Ira Schickman is a bonified ’90s r&b lover, a friend and fan of DeVante Swing , and has been a producer for Chaka Khan for years. Schickman has produced for many of the greats and he’s got some sonic loving that he decided to drop off just in time for Lover’s Day, with a lush rework of Jodeci‘s slow-burning ’95 classic “Love U 4 Life.” Schickman fortifies the bones of the original Swing composition complete with talk-box (taught to him by his mentor, the late great Roger Troutman), ethereal, cascading synthesizers and a tender yet powerful vocal treatment from Yummy Bingham, layered to downright perfection. Put your feet up, light the candles and rock with Ira Schickman and Yummy Bingham’s funky reboot of Jodeci’s “Love U 4 Life” below. Happy Valentine’s Day from Funktional and Okayplayer.
OKP: So how did this cover come about?
Ira: This track was originally slated for another artist for some movie my friend Barry Cole was music supervisor on. I recorded it in my studio about a year or more ago and then a few months back, my goddaughter Yummy stopped by and asked to record on it. I said “no, I don’t think this is going to work for you, it’s the wrong key for your range.” But she was persistent though, saying “come on, let me try!!!!”
What you hear is the result and I feel that she killed it. It is really interesting to a female vocal on this song as well. I couldn’t hear it in my head until she did it, and I love what she did. It should be noted, Yummy is the daughter of Dinky Bingham, former lead singer of the Jamaica Boys, musical genius, and one of my long time brothers in music.
OKP: Talk to us about Jodeci.
Jodecei, man, I am a huge fan of DeVante Swing, and he’s a friend. With the rework, I wanted to really tap into that sound from the era, with the layered vocals, adding talk box to the mix. This is my tribute to that era of music and the genius, DeVante. I finished the mix just in time for Valentine’s Day.
OKP: Where would you say today’s R&B is headed?
THIS, right here! I know this is where R&B is headed. Pretty soon you will hear Chris Brown and everyone else doing the style. We’ve already heard what Mark Ronson has done with Bruno Mars. We’ve heard what Daft Punk and Nile Rogers did on “Get Lucky.” We all know what happened with Robin Thicke and that Marvin Gaye vibe.
Meanwhile we all know Timbaland is in the process of working with Jodeci on a comeback album. Let’s not forget that DeVante discovered Timbaland, and Missy Elliot, whom he signed to Swing Mob. Considering that Mark Ronson was clearly influenced by Roger Troutman, Cameo, and The Time on the Bruno Mars track and then BAM, #1 song, that’s a strong indicator right there. In this case though, I just re-did the song!
Basically to say, we’re always diggin’ back into the creates to find out where we are going in the future.
Ira is currently working on a new group The Nth Power, a cross between Steeley Dan, The Doobie Brothers and the Isly Brothers. —