By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Bobby Brown says it took him a long time to come out with a new album because he's spent so much time trying to get his life on track.
Now on tour with bandmates New Edition, Brown says he's ready to return to his solo career with the album "Masterpiece," due out June 5.
"It's what I've been through throughout my life, and just trying to heal myself through my music," the 43-year-old singer said in a recent interview.
"Masterpiece" is Brown's first album in 14 years. He was a multiplatinum star with New Edition and later developed his solo career. But his well-documented battle with drugs and his legal woes led to his musical decline. His turbulent marriage to Whitney Houston further eroded his image.
In a recent interview with the "Today" show's Matt Lauer, Brown denied that he got his late ex-wife addicted to drugs. Houston's career was derailed by her drug use, which came to the public's attention during her marriage to Brown. The superstar drowned in February in Beverly Hills, Calif.; her death was complicated by heart disease and cocaine use, according to authorities.
"The Matt Lauer interview was just for me to clear the air about what everyone was feeling about my ex-wife's death," Brown said.
Although he was arrested for DUI in March, Brown insists he has been drug-free for more than seven years. He said his attempt to get his life in order is part of the reason why the album took so long to make.
"When you're working on yourself, you have to really concentrate on working on yourself and it takes a back seat to what you want to do and what I'm gonna do," he said.
Brown says "Masterpiece," which he started working on last year, is "the best album I've done so far.
"But I'm going to do better in the near future," he said. "I just want to get back to what I do, which is entertainment, and this is the start to me getting back to what I want to do."
Brown is engaged to his manager, Alicia Etheridge, with whom he has a young son. He also has other older children, including 19-year-old Bobbi Kristina, his only child with Houston.
Brown said he and Etheridge plan a private wedding, and described his life as content.
"I'm happy right now in my life, I'm comfortable with who I am," he said. "It's just better."
Nekesa Mumbi Moody is the AP's music writer. Follow her at http://www.twitter.com/nekesamumbi
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