R. Kelly on The Buffet: He says he wrote 462 songs, and they're all hits | EW.com


R. Kelly says he wrote 462 songs for The Buffet, and they're all hits

It also includes one country track.

(Dexter A. Jones/Getty Images)

For R. Kelly, the process of creating new music is relatively easy—all he has to do is listen. “I walk around every day with a radio playing constantly in my head, and this radio station plays a lot of hits,” he tells EW. “But it’s all my songs, so that’s something to be excited about 24 hours a day.”

WKLS was working overtime during the creation of The Buffet, Kelly’s thirteenth studio album. “I’ve done 462 songs for this particular album,” he says. “They’re not ideas, they are whole full songs. I wanted to be sure that I really nailed it to the point that when I started breaking it down to the 14, 15, 16 songs that go on the album that I had more than enough to choose from, and they would all be great choices.”

That volume was necessary in order to execute The Buffet. The past few R. Kelly albums have all fallen under a particular theme, including ’60s soul (2010’s Love Letter), ’70s R&B (2012’s Write Me Back), and the sexually-charged signature brand of pop in the 12 Play vein (2013’s Black Panties). Buffet has no such underlying idea. “I’ve always wanted to display my talents and show everybody just what I can do musically,” Kelly says. “I’ve always wanted to do different types of music and different characters, and this album gave me the chance to do that. I absolutely think that the audience is expecting the sexual R. Kelly, the steppin’ R. Kelly, maybe a bit of the ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ R. Kelly. They’ve been spoiled for twenty-something years. I don’t want fans mad at me, so I gotta give them what they expect and what they want.”

So all versions of R. Kelly will be showing up on The Buffet, as will a few new variations. “I wanted to cover a lot of different genres, and in order to do that you have to do a lot of work,” he says. “So there are about seven or eight country songs that I chose from in that category, and broke it down to one song out of those eight. So there is one country song on the album. I’m not doing all these different genres of songs just to do them. This is all the different types of music I loved growing up. For example, I’ve always said I’d love to do a blues song. I love blues. My grandfather did blues. I always loved country because country music tells stories, and I love telling stories as well. These styles of music really hit home for me, and that’s why I’m doing this Buffet album.”

Get exclusive details about fall’s buzziest albums in Entertainment Weekly Issue #1379, on stands Aug. 27.