INTERVIEW: Cyril Neville Keeps Uplifting Us With ‘Love Has Got to Win’




Cyril at The Mint 4 - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
Cyril at The Mint 4 - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA

The rest of the world can be freaking out, but Cyril Neville has a calming message for us all: “Love Has Got To Win.”

In his latest song and video, “Love Has Got To Win,” Neville tells it like it is. Enough divisiveness, says Neville, the youngest of the famous Neville Brothers, the musically gifted Louisiana family. The song is off the new album Endangered Species.

Neville was inspired by the music of colleague Tree Adams and also by the actress Taraji P. Henson, whom he heard speak about love and hate. But he also got some special advise from his son, Omari Neville.

“My son told me that I have to make a video, so my son put the production together,” Neville told CaliforniaRocker.com. Neville was recently in the other LA – Los Angeles –  to accept a Lifetime Achievement Grammy from The Recording Academy. He stopped in at The Mint for a quick collaboration with Leo Nocentelli, where we caught up with him.

Check out the video for “Love Has Got To Win:”

Neville Family Legacy Continues

“My son is the coproducer, I’m on his record label World Order Entertainment, and the music is distributed by Louisiana Red Hot Records,” Neville said. “My son Omari told me he needed to produce a video to compliment the song and he got our friend Mark Bergeron of Geronimo films to direct it.”

The song “Love Has Got To Win” has a deep meaning to Neville, who lives in Slidell, La., with his family.

“The thing that is going to defeat hatred is love,” Neville said. “One hateful act against another hateful act won’t solve anything. If you have a voice and have someone who will listen, say something that has socially redeeming qualitites. What I do is coming through me, I’m just a vehicle.”

Cyril Neville

Endangered Species

“Never give up hope,” Neville said.  “The whole thing about it is the enemies of peace would like us to give up hope. If you have children or grandchildren, you can’t just sit by and watch. You want to protect them. What are we leaving for them?”

Endangered Species is a 52-song collection of previously recorded songs for the most part, but the collection is extensive. Neville has released this remarkable collection at a good time. It’s inspiring.

Cyril Neville performs at The Mint – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

It becomes clear from playing the collection that the multi-instrumental and talented Neville has always only ever wanted peace. He’s been singing songs of life’s struggle, ranging from peace and love to songs of sadness. Selections include New Orleans tempo cajun rhythms off the album New Orleans Cookin’, a remake of “Chapel of Love,” and he even touches on the rivalry of Biggy and Tupac on “The Road to Unity” off the Soulo album. (Why you wanna go and kill your brother/ Why you want to take his life away?)

Cyril Neville received a Lifetime Achievement GRAMMY last week - Photo courtesy of Cyril Neville
Cyril Neville received a Lifetime Achievement GRAMMY last week – Photo courtesy of Cyril Neville

Cyril Neville Passing the Torch

About his career life, Neville said in many areas of his work he is passing the torch.

“I’m really at a point where — being two months from 70 years old that I’m in the hands of my son who I’m working with and Liryca my daughter, who is taking care of the record company. Of course I owe it all to my queen, Gaynielle.”

He is not worried about his legacy. He knows it’s in good hands. Not only does his son have his best interest at heart, but in Omari, Neville sees himself.

“My son and daughter are the force of this business, and my wife, who is my queen, and my daughter run the ranch,” Neville said.

 

Neville and The Collaborations

Neville plays with a range of people and gives tributes to many other inspiring figures in his music. The Fire This Time has some funky spoken word selections and tracks that are inspired by African and Jamaican sounds. Some even have a Hall and Oates-style sax.

With the new song, “Love Has Got To Win,” he addresses new issues. Neville said he also understands how serious it is when children are separated from their parents.

“When I go on the road it’s hard being separated from my family but at least I can stay in touch with them while I’m away,” he said. “I feel the pain of the children separated from their parents and I identify with the parents in distress and righteous rage!”