Artist Growth

With A New Single, The Official 4pm Is Back, Singing Their Music, Their Way

With a new single, “Some of the Time,” coming out on December 16, The Official 4pm is back, with three of the original four members doing what they always wanted to do, singing their own music and doing it their way.

“Some of the Time,” an R&B/soul number about the ups and downs of couples, features the voices and harmonies of Roberto Pena Jr., his brother Reney “Ray” Pena, and Larry McFarland, who first got together in 1991 with Martiz “Marty” Ware in an acapella group called IV Real.

They became 4pm – For Positive Music – when they got their first record contract in 1994.

“We’re based around the premise of positive music, but it doesn't mean that every song is peaches and cream,” said Ray. “‘Some of the Time’  talks about the ups and downs of relationships. We're talking about I love you some of the time, but sometimes I can't stand you. That's really what the song is about.”

“Some of the Time” is set for release on December 16, a week before they will drop a seven-track EP called “Some of the Time: In the Club.” That EP will have the release version of “Some of the Time” plus an Afro-Latino version, a house version, and, said Ray, “a sort of urban mix of the same song.” It will also have radio and extended versions of all the remixes.

In the same way that the “for positive music” reference in their name doesn’t limit the themes of their songs, The Official 4pm, listed in various places as R&B/soul, does not limit itself to R&B and soul.

“R&B has expanded into a lot of different subgenres,” said Ray. “We still fit into the R&B-slash-soul category, but you're gonna see as we start releasing these tracks that we cross over into pop, we cross over into reggae, we cross over into Latin music, and there's a lot of influence from all of those genres mixed in.”

What the 4pm refers to, said Roberto, is “to identify ourselves as a group that was going to sing songs and entertain people without degrading women or promoting the use of drugs and alcohol.”

“And no profanity,” added Larry.

That doesn’t mean their songs aren’t from real life.

“Like Ray was saying, we want to talk about real life stories,” said Larry. “We don't want to make up something and be like, ‘Oh, wait, what are you talking about?’ We try to tell stories that are real.”

Ray, Roberto and Larry are becoming active again after many years. They are not, as Ray said, getting back together because they never split up. Marty is doing other things and is not part of the current project, but the three members are still in touch with him.

It is, in fact, a reawakening of the dream they once had, back when they were 20-somethings in 1994, excited and hopeful after getting their first contract. But the career they anticipated did not happen, lost in a music industry that did not allow them control over what they sang and where they went. They were not allowed to present much of their own music.

“My hope for this first single and the first LP,” said Roberto, “is that people open their arms and open their ears. We still have the love for music even though we haven’t been in the scene for a while, and all the songs that they're gonna hear are songs that we've written over the years. The music never left us.”

“We are songwriters, too,” said Larry. “But when we first came out, people really didn't get a chance to hear all the songs that we had, because those songs weren't released. They only released the covers. Now they’ll get a chance to hear songs that we wrote.”

“It's crazy to see how the internet has changed the game,” said Ray. “ It has changed the industry so much that it allowed us to put this music out independently. This is all coming out on our very own label — The Official 4pm Records.”

Ray also pointed out another difference between the dream then and the dream now.

“We’re 50-plus, all of us, and our children are part of this process.”

His son, Rico, is overseeing the operational side, and his daughter Sierra is the group’s web designer and artist. Roberto’s son, Roberto III, manages the group’s online presence and social media.

This time, win, lose or draw, The Official 4pm will work their dream their way, with their music.

During Covid time, Roberto spent 15 days in an ICU on oxygen therapy. At the end of that, he said, he thought, “Okay, now that life is coming back, are we going to just let life control us or are we going to take life by the by the horns and go for it.”

He continued, “So I think we all each individually felt that same enthusiasm, that same drive where you say, ‘Look, life is too short. Let's just do this. Let's do this now, and let's go in for a hundred percent.’”

Stay connected to The Official 4pm on all platforms for new music, videos, and social posts.


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