Steven Russell Harts of Troop Is Spreading His Wings & Flying Way Up to The Top with His New Music!

3X Grammy Award-Winning Singer, Steven Russell Harts of Troop Is Spreading His Wings and Flying Way Up to The Top with His New Music! Can you dig it! Steven's kindhearted nature made the interview enjoyable. Not only was he friendly and humorous, but he was also very knowledgeable. In speaking with him, I was able to learn a great deal about his life and even some things I didn't know about him. Growing up, I listened to Troop often. In my youth, I loved their songs such as "Spread My Wings and All I Do Is Think of You." I loved those songs, but I never considered Steven's other talents or the lengths he went to achieve his goals. In this interview, he shares some insight into a life we didn't see. Let's find out what he has to say.

Hi Steven, how's your day going? It's going well, how's yours?

It's wonderful, thank you! Where do you live? I'm in DeSoto, Texas in the Dallas area.

How's the weather out there? It's windy today.

Are there dirt storms where you live? Not in this area, but we get land storms. The weather

can be tricky at times. At times, it can fluctuate from extreme cold to extreme heat.

The wind can be harsh on the sinuses. This is especially true for singers. Oh yes!

I'm delighted to be interviewing you today! Troop was one of my favorite groups growing up, I'm a huge fan. Thank you very much.

My pleasure. OK, let's get into it! Steven, what are your earliest childhood memories of singing? When I was around 7 years old, my grandma bought me my first tape recorder with a microphone. I wanted to be in “The Jackson 5” group and in “Switch” so bad! So, at the age of 12, I gained popularity emulating Michael Jackson in Pasadena, CA. People loved my Michael Jackson routine so much that I became extremely popular. Because of what I experienced when I performed live, I wanted to become a singer. So, I developed my own approach.

Did you have the Michael Jackson jacket with the zippers, dress shoes, and all the accessories that came with that? Of course.

How about the Jerry Curl with slicked-down sides? Yes, I had the Jerry Curl, Bangs, and everything. My mom was scared to death! (laughs)

What impact did the music your mother listened to have on the style of music that you later recorded? Oh, totally! My mom and I lived in a single-family home when I was a kid. Music was medicine in our household. Stevie Wonder, The Isley Brothers, The Commodores, Denice Williams, and Parliament-Funkadelic were among my favorite artists. Howard Hewett, Michael Jackson, O'Brien, Johnny Wilder from Heatwaves, and Kool and The Gang were among my biggest influences. Throughout my life, the music that I listened to helped me develop into who I am today.

Which commonalities between each of those singers drew you to their music? I believe it was just the resonance of love, the intent of the song, and the point of the music. That’s what drew me in. But, most strongly I was attracted by the pure love of music.

What was the point in time when music transitioned away from the 70's soul R&B sound to the style that is heard on the radio today? One of the most talented producers I’ve ever heard in my life and a good friend of mine, Teddy Riley.

See, rap was already using R&B with sampling, but when Teddy Riley came out with the New Jack swing, he opened the door for other producers to come in and expand their creativity. Dallas Austin and Rodney Jerkins are a few of those producers that were a part of that transition. Although I am not saying that this is a bad thing, I am referring to the moment that sparked the transformation of the traditional sound of Soul and R&B into the sound we know today.

Ok, explain. This is how it works, producers emerged that didn't follow the format of the 70s and 80s. For example, If Dallas copies Teddy Riley and another kid comes along, copies Dallas, and creates his own style, then the change begins.

So, the traditional Soul and R&B sound changed when the New Jack Swing came into being. That new sound is what sent R&B and soul music on a different course. Again, I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing, it's just my opinion of what happened.

That's the point where R&B music became more experimental. As we speak, Roger Troutman comes to mind, and his song "Computer Love." In my opinion, that song was experimental and futuristic. Yes, and because hip hop won't let his sound die, he was way ahead of his time.

At what age did you sign your first professional deal? I signed my first deal as a member of Troop on Tuesday, June 2nd, 1986. I was 15 years old, and I was in the 10th grade.

That must have been an amazing feeling! What a dream come true for a young man! Gina, it was surreal. I couldn't believe it was happening! I thought to myself, my voice is going to be on vinyl records! It was the best and most memorable experience of my life. The best feeling in the world was just being one of the people at the table, signing the agreement that would eventually launch me into stardom.

Being 15 years old, going back to your high school peers and letting them know that you just signed a major record deal, how did They respond? Because we started the group in 1984 and performed in every talent show from 1984 until 1988 when we graduated, our peers were familiar with our talent. Usually, it wasn't a big deal until talent show time. The good thing is that we had lots of support from our peers, both male and female. I would say that we were quite popular.

Although everyone liked us, after experiencing one disappointment after the other, people began to doubt that we were going to make it. But we kept our friends updated on our progress. There were times when we would go to school and deliver good news, but then bad news would follow.

Because of the shiftiness, we decided to focus on the journey. Things didn't get real until people saw us on BET on the Donnie Simpson show. This happened one weekend shy of graduation. Our peers were like what? (laughs)

What grade were you in at that time? We started in the 9th grade and by the time we were on the Donnie Simpson show, we were in the 12th