*If the term “unsung” applies to anyone in the music business, it applies to Preston Glass.
While you may not have heard of him — yet! — you HAVE heard some of the many hits he’s written or produced for R&B and pop royalty like Diana Ross, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Deniece Williams.
You’ve likely heard his international smash “Miss You Like Crazy” by Natalie Cole, his romantic “Perfect Combination” by Stacy Lattisaw & Johnny Gill, or his triumphant “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” by Aretha Franklin. If you’re a smooth jazz aficionado, you’ve likely enjoyed some of Glass’ classic productions with Phyllis Hyman, Angela Bofill, or Kenny G.
Glass hasn’t spent all of his time in the background. He’s released a handful of albums during his illustrious career, but those polished projects were more in the “Quincy Jones” mode, featuring a variety of guest vocalists.
With his upcoming The Stuff That Matters album, Glass steps out front and center as a vocalist. If you’re an old school R & B and pop fan, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
“My favorite albums growing up had threads going through them — Anita Baker’s Rapture, The O’Jays’ Backstabbers, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On?,” Glass said by phone recently. “I think of an album like a movie that you listen to from start to finish and have an experience. That’s what’s been missing from a lot of projects today. The Stuff That Matters has a little bit of a thread going through it, and [I hope it makes] people think of ‘stuff that matters’ in their own lives.”
Vocally, Glass floats effortlessly between Babyface and Ray Parker, Jr. with a splash of Jermaine Jackson tossed in for kicks. In addition to the lead single, my favorites include “I Remember” (co-written with Narada Michael Walden), “None Of That Stuff Matters,” and “Awesomeness” (which serves up a great 50s throwback vibe).
Another standout is “I’m Good,” which features a surprising lyrical turn that lets you know it was written and sung by someone who’s lived a little — and who knows who he is and what he brings to the table.
“It’s important for artists from my era to remember what kept us loving music in the first place,” Glass said. “Over the last 15-20 years, I decided I’m not going to be chasing the current trend in music. A wise person taught me that the world revolves, and told me that if I stayed in my place, the world will come right back to me. I’d be doing this if I weren’t making a dime — I’m just doing what I do.”
Glass hopes his new music will help others find solace in a world that can be…challenging.
“We look at the news and we see stuff that disturbs us, and it’s important to keep in mind the stuff that matters — family, friends, peace, freedom, love,” Glass reflects. “Those are the things that will prevail. If we keep our eyes on the stuff that matters, that will be what keeps us going.”
Preston Glass’ The Stuff That Matters will be available August 16 at retail and on online platforms.
This feature was written by freelance writer Michael P Coleman. Connect with him at michaelpcoleman.com or on Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP