In a small office at the EMI building in NYC after being served sushi, dumplings and Sake, Bloggers, press and media gathered to listen to Tyrese’s fifth album Open Invitation. The room, adorned with red candles centered on a black piano, gave off an intimate vibe. We huddled in close, some sitting on the floor and some lucky souls in chairs. Tyrese greeted us very personally asking that we do not record the music he was going to play for us, informing us that he had an incident the night before.

With a half-empty glass in his possession, he introduced what he called “my proudest work to date.” We listened attentively as he filled us in on his journey back to music!

“My mentor said something to me, back when I decided to give music a quick break, he said ‘If you want to make God laugh tell him your plan’.” Tyrese struck Box Office success with the “Transformers” series, “Fast & Furious” franchise and “Legion.” Though very profitable, music was calling Tyrese’s heart.

“A revelation came to me, you got four weeks of nothing to do- which never happens. I got a hold of about 14 people, singers, songwriters and producers and I flew them in town. All brand new unestablished producers that I had never worked with specifically but I had worked with indirectly. I was like these are on the folks that are on the list that God sent me, they were all sleeping at my house. We banged out my whole album in four weeks. I had five different production stations set up throughout my house, it became like the old Motown, I called it R&B boot-camp”

Tyrese has strayed from the love ballad/baby-making music maven we have come to love. He attributes his new musical focus on “Benjamin Button syndrome.” The new album is more upbeat and better fit for a cool night out on the town rather than the bedroom–which is exactly what he was going for. “If you listen to songs like “Lately,” I’m 32 now I can sing a song like that now, because I actually do know about love Ive been madly in love before.  I have a child but when your 20 years old singing ‘Have I told you I love you?’ it’s a very mature adult contemporary. When I had “Lately” out, Usher had “You Make Me Wanna.” He’s actually doing music his age. He’s in the video dancing, I’m [in the “Lately” video] in all white on the piano making out on some extra grown man sh*t. As soon as I leave the video[set] I’m like ‘man I don’t want to do this sh*t.’ Now that I’ve gotten older I know what I want to look like. I know what type of songs I want to sing. I know what type of songs that move me!

My favorite of the tracks played was “I’m Home.” The hard-hitting but mid-tempo beat was the sexiest of the bunch. “One Night” was very reminiscent of Trey Songz “Invented Sex,” which isn’t a bad thing! “Best In Me” was also a favorite, followed by his first single “I Got A Chick “ featuring Rick Ross and R.Kelly. His current single “Stay” follows the typical R&B rules but because of Tyrese’s strong vocals, is elevated to another level.

Though I loved a few songs (so far) on “Open Invitation,” being the R&B fiend I am,  I was hoping for another “Lately” or “How You Gonna Act Like That.” Open Invitation doesn’t deliver that but does offer a more modern Tyrese with less the love.

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