6LACK remains a prominent face in the R&B world due to his unapologetic candor and adept storytelling abilities — so much so that he has the opportunity to win his first Grammy Award this weekend (Feb. 4) for his latest album, Since I Have A Lover. A departure from his dreary, melancholic releases, SIHAL showcases 6LACK’s healthier exploration of relationships and, more importantly, himself.
“For this one, it feels really good because it’s an album not really rooted in things people see as cool, which is like growing up, trial and error, maturity, and being in healthier relationships with yourself and the people around you,” 6LACK tells Billboard News after notching his Grammy nod for best progressive R&B album. “To get the nom for it is the icing on the cake.”
For 6LACK, he underwent a five-year layoff between projects and used that time off to recalibrate his psyche. “Working on those last two albums and doing those tours, I think I got into a motion of creating from a specific place and not healing up whatever those stories were,” he says. “So I would make something, promote it, perform it, live through it, and move on to whatever the next thing was. The next time I finished both of those tours, it felt like I had a lot of baggage and extra stress that I didn’t even need to have anymore.”
He adds: “So if we’re performing Free 6LACK, we don’t need to be stressed about anything from that era. If we’re performing East Atlanta Love Letter, we don’t need to have anything with us from those eras. So, when I stopped touring and was looking around at everything, it just felt like I was in a room full of clutter — just mentally. That was the main thing that made me feel like I needed some time off.”
The true eye-opener came while touring last year, which allowed 6LACK to see the calming effect his music had on people in real time.
“The tour has been the number one thing that’s shown me the effects of the album because when you make it, it’s one thing, and you can feel how you feel about it, but when you see it in real life, it’s like, ‘Ah.’ People are here crying, they’re laughing, they’re saying, ‘This is the best night of my life. This is the best show I’ve ever been to.’ It’s just really fulfilling to do something rooted in positivity and see the effect it has on other people.”
Watch 6LACK’s Billboard News in full above.