You know the cliché about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel? The saying hasn't been so trite for Ginuwine it's all he's had to go on for a while.
In recent years, he lost his father to suicide and his mother to cancer. In August, his good friend Aaliyah died in a plane crash.
But the singer who's mulling over offers to tour with Mary J. Blige or Jagged Edge said that after living with a cloud over his head, he's finally coming out of the darkness by being inspired by his children and achieving success.
" 'Differences' is the biggest song in my career," he said of his latest single. "It beat 'Pony,' it beat 'So Anxious' and 'None of Ur Friends Business' as far as popularity and spins. So it's a blessing. I'm happy that I'm able to even see it. I'm glad it's finally working out for me."
The love ballad, in which Ginuwine declares that his lover has caused him to change his life around, is #3 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks after peaking at #1 a few weeks ago. The sex symbol attributes much of the song's success to its Hype Williams-directed video.
"Actually, the game plan going into [the shoot] was [to] talk to God," he said of the special effects-heavy clip. "Me and Hype Williams got together, [and] he was like, 'Look man this gotta be heartfelt. People gotta know you mean this.' He was saying, 'The only way they're gonna know you're meaning it is if you close your eyes and you just talk to God.' I was very skeptical about it 'cause I was just [in front of] a green screen all day. I just had to imagine he was just telling me what is gonna be where."
He had to be just as trusting in the hands of Dave Myers on the set of Missy Elliott's "Take Away." One of that video's enhanced additions is a scene where an image of Aaliyah appears on top of water in a well.
"It's very touching," Ginuwine said. "Doing that video, we got teary-eyed and everything. ... It's definitely a tragedy. Only thing I hate, ... I feel so sorry about the way it was. She died on the plane. That's a horrible death. I just can't imagine that, and I ride planes all the time. That's the most horrifying death in the world, and then after that happens the World Trade Center happens with people and them planes."
Through all the craziness, the singer says his biggest source of strength has been his 10-year-old son and 6-month-old daughter.
"There's been a lot of times I wanted to clock out," he said, "but you think about them and everything and you're like, 'Wow.' You would hurt them like your dad hurt you. That's why I named my album The Life, because it's appreciating life and not taking it for granted and living it day by day. It's good to plan, but you just never know."
While Ginuwine has picked up several lessons from his experiences, one matter still has him perplexed which song to go with for his album's third single. He's either going to go with a Timbaland-produced remix of "That's How I Get Down," featuring Bubba Sparxxx and Petey Pablo, "Tribute to a Woman" or "Why Not Me."
"It's a good situation what I'm going through, but we gotta hurry up and pick," he said. "I'm trying to wait to see whatever song is next to hit me."