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Babyface loves how female artists have evolved: “There’s far more independence, confidence”

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Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame

Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds has recorded with a who’s who of female artists, including Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan, and the 12-time Grammy winner loves how female singers have become more sure of themselves over the years.

Earlier this week, he announced his first new solo album in seven years, an all-female project titled Girl’s Night Out. The legendary singer/composer/producer enjoys seeing a positive change in the women he’s working with on the project.

“There’s a clear difference in terms of how women write and what they sing about today,” the singer tells Billboard. “There’s far more independence and confidence that wasn’t necessarily there years ago. That aspect has been great to see and fun to work with.”

Queen Naija, Ari Lennox and Kehlani will be featured on the album, which is set to drop October 29.

Babyface is now celebrating the 25th anniversary of the first film he produced, Soul Food in 1997 starring Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox and Nia Long. The drama about a tight-knit Black family from Chicago also spun off a Showtime series of the same name in 2000.

“The biggest thing about Soul Food back then is that it hit Black culture in a way that went straight to everyone’s heart,” Edmonds recalls. “Everybody could relate to it, connecting it with their own mothers, grandmothers, big sisters.“

Babyface also produced the double Platinum soundtrack featuring Boyz II Men, Usher, Monica, Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, Lil’ Kim, Timbaland, Missy Elliott, OutKast and En Vogue.

“The film and soundtrack does bring back good memories [about family]. And that’s why they will always resonate,” Babyface says. “[The effect] of strong films has a tendency to not really change over time. The crazier things seem to get, the better such films and music feel.”

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