The nostalgia trend isn't slowing down any time soon, so it's no wonder that Joey Lawrence's upcoming album Imagine is delivering a straight blast from the past. In a recent interview with Bustle, the actor says the release of Imagine will be a nod to old-school records. The first group of about seven songs, inspired by '70s funk/pop, will first be released as Side A. "We’ll release shortly thereafter a Side B," Lawrence says. "With a bunch of really cool featurettes and guests that came on to help me for another six or seven songs."
And this guy knows his audience; his recent Instagram performance of his new single "Girl," for example, is a perfect homage to the golden age of boy bands. According to Lawrence, the new record not only takes its inspiration from beyond the '90s, but the vibe of Imagine will bring fans to a simpler time as well. "I wanted to just put a smile on people’s faces. No political statement I want to make, I’m not talking about anything about the world at large," Lawrence says. "I’m hearing so much of that music today and it’s just depressing me... I just wanted it to be escapism."
Although he's also known for his acting career (and being a total hunk of the '90s), Lawrence started work as a musician at just 16 with his debut self-titled album in 1993. The upcoming album, slated to be released this fall, will be his return to music since releasing a few singles in the summer of 2011. So what went wrong and what urged him to come back after all this time?
"It was the classic story of a lot of mismanagement, and a lot of money that disappeared, and left a really terrible taste in my mouth," the 41-year-old claims. But, while taking a break from music and starring in Melissa & Joey, the actor says interacting with his fans through social media over the last few years gave him a new lease on life. "I started to connect with all my fans out there, personally. And as the numbers grew on social media stuff, every other question I was getting asked was, ‘When are you going to do music?’ ‘Are you ever going to do music again?’" he explains. Well, the fans asked, and now they shall receive.
And Lawrence has big plans for this album, including a tour with dancers and a live orchestra. "The tour is really what we’re working toward, hopefully, in about a year," he says. "I can’t wait to get out there." He's open-minded about the possibilities of touring solo and performing as an opening act, but he's clear about one thing: "It’s gonna be throwback, that’s what I want." It may not be the kind of throwback fans would assume, though.
Comebacks like this have been all the rage. In recent years, fans have seen beloved bands from the '80s and '90s return to the stage, such as the Backstreet Boys' current Las Vegas residency and New Kids on the Block's tour with Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men. But Lawrence swears he's not like another boy band and he's doing his own thing, taking inspiration from solo performers like Prince and Bruno Mars. And he's ready for any heat he may get in this endeavor: "I’ve been through it so much over 36 years, nothing scares me anymore."
The times sure aren't like they used to be, but Lawrence is allowing fans to experience the glory days — even just for a little while.