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Premiere: Tahj Mowry steps into music with ‘Future Funk’

Tahj Mowry has a new album out.

Tahj Mowry has a new album out.

(Nikko LaMere)

Tahj Mowry is ready for a new role.

Acting since early childhood -- he’s perhaps best known for his '90s sitcom “Smart Guy” -- the 29-year-old is hoping to make the transition into music. After years of stalled efforts in an attempt to get his sound right, Mowry is hoping to make a solid play at music stardom with his debut EP, “Future Funk.”

Executive produced by Excel Beats and Mowry, the EP is an amalgam of dance pop, funk, electro and new wave buoyed by Mowry’s falsetto that teeters between smoldering and polished.

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The Times is premiering the EP ahead of its release on Tuesday and chatted with Mowry on finding his sound and making the transition to music.

We’ve essentially watched you grow up on screen. Was there always an ambition for music and when did you decide to start working toward it?

For a while I had wanted to do it professionally. But scheduling, age, life, it just didn't work out before. But I felt like this was the right time. I’m on hiatus from TV [Mowry stars on the ABC Family sitcom “Baby Daddy”]. I wanted to finally do this. It’s a passion of mine. I hadn’t really gotten that chance yet and when I did it just didn't seem natural and it didn't seem like me. With this project I wrote the whole thing, and I co-produced it. Everything is from me. It’s the way I want it. It was finally time for me to get out there and show people.

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Were there challenges, making the transition?

Yeah, it was difficult. Music, for me, is another passion of mine. This is new for me, I didn’t know if I was ready to let people hear it, or if it was right or not. Honestly, if it wasn’t for friends telling me, “The music is great, you should let people hear it,” I don’t know if I would have allowed it to be perfect enough to be released because I'm such a perfectionist. It was kind of scary for me. It’s vulnerable. People only know me from a specific role that they've seen me in. Music is completely different. I don’t know if they will take on to it.

When did everything click together on the project?

I think it was when people were able to tell me exactly why I made the music. Like they were telling me things I wanted to hear from people who care about music. It was like, wow, so maybe I did do it. My whole goal in general was to make something different and unique. I realize that might be good or it might be bad, and maybe it will never be on radio, but I don’t really care. I’m just doing what I wanted to do. I hope people appreciate it. I hope they accept me.

Define “future funk,” the genre you’ve coined and named the EP after.

It’s blending old school and new school together. It’s being different. It’s being futuristic, but giving homage to the people I love. It’s funky, it’s upbeat, it's got swag, it's got its own thing going -- you can’t help but dance to it. It’s very funky at its core. Mixing live instruments with beat pads and drum machines. It’s a mix of sounds that hopefully will create a colorless genre. I’ve always said just because you're black it doesn't mean you have to do rap or R&B, or because you’re white you have to be pop or alternative. Music is music.

For more music news follow me on Twitter: @gerrickkennedy

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