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Tonex Takes A Deep Breath With O2

  • Andrea R. Williams Entertainment Writer
  • 2002 19 Apr
Tonex Takes A Deep Breath With <I>O2</I>
Tonex (pronounced Toe-Nay) breathes new life into gospel music with O2, his latest project from Verity Records. The eclectic artist draws obvious comparisons to Prince and Michael Jackson, but he follows the beat of a different drummer, bringing a refreshing vibe to the genre.

Known for songs like Personal Jesus and Restoration from his previous CD, Tonex can smoothly run the gamut from the dance club grooves to rap to traditional gospel. And he does it all well. Dare I say, he is ahead of his time.

"I wanted to do an album that showed where I am today," Tonex said about O2. "My last album had a darker vibe to it and this album is bright, happy -- lots of dancing, singing and songs of love; O2 is all about sunrises, not sunsets!"

And a bright and uplifting project it is. The 19-track CD opens with a solemn prologue that flows into the title tune, which deals with negativity in the entertainment industry and the accountability of performers to uphold morality: Get high off of creativity / Flaunt your craft not your sexuality / Artists in this industry have a responsibility / to make songs that inspire human morality.

'Bout A Thang is a head-bobber will get you moving: With all the things going on today / we need a reminder to not walk in fear / to not let stress, people or whatever get us down / there's nothing too hard for God.

Tonex wrote Everything and You for his wife, Yvette, while God Has Not 4Got is for anyone waiting on God.

Although Tonex isn't known for his strong vocals, his voice soars on the ballad Season.

A master at different styles of music, he flaunts his diversity on the hard rock-edged Help! and the moving Inspiration. The message-driven Tumblin, the inspirational gospel-tinged The Beautiful Place and Even U (complete with nice orchestration) are beautifully written. Another O2 jewel, I Have Decided, has a smooth jazz rhythm to it. See You Again, written in response to the passing of a family member, features Tonex's tenor, backed only by other vocals and a piano.

Hats off to Tonex; this project is phenomenal from beginning to end, so breathe in some O2.