When Cody ChesnuTT released his debut album, "The Headphone Masterpiece," in 2002, he quickly went from unknown to a leader of that era's neo-soul movement.
Among his fans were the Roots, who teamed with ChesnuTT to turn one of his songs into "The Seed 2.0," which remains one of the hip-hop group's biggest hits.
Seemingly on his way to stardom, ChesnuTT pulled back.
During the last 10 years, he released a few songs and an EP, but mostly stayed out of sight.
Now, he's back with a new album, "Landing on a Hundred," a slice of classic gospel-influenced soul that was recorded in the studio where Al Green and Ike & Tina Turner once worked.
amNewYork spoke with ChesnuTT via email.
What have you been doing for the last decade? I've been living life as a family man, really taking time for life outside of music. I read books, both spiritual and secular, attempting to gain a bit more knowledge of how things and social constructs have become what they are.
Was it hard to walk away when you did? Not really! The hardest thing to deal with was how my decision affected the lives of those that were on my team.
Do you feel like you have to prove yourself all over again after being away for so long? Not at all. And to who? The recording of "The Headphone Masterpiece" relieved me of that burden. The only thing I'm interested in proving is that a good heartfelt song will ALWAYS break through.
Do you plan to be a more active musician now or might it be another 10 years until your next album? I didn't plan on this one taking 10 years, it just turned out that way. I move when the song says move.
If you go: Cody ChesnuTT is at Mercury Lounge on Friday at 7:30 p.m., 217 E. Houston St., 212-260-4700, $17.