The music industry has many legendary musicians, singers and producers. Maurice Starr definitely falls into the legendary category! He is best known for producing numerous chart-topping hits such as “Candy Girl,” “Is This The End,” “Cool It Now,” “Mr. Telephone Man” and more by New Edition. Additionally, he created one of the biggest selling boy bands of all time, New Kids On The Block, who recently received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 9, 2014. However, his talents far exceed producing. He plays numerous instruments and sings as well. Some of you may even have an album of his! If you don’t, you may have an album by the Jonzun Crew, yes, Maurice was a part of the “crew” who brought us “Pack Jam” and “Space Cowboy” – my favorite. After creating award-winning, star-receiving boy bands, Maurice Starr is at it again pinning this latest group as his final project. He’s recently formed the five member band New Kriation or NK5 which include Angel Santiago, Shawn Lynn II, Shane Lynn, Kaden Parker and my son Blaike Lewis.
OM: Talk to me about your newest project.
MAURICE: NK5 is the latest project I am working on. The names are Ice (Blaike), GQ (Angel), Lil G (Shawn), Lil Red (Shane), and Finesse (Kaden). We put these guys together and their age range is from 7 to 11 like the store 7-11. We thought it would be interesting to put out a group that is younger than any other group I have put out in my entire life. These are the youngest and if I’m going to make a comeback, I’d comeback with a group that people will once again say these are young kids, they look good, sound good, and perform well. We wanted to make sure we keep that nice age and remember they were young when they started.
OM: What inspired you to do this one more time?
MAURICE: I think after my heart surgery and two doctors saying I wouldn’t make it. They didn’t want to operate but I did make it. Come on somebody!
MAURICE: I was able to recover pretty incredibly. I had a full recovery and the sickness is gone. The doctors had me scared where they said he ain’t going to make it anyway. After God woke me up, I said he woke me up for a reason. I wanted to do one more group as part of the potential reason he made me come back. I was working with New Kriation before that but I am really working with them now. The mission has begun and the mission is definitely not to fail. That is not a part of the project so it’s Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. They are all the same plan and that is to win. We’re pretty much ready. We are coming out with a lot of promotions: radio, internet, intermingling with other people that have millions of hits. We will have a good time with this one!
OM: When will NK5’s album be finished and out to the public?
MAURICE: We will put it out the first quarter of 2015. First we will finish the album. Second, we want to make sure they look good singing the album. And third, we want to be well prepared for marketing and promotions.
OM: It takes a lot to have a group with children this young. With this group, do you feel that you have the right mix right now? What is your opinion on who you have and the dedication behind it including the parents?
MAURICE: I think this time is more dedication here than all the other times. When I first kicked it off the parents were quite doubtful. Here is this guy who says he can make our kids famous. I did make them famous and they changed then by saying don’t tell me show me. They were not as supportive. I don’t want to talk about the parents because they were all nice people. This group of parents I know is more supportive than any other one. It makes things work more efficiently, better, and move along a lot faster.
OM: I know that you were recently in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Walk of Fame with New Kids on The Block. Tell me how that felt having your group get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. What was that like?
MAURICE: The original first boy band, so they say, even though New Edition was the first….It felt good; we got together and it felt like old times. We had not been together in about 20 years. I worked with them for the first ten years but it really felt good. Donnie and the rest of the guys wanted me to be a part of the celebration. They flew me out first class, they put me in a very expensive hotel, and they had a car for me 24/7. They took good care of me. I was impressed and I don’t get impressed that easily. They impressed me.
OM: Awesome! Given that my son is with you under your guidance, I certainly hope that someday New Kriation will have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
MAURICE: I don’t see why not.
OM: What kind of music style they’re going to have and who is the target audience?
MAURICE: The target audience is the one that will buy their “everything” because they like you. The merchandise, the music, and some of everything because they are at that age that nobody has – ages 7 to 11. When I came out with NKOTB they had that whole age range and that is what we are about to do again.
OM: What genre would you say they will fall in? If any?
MAURICE: I would say R&B with a little hip hop and pop. A mixture you’ve got a slow songs are rap songs. Like LL Cool J, I mean he could do a nice slow rap song and it sounded good to you. That is pretty much what is going on with these guys and still some R & B flavor in a lot of the songs. We’ve got one with a real interesting beat but I don’t want to say too much about that.
OM: I know that the other groups in the past have done things overseas in other languages. Do you plan to do that with New Kriation?
MAURICE: Absolutely! That is a part of the plan. The plan is to do it more once we get that first lighter flicker the plan is to do it all over the world; absolutely without question.
OM: Let’s talk about Maurice Starr for a minute. We’ve talked about your project but let’s talk about Maurice Starr the person. You’ve mentioned you had a heart issue come about but let’s go back some years and take a look at life before that. When one has a health issue such as that it makes you look at life completely different.
MAURICE: Life before that was a hustle. I used to work 24 hours a day, I mean that. That is what got my heart the way it was from working. My whole thing was while everyone else was sleeping I was working. It takes a lot to get a group famous so I wanted to make sure I did enough so I never slept.
OM: I know that you said it takes a lot to make a group famous. What is truly Maurice Starr’s drive? What really drives you?
MAURICE: I want to be successful at whatever I do I want to be good at it. That is why I almost did not do radio. I was not sure that I would be good at it but wait a minute I said that is not what I do. It is coming along pretty good.
OM: Okay! Let’s explore that for a second. You’ve got a radio show.
MAURICE: Yes, on Sundays!
OM: Starr98.com talk to me about that and some of the guests that you’ve had.
MAURICE: Of course we have had a lot of guests. We’ve had Peabo Bryson, Regina Belle, and the group called Heatwave. I know last week we had Temptations, The Stylistics, The Delfonics, The Spinners, and more.
OM: Let’s talk about the dynamic of the group. Give me a description of each of the kids as you see them right now.
MAURICE: I think all of them come across serious. Even though all do not possess the talent as your son “Ice” or you may call him Blaike. They do not possess his talent but they add to the picture and to the group. Blaike is definitely at this time the superstar and the rest of the group plays their part. I think they will do it well. Eventually the mix will change at some time here or there and the other guys will singing a little bit more but right now they are not ready for that.
OM: I’m going to throw each of the boys’ names out and I want you to give some adjectives that describe them.
MAURICE: Okay…okay you’re good shoot your shot.
OM: Lil Red (Shane).
MAURICE: A good guy; cute.
OM: Lil G (Shawn).
MAURICE: Lil G wants to be great! Professional.
OM: GQ (Angel).
MAURICE: GQ is playful.
OM: ICE (Blaike).
MAURICE: ICE is the man, very intelligent and works hard.
OM: Finesse (Kaden).
MAURICE: Finesse is a Michael Jackson enthusiast.
OM: Imagine this, NK5 has had a successful run and they are performing their final show as NK5. You walk out on the stage to say a final farewell. Tell me what you would say to the fans?
MAURICE: That might be harder than anything. I would probably say thank you for your time and wonderful run and a wonderful time. Once again just thank you and I’m out.
Be sure to look for New Kriation or NK5 in 2015!
To keep up with the group, please LIKE their page on Facebook “New Kriation Fever.”