Eric Benet will join Marsha Ambrosius at 8 p.m. April 6 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre for the Atlanta stop of the M.E. Tour. CONTRIBUTED BY MICHAEL ADAMS JR. / PRIMARY WAVE DIGITAL

Eric Benét: Making songs is ‘just who I am’

When it comes to music, it’s easy to declare 2017 the Year of Trap. But there’s an undercurrent — a longing — for those of us who pine for a grown and sexy vibe. And two award-winning veteran artists are bringing that vibe to Atlanta this week.

The M.E. Tour featuring Marsha Ambrosius and Eric Benét will make its Atlanta stop at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Benét shared with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution what music lovers can expect from the tour and what continues to inspire his career.

What inspired this joint tour with Marsha Ambrosius?

I mean I wish I could say it was my idea, because it’s a combination that works so well together and Marsha and I have known each other from way back in the day. Like when I was recording my “A Day in the Life” album, I recorded a lot of that in Philly back in ’97, ‘98 and that’s when she was just starting to do her Floetry thing. It was such an incredible time to be in Philly and Philly really seemed to be the epicenter of the neo-soul movement back then. Marsha was just amazing, got a chance to meet her and she was a sweetheart and was just amazing. It was not my idea, but when my people said, “Hey, what do you feel about going out with Marsha?” I said, “That’s dope. That’s real dope.”

“It’s a combination that works so well together and Marsha and I have known each other from way back in the day,” says Eric Benet, who will join Marsha Ambrosius at 8 p.m. April 6 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre for the Atlanta stop of the M.E. Tour. CONTRIBUTED BY MICHAEL ADAMS JR. / PRIMARY WAVE DIGITAL
Photo: For the AJC

Your sound, that really soulful love music, isn’t one we are hearing too much of these days. How can we bring back love songs?

I think that songs that have meaningful lyrics and meaningful music that I … like to make, I would like to think that it never completely goes away. We experience little dormant periods; there may be some other style of music that’s in the forefront. But it’s always going to have its day in the sun again. I like to be optimistic about it like that.

How do you stay true to yourself and your style?

I’ve never really changed the essence of what my formula is. I like to think that I’ve gotten better at it over the years and maybe evolved. But when it comes to songwriting … me, the song always starts first with an emotion. The song starts with me being introspective or contemplative about some emotional lesson or something I’ve been through or something that is moving me. Then it’s like, pick up a guitar, sit at the piano and transform that emotion into music. That’s pretty much been like my formula. Be vulnerable, be honest and be dope with the music.

What can Atlanta expect from this concert?

Marsha’s show is so fun. She does a lot of old-school songs and she does her edge and she has her DJ up there. Marsha’s vibe is dope. It’s like a mixture of everything we just described about what I am along with almost like a club/party vibe. And then I just get up there and I do my music and it kind of works. We really complement each other on the road.

What inspires you to go to the next level in your career?

I think if you’re really a songwriter, you don’t really have a choice. It’s in my blood, it’s in my veins. If I didn’t have a deal tomorrow and I had to work at a car dealership or do something else, I’d still be writing music, I’d still be making songs ‘cause it’s just who I am.

CONCERT PREVIEW

M.E. Tour featuring Marsha Ambrosius and Eric Benét

8 p.m. April 6. $37-$97. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. www.ticketmaster.com. More info and Eric Benét’s VIP packages are available at www.ericbenet.net.

If you’re heading to Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, you won’t be far from the new SunTrust Park. Check out this AJC video on the trip to SunTrust Park from various parts of metro Atlanta:

Just how long will it take to drive to Atlanta Braves games, in time for a 7:35 p.m. first pitch? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution dispatched five reporters and editors to find out.

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