BY CYNTHIA HORNER
Many years ago, Tony Terry was hot. Especially after he released the song “With You,” arguably one of the best R&B songs that has ever been recorded. To me, a hit song is one that immerses deep into your soul and that truly absorbs the listener, bringing a particular set of feelings that wash over you, as a cleanser. As the notes seep into your skin, you are awakened and refreshed. “With You” remains a spine-tingling, romantic ballad that is still his signature song.
Terry’s hit song was released in 1991, however, it has never left playlists. As a result, the singer/actor, who often stars in stage productions and still records music, remains in demand. We caught up with Terry who was rehearsing for an appearance for Timeless Brands USA’s The Drive-In Concert series. The entertainment group is introducing “a new concept of safe entertainment to the Metro Atlanta Area, which will be replicated across the country,” say the promoters, and features Tony Terry, Algebra Blessett, Anthony David. The show, hosted by comedian Marvin Dixon, takes place on July 25, 2020 in the parking lot of the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta.
RIGHT ON! DIGITAL: How does it feel to be performing at a drive-in? It’s such a cool, safe way to entertain fans.
TONY TERRY: I remember going to the drive-in movie theaters. I would imagine that it would be an experience just like that except that you can park, sit in a lawn chair and hang out with your crew! It’s a social distancing experience, and if it works, I’m sure they will do it again, and again and again. It was an honor to be asked to participate and I’m ready to rip the stage!
CLICK HERE TO SEE HIM REHEARSE:
RIGHT ON! DIGITAL: When people meet you, do they try to sing “With You?”
TONY TERRY: No, they try to get me to sing “With You.” (Laughs)
RIGHT ON! DIGITAL: That was truly one of the greatest songs ever. A lot of couples have used it for wedding ceremonies or receptions, including one of our former music editors.
TONY TERRY: And since you’ve been the editor of Right On! magazine, you’ve heard a lot of music.
RIGHT ON! DIGITAL: Did you ever think that “With You” would have such an impact on listeners?
TONY TERRY: There was something that would not let me back down. In other words, when it was time to choose the next single from the album, I felt passionate about it. I wasn’t interested in choosing another song. They (the label) tried to convince me that it wasn’t a good idea. It was serviced to radio stations with a blank label with no information on it. I think that’s what happened. It stood out and it started to grow. And one day I got a call from Anita Baker..have you ever heard this story?
RIGHT ON! DIGITAL: No, tell me more.
TONY TERRY: She called our office; the receptionist wasn’t at her desk, so I answered the phone. It was Anita Baker and she was looking for ME. I didn’t think it was Anita Baker because I didn’t know Anita Baker but it was Anita Baker. She said, “I was in my bed and I heard one of the most beautiful songs I had ever heard in my life.”(I was on Nia Peeples’ TV series, The Party Machine, and Miss Baker heard the song on there.) She said she thought the song was amazing and why hadn’t she seen a video for it? I explained to her that people didn’t think the song was a hit and that there would not be a video for it. She said she was going to send me a check so that I could shoot a video. Sure enough, a certified check for $50,000 showed up at my manager’s office. So we shot the video; Blair Underwood directed it (and made a cameo appearance in it). So, if people have ever seen the video, it was shot with Anita Baker’s blessing.
RIGHT ON! DIGITAL: Incredible. Did you ever reconnect with her years later and find out more about her decision to finance the video?
TONY TERRY: Years later, she was on Mo’Nique’s show. I found out she was going to be there and I got tickets. She saw me and she explained to Mo’Nique why she did it. “She said she was “being obedient to The Spirit.”
RIGHT ON! DIGITAL: And how did you feel once this song, now your signature song, became so popular?
TONY TERRY: It was God, it had nothing to do with me.
GET SOCIAL WITH HIM @TONYTERRY
FLASHBACK: WATCH “WITH YOU” HERE: