Mount Vernon, N.Y – Anyone familiar with the 1991 Halle Berry movie Strictly Business and the new jack swing style of R&B has heard and is still hearing one the movie’s most popular songs You Called and Told Me by Jeff Redd several times. It is a club icon along the lines of Frankie Beverley and Maze’s Before I Let Go.
Jeff Redd, who discovered the likes of Mary J. Blige and secured her initial signing to Uptown Records, was an integral factor and catalyst for the success of SWV, Bobby Brown, Regina Belle, Allure, Field Mob and K-Ci & JoJo went on to become a Grammy winning record executive.
Mr. Redd, on top of being an iconic star-maker, has flexed his entrepreneurial muscles and is the proud CEO and founder of Sol Real Records, LLC among many other accomplishments; however, it is in the realm of fatherhood where, he feels he has made some of his most relevant strides. His vision: make people feel special. The NY Fatherhood Examiner had an opportunity to discuss fatherhood. Here is what we discussed:
Jeff Redd: Jeff Redd (here).
NY Fatherhood Examiner: How are you doing Mr. Redd?
Jeff Redd: Wonderful and how are you?
NY Fatherhood Examiner: I am excited to be alive!
Jeff Redd: (laugh) I love it! That’s a good thing! I love it!
NY Fatherhood Examiner: Mr. Redd, I understand you performed last night
Jeff Redd: The Shadow had a grand opening in Manhattan. Fonda Ray and [I performed]. It was pretty cool, sold out – jam packed. We had a good time.
NY Fatherhood Examiner: That’s very good. I always start out with prayer. So will say this quickly.
HEAVENLY FATHER, I thank YOU for YOUR Grace and Mercy – first of all for YOUR FATHERHOOD. YOU made us in YOUR image and likeness, so fatherhood is very near and dear to YOUR Heart. Help us to speak words that are wise, that may be edifying to others. Let the words of our moUth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable, not only in YOUR Sight but so that others may take what is said and run with it – that they may apply YOUR Wisdom and grow as fathers. We are little abbas and YOU are the all capitals - ABBA. We thank YOUFOR your Grace And Mercy and as we go into this we honor YOU and thank YOU in JESUS name – Amen.
Jeff Redd: Amen. Amen.
NY Fatherhood Examiner: Mr. Redd, Sol Real Record and MCA, doing A & R, I know you started in Mount Vernon at the age of 17. I know your parents may have had something to do with your success or you had mentors. Tell me about you family life, what was it like growing up in Mount Vernon? What are some of the thing from back then that has contributed to you becoming the quality artist and executive that you have become?
Jeff Redd: "Well, I was raised in Mount Vernon and my father died when I was 8 years old. So, my mother had to raise my sister and I all alone. She never remarried. I’m talking about a woman who comes from the South, who believed in honor, respect and integrity. She never had a man laying up around us. So, growing up, it was interesting because, we were raised by a woman. A lot of guys saying they were raised by a strong woman; but, I do not care how strong a woman is, a woman cannot raise a boy up to be a man. Like my mother, she raised me to be a good person, who can provide for himself. I can cook, clean. I can do a lot of things, like I teach my son; but, she can’t tell you the things a man would tell you. So, a lot of things I’ve learned were trial and error. I did have uncles but, you are talking about coming up in a time when men didn’t really sit and talk to their sons. They were busy out working and we would go to school. You would come home do and do your homework. The conversations were very short and never anything extremely enlightening. They did not talk a lot.
"So, now let us fast forward to me. I talk with my children every chance I get. I have to tell them something to help them get ready go out into this world. It has been an interesting journey thus far. I have four sons. One is 17. I have twins that are 12 and I have a six year old and we always talk. There are three things I tell them. They are: 1) tell the truth; 2) be the best you can be and 3) make a difference. Those are three things we talk about all the time. How are you going to be the best and how are you going to make a difference? It’s good. I just enjoy talking to my sons, seeing them grow up and understand who they are because they are each individuals. You cannot teach one the same way you teach the other. I just love it."
There is more to come. Stay tuned