R&B dynamic duo Norm Adams and Julia Robertson has returned with their follow-up duet single “Home Tonight” after teaming up first in 2016 on the Award-winning worldwide smash “Body Rush”. I caught up with the duo to discuss the single, the music video which features cameo appearances from The Force MD’s, Hi-Five, Allure and Riff, their earliest musical beginnings and much more…
Terrance: Refresh us a little on how you both got your starts in the music business.
Julia Robertson: I got my start a long time ago in ‘84 when I was originally with the girl group Ex-Girlfriend and we used to sing around and then Yvette Shure from Black Beat Magazine took us to Full Force. That’s how I got my start.
Norm Adams: I’ve been singing ever since I was little and like a lot of R&B singers I started singing in Church. I didn’t really start to develop anything professionally until I was a little older. I would sing around town at the local events and then when I was in College, that’s when I started to get serious about it. I started going to open mic nights in and around New York City and also around that time I started developing my songwriting because if I was going to be serious about being a recording artist I needed something to sing. It’s just been a steady progression and a constant grind to make it happen.
Terrance: Talk about the newest duet “Home Tonight” and how it came together.
Norm Adams: “Home Tonight” is actually our second song together. Our first single was a ballad called “Body Rush” and we’ve received a preliminary ballot Grammy nomination last year, so we’re really proud of that. For “Home Tonight” we wanted to do something a little bit different because like I said “Body Rush” was a ballad, it’s romantic and it’s tender and people actually connected with that but there’s a lot more to who we are as artists. We wanted to kind of showcase a different side, so when I wrote “Home Tonight” I wanted to kind of go the opposite way to show our more playful side. It’s connected with people as well, it’s just more fun.
Terrance: Hi-Five, The Force MD’s, Allure and Riff make cameos in the music video. Who’s idea was that?
Norm Adams: That was actually mine and it started actually around a conversation that I had with Akissa from Allure. We were actually getting ready to do a show but on this particular show with Hi-Five, The Force MD’s, Riff and then there were others and Akissa said, let me know the details and I would definitely be willing to come out and support you guys, so that’s how the idea just kind of came. I asked her about being in the video and once she agreed, I thought, Hey! I wonder would the others be willing to do it as well because I was writing the storyboard at the time with our director Maurice Paramore and once we started to build that angle then it was a matter of reaching out to the other acts. We all kind of roll like family and everybody was really gracious and they agreed to appear in the video and it’s really been a great thing.
Terrance: Because of the great chemistry, can we expect a duet album in the near future?
Julia Robertson: I’m never going to say never because each time, me and Norm surprise people. It just comes together and our chemistry together is just magical, so you never know what we will bring to the table.
Norm Adams: Agreed. We take it one step at a time. There are some special things coming up for later in the year and like Julia said, we just constantly want to give people things they wouldn’t necessarily expect from us. That’s what keeps it fresh and exciting.
Terrance: Why do you think there haven’t been as many R&B duets to hit the airwaves in the past decade?
Norm Adams: That’s a good question.
Julia Robertson: That is. Nobody ever asked us that question (laughs). I don’t think people took the chance. It just so happens when we were introduced to do it I just saw a vision of it. I kept saying this is going to be great because I knew there was nothing out there and he knew there was nothing out there since back in the day when people did duets. This is like a new lane for us and we’re in a lane by ourselves, so I said this is a pretty good way to start off because we will make a name for ourselves and our names will start buzzing.
Norm Adams: I think some of it has to do also with the societal shift. We live today kind of in a microwave society where everything is quick, quick, quick and certain things have been a casualty of that. I think duets are one of them much like full length albums, because to listen to a complete body of work takes time. The industry today reflects that because it’s very single driven and I don’t necessarily know whether or not people just don’t want to do it, I just don’t think it’s been something that fit into the current state of music. It’s been great for us because as Julia said, that kind of enabled us to be in a lane by ourselves.
Terrance: Name your favorite male and female duos.
Julia Robertson: Mine is Rene & Angela because I love Angela Winbush. She got me started in the game (laughs).
Norm Adams: We actually just started in our live shows doing a medley of classic R&B duets, so it’s really kind of hard to pick because there are so many great ones. But if I had to choose one I’d probably have to go with Donny Hathaway & Roberta Flack, because they were to me kind of the standard bearer of that classic duet because they were like what Julia & I are. They were great together, but they also had these amazing solo careers a part and that’s kind of where we are. Julia is working on her solo project now and my solo album is out at the moment, so when we come together it’s magic, but you also do great things on your own and people connect with it all, so that’s why I would say Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway.
Terrance: Where can the readers reach out to you guys in social media?
Julia Robertson: They can reach out to @msjuliarobertson across the board and that’s for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Norm Adams: And for me, it’s @normadamsmusic on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and my website is www.normadamsmusic.com
Terrance: Are there any final words you would like to leave with the readers?
Norm Adams: Well, thank you everyone for your support. It’s just been a wonderful experience and it’s been a lot of work, but it’s also been a wonderful experience just connecting with everyone. People are constantly hitting us up on social media with really kind words. Those are the things that keep us going and we appreciate each and every person that download or streams our music or take the time to watch our videos, so thank you to each and every person who supports Norm Adams and Julia Robertson.