I think the idea of a love song has changed. Most of the love songs we all loved as kids would be classified as funeral dirges now, you know, really super slow. I think nowadays the ballad has changed. It can have some up-tempo, some drums, some other things. Forever’ would still be considered a ballad, I guess, but the tempo is probably more of a mid-tempo. The content is love song. I don’t know how to write anything else.
In the 1990s, with Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, those really big female artists were very glamorous, it was all about the glamour at that time. And so there was a big switch, the desire to be more who you were, not so beholden to this whole standard of beauty. It was a liberation. You see Mary J Blige – she did the same, wearing the combat boots.
I was walking down the street, and I saw a sewer digger on his lunch hour open his lunch pail, dig out a harmonica, knock out the cracker crumbs, and play a bunch of tunes on it. I was fascinated by that harmonica, so I stared the guy out of it. I just stared at him. He said, Here, kid, take it. Get out of here.’