Co-executive produced by Harrison and Amerie, featuring the explosive first single, "1 Thing," Touch shows off sides of Amerie that fans have been waiting for: More seductive. More self-assured. Able to play the coquette and then, with a knowing smile, rock your world. Open to love and supportive but no man's fool.
"My first album was so well received, " Amerie offers modestly, "and I was really happy about that, but I knew that this time I had much more to say. I wanted to let my fans know who I am; as a woman and an artist. Touch is a lot more multi-faceted and reflects where I am right now. In many ways I feel like a new artist because now I have so much creative control. I have a vision and I knew that I had to carry it out."
The album's sensual title track, produced by Lil' Jon, is undulating, urgent and anchored by exotic instrumentation. Amerie calls it "my femmed out Lil' Jon track because it's got a sweet and sexy vibe but without sacrificing the edginess Jon brings."
As for the album's lyrical content, it's not what people might expect, which is why Amerie went there. "On All I Have ," she confesses, "a lot of people saw me as being this goody goody, which isn't a problem but it's only one aspect of my personality. On this album, I set out to really open myself up and talk about subjects, like sex, that I didn't focus on as much before. Maybe because I'm a little older, I'm ready to express my sexuality. That's why on 'Touch,' the hook is: 'Don't be afraid to touch, I know you think I'm a good girl.' It's the title track because it sets a strong tone."
That commanding message of personal empowerment may also be found on "Not The Only One," produced by former Groove Theory mastermind Bryce Wilson and The Buchanans. Laced with wistful vocals set on top of a irresistible rhythm "Not The Only One" relays some tough talk about men who cheat and the women who know about it. "'Not The Only One' is more assertive," says Amerie. "I don't claim to know everything, but I know more than I did in the past and that's why I didn't want to have any songs that were weak or passive."
Another song dealing with the battle of the sexes is the feisty "Man Up," featuring Amerie's labelmate Nas with production by The Buchanans. "Women don't mind being the shoulder to cry on but we also want a man who can take care of himself and stand strong," Amerie says. "It's definitely a blunt message and a bit different because I've never shown attitude before." How was working with Nasir Jones? "He's great," Amerie admits, "he just did his verse on the spot and was so cool."
Amerie shares her softer side on the slinky "Love With Me'" and the openhearted and vulnerable "Just Like Me," produced by Dre and Vidal.
Speaking to a wide range of emotions and situations was exactly what Amerie and Rich Harrison had in mind when work on Touch began in early 2004. When asked to define their powerhouse creative partnership--they met in 2000 through mutual industry friends)--Amerie replies, "We just fill in each other's blanks and have this great chemistry in the studio. We have very similar visions as to what we think is hot and what we'd like to hear."
That fruitful fission is nowhere more apparent than on "1 Thing" which takes Go Go's funky grooves to new heights. "We used Go Go on the first album and wanted to revisit that DC sound because it's something we grew up with and relate to. Honestly, I think what we've come up with on '1 Thing' is unlike anything else out there."
Following the success of All I Have , Amerie did the unexpected. Rather than rush back into the studio to drop the follow-up, she opted to explore other avenues of expression. Always fascinated by acting, Amerie appeared in the hit comedy "First Daughter" with Katie Holmes and hosted and developed BET's "The Center." "I needed that time away from music in order to grow," she admits. "Sometimes it's best to walk away and then come back."
And come back she has…with a forward thinking, hip shaking soulful album that puts other singers on warning. "At the end of the day," Amerie offers, "the music speaks for itself and even though it's only my second CD, I definitely think that I've established my own lane."