chico-11When it comes to successful musical families, only a handful can really claim a place in history.

With the exception of the Jackson Five, who basically faded into obscurity when Michael [Jackson] took off, and even more so when little sister Janet followed in his footsteps, the DeBarge family can actually lay stake to having a string of flourishing singing siblings.

Those who probably didn’t grow up in the DeBarge/Switch era certainly grew up in the era of the DeBarge’s youngest brother, Jonathan “Chico” DeBarge, as he returns with his first studio album in six years simply titled Addiction.

After conquering personal demons, such as overcoming a prescription pill habit, which he acquired from being stabbed back in 2003 outside of a Philadelphia nightclub, the man who comes from a long lineage of talent has finally gotten back into the spotlight to discuss his journey through life and song— so sit back and enjoy the ride…

iHipHop.com: Right now, your latest album, Addiction is out making waves… So did you have anything in particular you want to accomplish with the project?

Chico DeBarge: You know what? I just really wanted to make an announcement of where I’ve been… I wish I could say what Maxwell [Click for album review] said, and say that I took a hiatus… [Laughs]

I was going through something, and I felt like I had to go through it all the way before I released my CD… I wanted to be very honest, and very respectable of my life…

I wanted to have the depth that I knew I have, for better, for worse, or for what it was…

iHipHop.com: So is that why you took a six year break from your last album, which was Free back in 2003 to Addiction? You were basically sorting out person issues?

Chico DeBarge: Yeah… During Free, I got stabbed in Philly, and I was prescribed some prescription medicine, which I got addicted to…

I got over that, and I wanted to put it out there… The music is not about “addiction,” but it’s definitely about what I’ve been through, where I’m at, and here’s the music…

iHipHop.com: When you went back in to make Addiction, did you have any kind of studio rust due to your six year lay off?

Chico DeBarge: Well the thing about it is in those six years, I never stopped recording and I never stopped making music… I made music that whole time; I made hundreds of songs…

I write a song each day still… So really, the studio rust didn’t happen, because I stayed in the studio… For the most part, I guess you can say that I just wasn’t releasing material…

iHipHop.com: Do you think it will be difficult to recapture the fan base you previously built, since you took that long time off?

Chico DeBarge: No, and I think that because what I do is a different from what others do… I feel like I’m blessed to have been in this music industry for so long… So I’m thankful and confident that the Lord will continue to guide my way…

chico-3iHipHop.com: What do you think separates Addiction from all your past projects such as Free, The Game and Long Time No See?

Chico DeBarge: I would say that I matured, and that I went through something different… I went through a different experience, but I still brought “Chico” to the table musically and personally… But the person I am now has a little bit more experience…

iHipHop.com: Speaking of experience, right now your niece [Kristina DeBarge] is out there doing her thing, and making a name for herself… Did you pass on any family words of wisdom?

Chico DeBarge: [Laughing]… I think her daddy is doing a really good job at that… He’s handling that very well, and she’s doing terrific… I’m really proud of her man; she’s holding it down…

iHipHop.com: So when are we going to see that 21st Century DeBarge collaboration between you two?

Chico DeBarge: [Laughs]… I’m thinking about hooking up with her… I love her singing; it’s incredible… People just don’t know how talented she really is…

iHipHop.com: I just want to go back to your hiatus for a little bit… During your layoff, how was your mindset? Did you always have the feeling that you were going to go back in, and make another album?

Chico DeBarge: I always knew I was going to make an album, cause that was really important to me… As far as when I thought it was coming out; that’s something that I had to let the record company decide… [They] named it, and I really didn’t want to do that, I just wanted to let it play out…

iHipHop.com: So what does the “Chico DeBarge” of 2009 know that the “Chico DeBarge” of the late 80’s to the early-to-mid 90’s didn’t know about life, art, etc?

Chico DeBarge: I’ve learned to take the bitter with the sweet, and not to change like the change… Because if I change me, then life changes—everything around me… So I think I’ve learned to focus on me… During the beginning, it’s like I was more focused on the world…

iHipHop.com: What’s been the most difficult part of your musical journey?

Chico DeBarge: It’s been a long journey, but I think I’ve gained more ground now spiritually than I ever did… Right now I’m a partner with Kedar Entertainment, and I never had that before… So that’s something that I’m very thankful for…