He built his name during the heyday of 90s R&B. Soaked in soul with gospel-rooted vocals, SisQo (born, Mark Andrews) rose to recognition as part of the legendary Dru Hill—an R&B group which he helped to form as a teen in Baltimore. Often cited as a nuanced cross between Jodeci and Boyz II Men—and influenced by idols Michael Jackson and Prince—the group’s slew of hits and energetic stage performance captivated a loyal following.
As shifts occurred within the group, SisQo launched a solo career and exploded onto the scene in the new millennium: over 30 million records sold; 20 award nominations; and a 2000 Billboard Music Award sweep. He released two-thirds of his album trilogy—Unleash the Dragon (1999) and Return of the Dragon (2001)—before quietly stepping out of the spotlight.
Now, newly signed to Massenburg Media—music pioneer Kedar Massenburg’s latest venture—SisQo is finally ready to bless fans with “Last Dragon”; the long-awaited finale to the Dragon series. Released through Massenburg Media/Dragon Music Group, the album fuses an array of genres to create an unpredictable, yet fluid, sound. His hard-hitting debut single, “A-List” featuring Waka Flocka Flame, serves as more than just a teaser of what to expect from the platinum-haired, platinum-selling artist. It is a depiction of his ability to remain authentically current; seeping less of reinvention, and more of a seamless reintroduction.
It was this versatility that prompted Kedar Massenburg to first take interest. R&B legend, Keith Sweat introduced the pair; and the fit was mutually apparent. SisQo—impressed by Massenburg’s track record for breaking solo artists (D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Chico DeBarge)—accepted the former Motown CEO’s offer to join forces when he decided to return to the industry. The company—whose current roster boasts artists with crossover appeal—gladly welcomed the young veteran.
Perhaps SisQo’s aptitude for relevancy derives from this personal never-ending challenge: distinguishing between what’s popular and what’s music. From his church roots he is blessed with a sense of musicality that can’t be denied; according to his family he’s been a full-fledged church singer since age 2. However, he perpetually attempts to master the art of balancing this truth with an understanding of commerciality. This gift has manifested itself in an interesting way; while spawning some of his greatest hits, it has simultaneously furthered misconceptions of the genre he represents. Because of this, SisQo’s diverse fan base spans in age and culture as he is categorized as everything from a pop star to a hip hop artist. “Thong Song” even received a 2000 MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip Hop Video.
He is reflective in regards to his journey; one which started almost 20 years ago. Over the course of his career, SisQo has both borrowed and created; and he is not ashamed of that admission. In recognizing his influences, he is also aware of his immense impact. Raw talent aside, SisQo’s allure has always extended far beyond his craft. He is an innovative and fearless trendsetter as evidenced in every element of his style, from dyed hair to acrobatic dance; and he welcomes his impression on today’s artists.
There is a quality of fulfillment possessed by SisQo—who over the past decade has raised a family, continued to perform; and has even found time to organize a 2016-slated 20th anniversary Dru Hill reunion. Though his next chapter has only just begun, he seems to have an enhanced perspective and outlook on his career. He recalls a moment in time—around the release of his second album—when his idol, Michael Jackson, flew him out for a meeting. And in a pivotal moment, the King of Pop commented, “I think you’re going to go far.” In that instant, SisQo decided that, publicly, he had nothing more to prove. His return stems from his love of the craft as well as a promise he made to fans: to complete the Dragon trilogy. He considers his latest effort his best work to date.
With a history which speaks for itself, SisQo is present; perhaps now moreso than ever before.
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