Maxim Meyer-Horn

30 Aug 2019

Common Talks New Album ‘Let Love’, His Daughter and More

For those who don’t know; Common is a legendary artist, actor, activist and, most recently, a New York Times best-selling author with the release of his latest memoir ‘Let Love Have The Last Word.’ With an impressive career spanning three decades, his work has been recognized with numerous Grammy Awards, as well as an Emmy and an Academy Award for the song “Glory” which he co-wrote and performed with John Legend. Today, he’s releasing his 12th studio album called ‘Let Love’. We had the chance to talk over the phone with Common about his new album and how his life has changed the past few years.

Hi, good evening from Belgium. How are you? 

Hi! I’m great. How are you?

I’m fine. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us! It’s a special week for you. You’re releasing your 12th studio album. Are you still a little bit nervous when releasing a project like this? 

I feel, more than anything, excited. I feel happy and grateful. I’m in the middle of a tour and doing everything, promotion wise. But it doesn’t stop here. You release an album and then you want to continue to get it out there. I want it to evolve and do short films around the album, but also performances, a tour, more videos, you know? It’s like, you’re giving it to the world, but you’ve still got to continue to get it out there and I’m excited for that.

What’s the album title, Let Love, referencing to? 

It’s inspired by a book I released called Let Love Have The Last Word. In that title, I was just saying: “with everything that is going on in the world; the hatred, the anxiety, etc. Let’s find a way to love ourselves and love each other!” And we have to work towards that. Allow love to be the beginning and the ending. Not just only the last word, but all the way throughout the way we act.

You really wanted to create depth on the album by writing very personal and raw songs. Why did you want to dig deeper than ever before? 

Well, I think I was going deeper within myself, so it was just a natural thing to talk about. For me, it would be an injustice to myself if I went and started to talk about stuff that didn’t have any type of meaning to me. Definitely after I’ve gone on this journey to work and learn more about myself.

I feel like in my music, I’ve always talked about personal things, but the more I know about me, the more I can. And also, with the hopes of making music that can inspire people and change lives. It’s a social thing, it’s an economic thing, but it’s also an emotional and mental wellness thing, too. And that’s what I’ve been able to discover for myself and I want to share that with people who are listening to the music.

You’ve recently released a beautiful video for “Show Me That You Love“, which shows your moving relationship with your daughter. Looking at the video, it’s clear that you two have a very special connection with each other. What is something that she taught you? 

Naturally, I love my daughter. But I think what she helped me to recognize is that love is an action and that you have to be aware of how you distribute it. How you give it to the people that you care about or even to people you don’t know. Because in love, you need to pay attention to the other, to the recipient that you want to give love to. What I got out of that conversation and that situation that my daughter and I had, is that as much as I thought I was doing, I wasn’t paying enough attention to her. I had to listen more. Love is listening.

One of the greatest gifts is to understand that it’s a way to love someone to listen to them. Even when it comes to communities. If you’re a leader of a community, you gotta listen to that community to be able to lead. That’s a great lesson. You know, I’m still in progress and learning to be a better father and person.

Once again, you’ve worked with some famous and upcoming names for this album. What’s important to you when you’re looking for a collaborator? 

I’m always looking for the most talented person that would enhance the song. A person that I think would take the songs to different dimensions and levels. People who I love for their music and what they bring to music. That’s why you have a range from Jonathan McReynolds, who’s an incredible vocalist and gospel singer, to Leikeli47, who I appreciate a lot. There’s also BJ the Chicago Kid, who is very soulful and gifted. These are all people that bring the best out of me, creatively. They take music to other places.

You’ve been around for almost 30 years now. One of your biggest highlights must have been winning an Academy Award. In what way did that affect you as an artist? 

It made me see that I have more to do. I was given this platform and I was like “man, you’ve got to do more to help people!” I felt like that was already something that I was doing. I was already participating in different activism acts. I had my foundation and all that. But winning the Academy Award was like they were giving me a gift and they were telling me “I’m giving you access and now you have to go out and do greater things with it”. There’s a paragraph in the Bible about a man who was given talents and you have to go out and multiply them. For me, winning an Oscar meant I’ve got more work to do. I’ve got to get better and achieve more. Not only as a social activist and as a person, but even as an artist myself. I could do more.


As a public figure, you often use your platform to bring awareness to certain topics. Why is it important to you to talk about those things? 

First of all, I’m using my voice for those who are not being heard. I’m using my voice for that reason, for one instance. The other aspect of it is, how can I spread information in a way that will activate people and have people go out and take charge of themselves, of their lives or of their communities. Music is a powerful medium to get people to go out. Recently, I’ve been going back to some older music that influenced me. I was like, man that music really influenced and empowered me! I made this new album so people could reflect on things and look within themselves. I don’t have all the answers. I just have some experiences that I’ve been through. I have a truth that is mine that I wanna share with people. Within that, I think people can find things that can heel them and improve them. Each person improving themselves is a help to the world. We don’t all have to be public figures to make an impact.

You’re currently on tour and you’re coming to Europe very soon. What can we expect from the show? 

The show is an experience. It’s a combination of music and theatre. It’s live performances. I created it with a theatre director, two writers and myself. We just made a show that would give people something that they never experienced before in music or hip hop. It’s a lot of fun!

Thank you so much for your time, Common! We’re coming to the show in Belgium so we’ll see you there. 

Common will be performing at the Vooruit in Ghent, Belgium on the 19th of September. Tickets for his show are still available! The new album Let Love is out now on all streaming platforms. 

Photos by Durimel

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