twitter.com/EricNolanGrant, on MySpace at myspace.com/ericnolansmusic.