“I just love music, that’s really all there is to it .” And it is as simple as that, according to songwriter/producer/keyboardist Paul Laurence. That genuine love for music is evident in Laurence’s array of accomplishments.
You may know him as the Gold and Platinum record producer who produced Stephanie Mills’ (You’re Putting) A Rush on Me, and Evelyn King’s number one hit back in the summer of 1981, I’m in Love. And when you hear King’s Love Come Down on the radio, just know Laurence, along with Kashif and Morrie Brown produced that one too. The trio also produced Howard Johnson’s debut album, Keepin’ Love New in 1982, featuring So Fine, a track particularly popular in the United Kingdom. And don’t leave out the slow jams which include Freddie Jackson’s Tasty Love and Rock Me Tonight (For Old Times Sake) that Laurence wrote in the summer of 1985. He also played the keyboards and programmed the drums on the track. Paul and Freddie are good friends, attending school and church together in Harlem. They formed a band, and over the years, Paul has written and produced many of Jackson’s biggest hits including Jam Tonight, which jumped to number one in the summer of 1987 and became a steppers classic. In late 1988, Laurence produced Jackson’s eighth number one R&B hit Hey Lover written by singer Keith Washington & Sonny Moore.Other hits include Do Me Again, a number one R&B hit in early 1991 and Main Course a few months later. It was no surprise, then, that when Jackson recently headed back to the studio he called his long time friend. Laurence wrote and produced Can’t Get My Flow on Jackson’s 2006 album Transitions. He’s even singing backup on the song with another artist, Matthew Edralin… Read more
For former Broadway star and hit recording artist Stephanie Mills, Paul Laurence produced and co-wrote (You’re Putting) A Rush on Me, giving the singer her third number one R&B hit in 1987. He also produced a cover of Prince’s Do Me Baby for Capitol recording artist Meli’sa Morgan that was number one on the charts for several weeks in early 1986. In addition, Laurence had several hits with Brooklyn singer/Capitol recording artist Lillo Thomas: “(You’re A) Good Girl,” “Your Love’s Got a Hold on Me,” “(Can’t Take Half) All of You” (a duet with Melba Moore), “Settle Down,” “Sexy Girl” (Laurence/Timmy Allen), “I’m in Love” — not the Evelyn King hit — that went to number two R&B in spring 1987, and “Wanna Make Love (All Night Long).”
With all of this success, Laurence also had the opportunity to become a recording artist. He signed with Capitol, and his debut LP, the critically acclaimed “Haven’t You Heard”, was released in late 1985. The first single, “She’s Not a Sleaze,” featured Freddie Jackson and Lillo Thomas and charted number 50 R&B in late 1985. Other singles for Laurence were “You Hooked Me,” “Strung Out,” “Make My Baby Happy,” and “I Ain’t Wit It.” Laurence also contributed to the soundtrack of the 1990 horror film Def By Temptation starring Kadeem
Hardison of NBC-TV’s Cosby Show spin-off A Different World. One of his songs, “Help Yourself to My Love,” was recorded as a duet between Kashif and Kenny G. Paul Laurence-related releases are the movie soundtrack to Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, Keith Washington’s Make Time for Love, Tanya Blount’s Natural Thing, Styrenes’ All the Wrong People Are Dying, and and 1999′s Silent Night, Soulful Night. ~ Ed Hogan, Rovi
After a reflective break, Laurence is making music again. “I’m excited about working with artists again,” he says. “I was disillusioned with the record industry and I knew it was frustrating. I wanted to find artists who I wanted to work with instead of just making money.” During his hiatus, Laurence met Matthew Edralin at church and was blown away by his unique sound. In fact, he produced Edralin’s debut album in 2009. “He’s a solid musician, writer and singer,” says Laurence about Edralin, “and he’s young so he’s more into what’s going on in the industry now.”
Laurence’s additional accomplishments include: an alternative rock album with artist Kimberlee in 2003 and Lillo Thomas’s last 2010 album, “Come Get It”, which he produced. “A good producer is able to go against his own thinking sometimes and at least try something new,” Laurence says. “When I produce a song, I want you to be able to feel the emotion of the song, it doesn’t really matter the genre…good music is good music.”
Biography courtesy of Paul Laurence and Ashley Blaire.
01 – Lillo Thomas – Settle Down (All Of You, 1984)
02 – Melba Moore – Love Me Right (Extended Remix) (Never Say Never, 1983)
03 – Freddie Jackson – Rock Me Tonight (For Old Time Sake) (Rock Me Tonight, 1985)
04 – Stephanie Mills – (You’re Puttin’) A Rush On Me (If I Were Your Woman, 1987)
05 – Paul Laurence – Racism!!! (Haven’t You Heard, 1985)
Background music during the interview:
Melba Moore – Love’s Comin’ At Ya, Rev. Johnny L. Jones – Rev. Jones Testifies and Talks To a Caller (Radio Excerpt), Reverend G.I. Townsel – A Sermon Fragment, Providence Baptist Church Gospel Choir – He May Not Come When You Want Him, Rufus Thomas – Rockin’ Chair (Live At The Apollo Theater, New York), Jackson 5 – ABC (Love At The Forum, 1970), Ashford & Simpson – Send It, Melba Moore – Keepin’ My Lover Satisfied, Evelyn “Champagne” King – Don’t Hide Our Love, Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing, Freddie Jackson – Tasty Love, Melissa Morgan – Do Me Baby, Lillo Thomas – I’m In Love, Paul Laurence – She’s Not A Sleaze, Paul Laurence – I Ain’t Wit It, Paul Laurence – Cut The Crap