El DeBarge Wants a Second Chance
The 2010 BET Awards were a night of reflection, redemption and returns as some of Black music’s icons were celebrated including Prince and the late Michael Jackson, while Chris Brown and El DeBarge revitalized their careers, with show-stealing performances. Debarge’s return is in preparation of his new album “Second Chances” coming this fall. He shared with Heart & Soul how he overcame addiction and discovered joy again.
Heart & Soul: Welcome back! How does it feel?
El DeBarge: I’m very grateful to be back. It’s joyful, it’s scary, it’s all of that.
Heart & Soul: Describe your connection to your fans.
DeBarge: I love my fans. I like being up close and personal with them, so I really like being on tour more than I like just being in the studio.
Heart & Soul: The El DeBarge sound is distinct. How has it evolved over the years?
DeBarge: The El DeBarge sound is soulful, it’s joyful, it’s filled with intricate harmonies. It talks about life, it talks about love… it hasn’t changed, though. It’s the same.
Heart & Soul: You’ve overcome a lot in the past few years. What would be your message to fans?
DeBarge: I lost a lot of time, I lost a lot of good friends, but I’m back, though there were some serious consequences. You don’t want to go down that road. You don’t need to experiment with drugs. Some people say that experience is the best teacher, but you don’t need to experience that. Just learn from my mistakes.
Heart & Soul: And we hear your faith helped you through. How does your spirituality impact your music?
DeBarge: I have a close relationship with God. From the moment I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is to get on my knees and pray. He’s everything to me. He’s my music. He’s my source of creativity. He’s my breath.
Heart & Soul: What do you hope people get from your new album, “Second Chances”?
DeBarge: I want the world to know that tomorrow is full of second chances, and all your fears should be left behind you.
Heart & Soul: You’ve said recently that self-denial was your first step toward drug abuse, and you lost touch with reality. What’s the best way of staying true to yourself?
DeBarge: Keep people around you that were in your joy period of life. That’s the most authentic period of your life, and that’s mostly your childhood and your teens, rather than your “good times” or “bad times,” and don’t ever lose that. Don’t succumb to the new “friendships” that just come out of nowhere. That’s not going to do it. That will get you in trouble right there.
Heart & Soul: What brings joy to your life?
DeBarge: A good song makes me feel joyful. I like hearing chords and pretty melodies; I brighten up if I hear something that sounds good. Simple things like that watching the sun come up, watching the sun set – and last, but definitely not least, a beautiful woman.
Watch El DeBarge’s 2010 BET Awards performance:
Tell us: What’s your favorite El DeBarge song and memory?