Michael Bivins and Ricky Bell from BBD talks Cincinnati Music Festival and New Edition Tour

July 13, 2017

BBD will perform at the 2017 Cincinnati Music Festival on July 28 at Paul Brown Stadium. The Cincinnati Music Festival sponsored by Procter & Gamble is set for three days from July 27 through July 29.

The Cincinnati Music Festival (CMF) began in 1962 and is one of the largest music festivals in the United States attracting over 75,000+ people from around the country with it’s roster of leading R&B, jazz, soul and hip-hop artists creating an economic impact of $11 million for Cincinnati.  Visit www.cincymusicfestival for more information or to purchase tickets.

Michael Bivins and Ricky Bell discussed their excitement about their upcoming performance at the Cincinnati Music Festival and the anticipated New Edition Tour.

What can we expect from the upcoming show in Cincinnati with Bell Biv Devoe, Kem, SWV, EnVogue, and Mary J (M.Bivins)?

We were packaged all up together to set the tone that needs to be set going into the weekend. We will do our part to help them reminisce great music and possibly take them through a few of our New Edition classics that we do within our show and audience participation to ensure when people leave the stadium that we gave it all we got and we did our part to party rock the building. So, they can expect a good quality show and with Kem, the ladies’ man, SWV, and the Queen (Mary J) that’s a great Friday evening package for the festival.

Last year you performed with New Edition, will you be performing any New Edition Hits (M.Bivins)?

Yes, we keep that in the arsenal, that’s a part of our discography, New Edition music. We know the crowd and the fans love it and because the origin of Bell Biv Devoe is New Edition. When we are in the situation on stage we love to throw in a few of those classics and let the crowd come in with us and sing along, it’s what we have been doing for years. It’s one of the highlights of the show because everyone gets a chance to go back to being a teenager and that’s what makes that section so special because everyone goes back to the 80’s and sing and smile and dance when music was fun and inviting, so yes you can definitely expect that within the Bell Biv Devoe set.

Last year you released Run after a 15-year hiatus, tell us about the process of releasing the new album and why the timing is right for you guys (M.Bivins)?

We tried a record around this time last year July 9th and we released it in New York with the Mix DJ Funk Master Flex. It got so much traction on Hot 97 radio so we decided to work it around the country which led to an independent deal with E One music and at the time we had a few weeks to finish a project so we buckled down and finished the Three Stripes album in three weeks and after filming of The New Edition Story on BET we realized we were in the fourth quarter and the movie was coming in January and we thought what better way than to release the record after the third night of the mini-series that we did with New Edition, it was almost like it was hand delivered to us and put right in front of us. We just needed to put the pieces to the puzzle and unfold it right and it really worked, it’s part of the reason we are out working this summer because this was the text of the project that helped us get together the Three Stripes tour which is landing in Cincinnati so it was perfect timing. It caught us off guard but it was definitely time after 15 years to put out another project so Run led the way.

Let’s talk about the BET movie, how did it feel to see your lives portrayed on the big screen (M.Bivins)?

It felt good, able to relive some memories, able to see other perspectives of members, everyone was an A hole, everyone was a hero, everyone had a moment of transparency and humility. I think the movie was so well written, so well casted, all the right people were in all of the right seats, that I think for BET as a television channel, it elevated people’s anticipation of future projects. I think going into the movie, there was a level of low bar in our community because we have seen some life stories and it was a lot of talk on black twitter that people were a little disappointed and after the Straight Out of Compton movie was so successful theatrically, when we came with a mini-series not only was it a quality piece but we brought families together because the goal was to give people an opportunity to sit there and watch a story from kids growing up to be men where all ages can enjoy it. If any of you were to go online and follow the action online with the kids, the new generation that’s doing all of the videos and parents and celebrities with their kids, it’s like this movie has reinvented New Edition which is a segway into the tour we are trying to do at the end of the year called Family Affair and I think the movie did so much for all involved, the television channel, us, and it has inspired other kids to want to be like us because there hasn’t been many groups for the kids to look at because we are living in the Hip Hop era.

With your success, how do you think your music impacts the next generation following you (M.Bivins)?

The next generation is listening to our earlier products so it’s impacting where they are learning to listen to these songs for the first time and that’s the most exciting thing, like Candy Girl is a brand-new single to my kids, who are girls, and Cool It Now, Mr. Telephone Man, these records from 1983 and 1985 have resurfaced and is giving them new lyric content because back then the lyrics were safe, it was about love and girls and smiling. They are learning to love these songs, they are singing them and they know them by hard. They are doing the New Edition routines and the music is taking on a life of it’s on. We would have never thought it would have been so impactful. I think we were destined and set up to be a group from 1983 to infuse change in the music business in 2017 and I think that was our calling to put R&B, families and kids back to lyrical content that is safe for parents, for both parents and child and teenager to enjoy something together whether it’s the movie, the video, or song on the radio and I think that is what the impact has been.

Let’s talk about Three Stipes, what’s the significance to the title (M.Bivins)?

It’s Adidas, it’s three members in the group, it’s synonymous with triple threat, the name of our tour. The three is in our blood and our DNA. We wear a lot of Adidas, it’s a Boston thing and we just wanted to paint the town with Three Stripes and do what Run DMC did in 1983 in 2017. It’s an Iconic brand, we love it, and we just wanted to rep that because when you get off the plane in Boston, it’s a huge thing in our city so that was the purpose, it was an easy play to make that the title.

Do you have a favorite song from the new album (M.Bivins)?

I think there are so many different moods and lanes the album goes in that I think overall it’s a great piece of work and the best piece of work since our first album. I couldn’t pull out one song because each record puts you in a different mood. Doug E. Fresh is on our album so I can listen to the intro without listening to the album because we have a feature. Boys II Men are on the album and we haven’t made a record with them since they have been a group and they are part of the family. SMV is on the album, an iconic girl group, so many things that each record takes on a life of its own. It’s like having children and saying who is my favorite child, they all bring you a since of joy.

If you can send a special message to your fans, what would you say (M.Bivins)?

Get your money right, get your head right, go on you tube and learn all of the dance routines, and just wait for us to make this announcement that you get to see Bell Biv Devoe in Cincinnati in a few weeks and you also get to see New Edition at the end of the year and we hope that your holidays are spent wrapped around us because we look forward to seeing all of our fans in both Cincinnati and the dates when they drop for the New Edition tour so get ready.

Are you going back in the studio with all six of you guys (R.Bell)?

We can be honest here, our story is an open book, we are hoping it will be all six and we are pushing for it to be all six. We don’t know but we know for sure it will be all five. Time will tell on that.

Bell Biv Devoe, a name formed from the artists’ names, BBD for short, is a group of R&B singers that originally started as part of the R&B group, New Edition. Forming in the early 90s, they are revered as the pioneers of a brand-new sound in music, coined, “new jack swing,” which combines soul, pop, funk, and hip-hop. The group is recognized for the many singles off their debut album, Poison, which sold millions of copies across the nation. They recently released a new album in January of 2017, titled, “Three Stripes.”