Last updated: 03/01/2012 11:00:00 AM
In a world of confusion jam-packed with negativity and immorality what is desperately needed is a breath of fresh air – a double dose of oxygen, something maybe like … O2. Enter in Tonéx – music’s multi-genre, multi-talented breath of fresh air.
First introduced to the world on the avant-garde album ‘Pronounced Toe-Nay’, Tonéx created a fervor with his eclectic styles and secular flair that both pushed boundaries and opened doors. Prior to its release, however, Tonéx had to deal with potential career-ending issues, all before his first album hit the shelves.
"When it came time to finally release ‘Pronounced Toe-Nay’, I had all these different elements pulling me in crazy directions," Tonéx said. "I felt like I had to prove something. Now, I feel much freer and happier …it’s a much brighter time for me."
With the drama behind him, Tonéx is set to release O2 on April 9, 2002. Whether representing two parts oxygen, or the second installment in Tonéx's musical journey, or even the year of its release, O2, is much more than the 17 inspiring songs it contains. It is a new dawn for Tonéx.
From those early darker days, to the overall optimism that pervades Tonéx's new music, O2, is a self-proclaimed "metamorphosis." Unfettered by distractions that once saturated Tonéx's career, O2, reveals focus and a deeper maturity both personally and professionally.
"I wanted to do an album that showed where I am today," Tonéx said. "My last album had a darker vibe to it and this album is bright, happy – lots of dancing, singing and songs of love …O2 is all about sun rises, not sun sets!"
Lyrically and vocally, Tonéx shines on this album. Having written all the songs on O2, Tonéx used this opportunity to concentrate on his singing and songwriting artistry.
"O2 contains new ‘soundscapes’," said Tonéx. "Most people don’t think of me as a vocalist, but you will really be able to hear me sing on this album." It is clear on soaring ballads, such as "Seasons," "You," and "God Has Not 4got," Tonéx unmistakably makes his mark as a true crooner.
On the stand out track, "Seasons," Tonéx delivers an intense ballad, with his wife Yvette "Ms. Tonex" Williams. Speaking to the natural transitions in life that everyone must go through, "Seasons" tells us that we can’t appreciate the good times without having lived through the bad times. "A change will come, and every season has its purpose," said Tonex of this powerful song. The vividly descriptive song brings forth as much a visual impact as an audible one.
The first single off the album, is the prodigious, boundless soon-to-be-church anthem "God Has Not 4got." Having gleaned from difficult times early in his career, Tonéx wrote this song to help carry him through. "As I was writing it, it ministered to me … even when I thought I’d never have an album out … it was totally reassuring," Tonéx said. "I think in these times especially since 9/11, we all need to hear reassurance … to remember that God has not forgotten us."
Inspiring the entire album is the flagship song "You," a straight-up, heartfelt love song that was written for Tonéx's wife, Yvette. "This optimism that I have is due largely in part to my marriage," Tonéx explained. "‘"You"is something that I wrote about how much I love Yvette and how I fell in love."
Of course Tonéx doesn’t give you just love songs and high strings, he balances the album with his signature, high-energy dance numbers. Out of the box is the infectious head nodding, spirit-filled party song "Bout A Thang." Truly undeniable, the song encourages and reminds us not to worry because God can handle anything. "With all the things going on today, we need a reminder to not walk in fear, to not let stress, people or whatever get us down … there’s nothing too hard for God."
Also heavy with a pop beat, is the banging title track ""02," critical look at the music industry as a whole. With so many negative images that saturate our young people, Tonéx suggests a need for an alternative to the current state of music. Lyrically it’s an appeal to all artists: "Get high off of creativity … Flaunt your craft not your sexuality … Artists in this industry have a responsibility…to make songs that inspire human morality."
Among his favorites, Tonéx identifies "Even You," an amazing song of redemption, and a message that God reaches beyond our faults. Tonéx describes the song "the most heartfelt song," he’s ever written. "It, more than anything else reveals the motive of my heart … I believe it will win over millions of souls."
Recently, Tonéx lost a dear family member, which prompted the inclusion of the emotional "See You Again" on the project. An absolutely heart-tugging song, it encourages those who’ve lost loved ones and that through mercy and faith, we will see them again soon.
Immediately following that track, Tonéx brings us a truly vibrant song about Heaven. Given to him in a dream, "The Beautiful Place," is an expansive ballad with soaring strings that so colorfully describes God’s glorious kingdom. "The Lord gave me this song … and it’s not like I wrote it, more like I painted it," he said. "The song is so rich in texture both lyrically and musically … we had live strings, and stacked vocals, three different languages (Swahili, Spanish and Japanese)."
"I want people to feel they’ve connected to the album in every way," said Tonéx. "It was more than a labor of love, it’s truly a piece of me and it was worth the wait to get it right."