It’s On! More than just a title, this sizzling sophomore release from Nu Flavor is an exuberant exclamation from a band that’s just flipped the switch on some of the most potent, passionate and purely electrifying music being made today
A breathtaking balancing act of soulful harmonies, uptempo grooves and classic ballads, It’s On takes this young group of vocal virtuosos a giant step forward in a career that has already yielded two Top 10 radio hits, “Heaven” and “Sweet Sexy Thing.” This time around, the quartet has turned up the heat with a collection of cuts that puts their songwriting skills front and center.
While Nu Flavor has always been about tight harmonies and a sound that seasons pop with r&b, soul and hip-hop, the songs of It’s On lay down grooves that are ingenuous, irresistible and intensely romantic. It’s a passion that infuses every track with scintillating melodies, smooth and supple lyrics and seductive sensuality.
“We just basically took it a step higher,” asserts Frank. “Musically, we have more uptempo songs and more songs for everybody to move to.” Anthony adds, “It’s a lot more edgy, a lot more hip, with a lot more energy. We’ve grown up from the first album and, this time around, we have more to offer. We tried to stay fresh. That’s why we’re called Nu Flavor.”
Natives of Long Beach and Compton, California, Nu Flavor’s musical journey began in 1994, when all four members lived within a few miles of each other. Close friends, Frank and Jacob, first met Anthony and Rico when the duo were holding court at a party, singing along to the music. Not to be outdone, the new arrivals joined in without an invitation. “It was definitely a fateful moment,” remembers Frank. “Everyone there knew something special was going on.” After exchanging names and numbers, the young men began appearing anywhere they could find an audience, drawing crowds in malls, school and social gatherings and ultimately capturing the notice of Reprise Records, where they landed a major label recording contract
Since then, they’ve opened for some of the biggest names in pop, rock and r&b. Jacob comments, “I think one of the greatest highlights of performing is just meeting all our idols. Being able to open up for Rod Stewart, pumping up a crowd for Mariah Carey or sharing the bill with Hootie & The Blowfish has been a real thrill.”
On the origin and inspiration of It’s On, Anthony explains, “During our road trips, we’d be in a hotel room and we’d start writing a melody, laying it out then and there.” While the whole group participated in writing, Anthony was the primary lyricist, and the work-in-progress was next handed to producer Gary St. Clair (All 4 One), who, together with the band, would refine the material. Recorded in their own studio, The Flavor Station, the eleven tracks of It’s On veer from “one extreme to the next,” says Anthony, and allow ample room for each member to shine. “We’re four lead singers who also all sing backgrounds,” explains Jacob, describing the group’s technique of trading solos within and between songs.
Among the album’s standout tracks is the steamy opening cut and first single, “Sprung,” which introduces listeners to Nu Flavor’s new sound, with its funky pop edge and lavish soundscapes. “The title is a slang term that means someone is really engulfed in someone else. They’ve got a major crush,” Rico explains. Listeners will get a double dose of the infectious original with a bonus track version of “Sprung” by famed producer/remixer Ben Grosse (Filter, Sixpence None The Richer, Third Eye Blind, George Clinton). “Love Fantasy,” another key cut that enhances the album’s romantic theme, is “one of my favorites,” Jacob enthuses. “It’s about being caught up in all the things that come with being in love. You can live any fantasy you want.” The cinematic “Tell Me Why” paints a dramatic story of betrayal and deception, while “Call Me,” “Groove Tonight” and the title track move from rhythmic seduction to dance-friendly beats and back again.
“We expanded our songwriting horizons as far as what we hoped people would want to hear,” Rico explains. Yet for all it dazzling diversity, It’s On is an album that returns again and again to the theme of true love. Selections such as “Most Beautiful Girl,” “3 Little Words,” “Promise,” “From This Day” and “Whatever” prove that, when it comes to mesmerizing music, memorably performed, romance is alive and well.
However, the members of Nu Flavor do more than just sing about love: they put it into action with their community work for DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
With a new album, sensational debut single and a U.S. tour in the works, Nu Flavor are poised to get it on with a sound that’s easy to fall in love with.