To help bring the newness he speaks of, Avant sought help from an innovative crew of producers, including the Trackmasters (LL Cool J), The Architects (Missy Elliot) and Smurf a.k.a. Collipark (Soulja Boy), among others. Eric Dawkins and Antonio Dixon (Fantasia), who make up the talented duo of Anonymous Entertainment, are behind Avant's soulful first single "When It Hurts." The ballad, like the entire album, was written by Avant and features his fluid, nuanced vocals. "It is an honest look at the ups and downs of a relationship," Avant says. "It's a song about the basics of love, because no matter what, there's going to be someone getting hurt in the relationship." Other aspects of love inspired Avant to fire up "Break Ya Back." With his smooth vocals riding on top of a mid-tempo rhythm, "Break Ya Back" is a confident, sexy ode to, well... you get it. "I know what my fans expect and they look to me for the way I try and come across with a love song," Avant explains, "but at the same time, as a songwriter I also know there's nothing new under the sun. My job is to find new ways of saying things that you might have heard before." Although Avant is an acclaimed songwriter, he is not averse to covering another writer's material, especially if it allows him to bring his own style. Such is the case with Avant's rendition of Christopher Cross' multiple-Grammy winning song "Sailing," originally recorded in 1980. "Sometimes when you're going through life you just want to sit back, relax and think of everything that's going on, and for me, "Sailing" is a song that gives you the freedom to do that." And not to be overlooked, Avant's old friend & previous collaborator Snoop Dogg makes a return appearance on Avant, contributing his signature flow on "Attention"
With so many hits, platinum records and respect from critics, fans and fellow musicians alike, Avant could let his reputation do the talking; but while Avant is proud of all of his albums, he's equally proud that he has taken his skills to the next level. "I've never really had some sort of game plan when it comes to making my records," Avant offers. "This time I really wanted to just get into the studio and make great music. Sometimes you can get trapped in a box, just in one certain area. That's not what I wanted. I love music and want to be able to create great music. Maybe some people might see that as a 'game plan,' but to me it's what I do."
When It Hurts