“Nobody knew that ‘I wanna sex you up’ would be the hit record it became”

In 1991, Colour Me Badd released “I Wanna Sex You Up”, the classic R&B love song that inspired innumerable school disco hook-ups. Ahead of their appearance at Retrofest in Kuala Lumpur on November 1, founding member Kevin ‘KT’ Thornton, who quit the pop music game to become a minister, discusses stardom, blessings from God and meeting Wesley Snipes

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November 13, 2014
“Nobody knew that ‘I wanna sex you up’  would be the hit record it became”

What have you guys been doing since the early 1990s?   

We have primarily been busy being husbands and fathers; raising our families. 

But you’ve been given a chance to roll back the years alongside artists such as Diana King at Retrofest this month. Have you ever been to this part of the world before?

We made a few trips to Malaysia in the early 1990s. I have very fond memories of the gracious reception we received from our fans and we’re looking forward to reconnecting with them all. I’m sure it’s going to be great fun.

What has been the highlight of your career outside of Colour Me Badd?

Aside from raising a family of my own, one of my greatest highlights is ministry. Helping others in a positive and meaningful way is one of the most rewarding and gratifying deeds that we as human beings can experience. 

But what is it like, having a massive hit song? How crazy do things get?  

For a musician, having a hit record is a dream come true. For us to have done it with our first single was a blessing from God. It took us from obscurity to the mainstream, to being household names, in what felt like moments. The early years were extremely memorable and fun but, as with any occupation, there were highs and lows. The highs were amazing and the lows were often devastating. But the key is to stay grounded and to learn from your mistakes. Then you can experience life with no regrets. 

Your song featured on the soundtrack of New Jack City. Did you meet Wesley Snipes?

New Jack City helped to put us on the map. Remember, the internet didn’t really exist back then, so to have a vehicle such as a major motion picture feature our song – that was the best promotion we could have asked for. The response from people who heard our song in the movie forced the record label to release us much sooner than they had anticipated, so it was all good. And yes, we did get to meet Wesley Snipes. He was very kind to us.

How did you come up with the timeless lyric, “I wanna sex you up”?  Well, the song was the brainchild of the producer Elliott Straight aka ‘Dr Freeze’. He saw a prior screening of the movie and was inspired by what he saw in the scene the song was featured in.

Having the word ‘sex’ in the title of a song was actually rather risqué in the early ’90s. A number of radio stations edited the word ‘sex’ out of the song. Were you guys being knowingly provocative?

No. The song was written specifically for the movie.

But you must have known it might help the song get attention.

No matter what anyone says, nobody knew that “I Wanna Sex You Up” would be the hit record it became. Many people that we let hear it before it was released didn’t like it. That’s the nature of the business. 

During your early ’90s heyday, did a lot of ladies let you sex them up?

Oh yeah!

Do you have any advice for all the men out there who are trying to convince a special lady to let them sex her up?

As I have matured as a man, I have come to truly appreciate women for more than just their physical attributes. With that said, women should be treated with delicate care and respect. That will go a long way.

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