Starting this week, the Original 7ven (formerly known as the Time) have partnered with Fox Sports Net to showcase their single "#Trendin'" throughout televised regional NBA games, along with highlights and special productions for the next three months.
"We're such huge sports fans, and I can speak for everyone in the group and say basketball is our favorite sport," said James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, producer and keyboardist for the group. "The song has gotten a lot of attention, and we're happy it's going to be used for the NBA."
"Trendin'" is the first single off the Original 7ven's CD "Condensate," which marks the first time the seven Time musicians -- Harris, lead singer Morris Day, bassist Terry Lewis, drummer Jellybean Johnson, keyboardist Monte Moir, percussionist Jerome Benton and guitarist Jesse Johnson -- have recorded together in more than 21 years. It was a 2008 performance at the Grammy Awards, where the band performed its smash hit "Jungle Love" with Rihanna, that they considered returning to the studio.
"We were always talking about recording music because we all hung out, but it wasn't until that performance that we got serious about it," said Harris, who produced hits for Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and Boyz II Men. "It's like when you see an old friend and say you're going to have dinner but never do. In this case, at the Grammys, we set the date and we signed on and we got the album together."
And now the biggest challenge is getting people to understand the name of the band. Prince, who created the band in the 1980s, has refused to allow them to perform using the name "The Time."
"We've heard from people close to Prince that say he loves the new CD and fully supports what we're doing, oh, except for letting us have the name, but we're not mad about that," said Harris, whose group started out touring as Prince's opening act. "So our biggest challenge is getting people to realize we're the same band and we have a new album out."
After appearances on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in October and opening the Soul Train Music Awards in November, the band will start heading east to New York for a media tour, as positive word of mouth has helped push the single and CD up the charts.
"It's like old times with the band, the camaraderie and the arguments, all the things you have with a family," Harris said. "Now we've got to get people to understand our name. It's like some 'Jeopardy!' question: 'Who is the only musical group in history to re-form with all its original members and use a new name?' Answer: Original 7ven."