Bobby V is no stranger to success. He’s had a string of hit records over the years along with Platinum and Gold albums to his credit. Bobby V sat down with Yo! Raps to talk about his old deal at Ludacris’ DTP label and his new deal with eOne Entertainment. He spoke on the lessons he has learned after grinding for years in the industry and how without God being in his life, his success would not be what it is today. Furthermore, Bobby talks about his new single, Mirror (ft. YMCMB’s Lil Wayne), his days at Clark Atlanta University and their 13 to 1 ratio and his preferred studio ambiance which brings out the man that the ladies call, Bobby V.
For starters I’d like to go back to your past. You started out in 1996 with the group Mista and you guys had a huge hit with Blackberry Molasses and your second album with the group was never released, what made you want to go to college instead of continuing to push for a career in music?
It was really my parents who were on me about it because I was still out there chasing the dream and I was still young. When I was with Mista I was like 13 years old and I wanted to go back to high school with all my friends because the always talked about how much fun High School was and I didn’t really want to go to college. I wanted to be in the studio working on my solo career or get the group back together, but my mother was on me about it and my parents said I needed to go and get my education. I was glad too because I went to Clark Atlanta University and that was probably one of my most fun experiences in my whole life because CAU was just an experience of a lifetime. 13 to 1 that’s all I gotta say [laughs].
So you pop back up on the scene in 1994-95 and you put some big numbers on the boards along with some smash hits including Slow Down. What was the difference in the industry from 1996 to 2004 and did the differences affect you and if so how?
It was mainly the difference of being in a group to becoming a solo artist. A group is like a basketball team because you have other people you can pass the ball to. If a mistake happens you can blame somebody else in the group but when you’re solo it’s all on you. That transition made me grow up a lot because I was so young when I was in the group. I was just having fun back then and we didn’t know anything. We were just four young boys out there having fun. When Slow Down came out I knew a lot more about the business side and I was prepared more mentally also.
I noticed that you still work with Tim & Bob who produced songs for Mista. What is the chemistry like when you are working with a producer that you really like to work with?
I’m glad you brought up the Mista situation too because a lot of people don’t know about the second album that never came out. That’s how I met Tim & Bob because we were signed to Organized Noize and they were responsible for Outkast, TLC and Goodie Mobb.
They did our whole first album. On our second album, Tim & bob did half of it and Organized Noise did the other half. Tim & Bob also to me that out of everyone in the group that I had it. They always wanted me to sing lead on all of the tracks that they produced. They coached me and gave me that confidence that I needed to be the leader of the group. When I started working on my solo project with DTP they asked me who I wanted to work with and I said Tim & Bob. I went back and got them because we just had that ultimate chemistry. They have produced Michael Jackson, Boyz II Men and they even produced Sisqo’s The Thong Song. I like them because they are great musicians and they make great music. I just like what feels good.
The game has really changed from my days with Mista in 1994 to 2005. I have been blessed to work with Pharrell, Timbaland and a lot of other great producers. Now, my focus is on these new cats that have a fresh new sound because the game is so viral now and in order to have longevity you have to stay on top of the trends. I don’t follow the trends but I do try to mix some of the trends into what I like to do because you can’t alienate what’s going on but at the same time you just can’t be a follower either.
On your third album you named it Rebirth. Was there something going on in your life why you gave it that title?
It was just personal because I had gotten dropped from Def Jam and I asked DTP to release me. I couldn’t understand why they dropped me because my first album did over a million units and my second album went Gold. It didn’t make sense to me but their thing was that they wanted Luda to focus on DTP being more of a rap label as opposed to R&B.
I went independent after that and I had four or five deals on the table but I turned them all down and I went with EMI and started my own label Blu Kolla Dreams. It was crazy for me so that was like my rebirth. I rolled the dice and said to myself I’m gonna do this on my own.
People were saying I wouldn’t make it without Luda and I even had to change my name during that album because there was a trademark issue with the name Valentino. It was a good look! Lil Wayne and I had Ms. Officer and I had Beep Beep at the same time so it was real good.
I’m a big fan of artists covering other artist’s music to pay homage while the artists are still alive rather that covering their songs when they are gone. I know you covered Rock Wit’Cha by Bobby Brown on your album entitled Fly On The Wall. Do you plan to do more covers and if so what artist and what songs would you like to cover?
That’s my thing! I’m doing a cover every album. I haven’t got to that point on this album yet because I’m only about 60% done with it. I didn’t do a cover on my first album but I did Raphael Saadiq’s Me And You and Bobby Brown’s Rock Wit’Cha. The crazy thing about it is that I did the cover with Raphael. Bobby Brown and I actually performed the song together on The George Lopez Show. I also did As Soon As I Get Home by Babyface on my second album and Babyface was actually in the session with me when I did it. That was big and I never like to cover a song without the artist’s permission because they are the reason the song is a classic.
Do you have a certain element or vibe when you are recording?
It’s all about ambiance for me. My creative juices flow when I have some nice young ladies in the studio and some herbal essences in the air. I don’t like a studio to be real busy I like to keep it sexy.
How did your eOne deal come about and what’s different about this deal from all the other deals that you have had?
I did two albums with EMI for a two album deal. I had more major labels coming at me too but I honestly liked the aggressiveness of eOne. Even though they are independent they still let me know that they weren’t an Interscope or Def Jam but they wanted me to sign and they made sure that I’m a priority. They let me know that they were gonna put in that extra work for me and to me that’s what it’s all about. I’ve been through the big systems before and there’s always a catch 22 situation because you’re with a powerhouse label but if you are not a priority with the powerhouse that’s where the problem is.
I know you attend church on a regular basis. How important is your faith and how does it reflect in your music?
I go to church every Sunday unless I’m on the road. The reason I’m where I’m at today is because of my faith and my family. My mom cooks every Sunday, so my sister and manager, who’s like my brother, nephew and my pops, we all go to eat after church.
I truly believe that if you have faith in God and if you believe in yourself, you can overcome anything. Like the politics of this industry and everything else you can handle. I remember my first tour was on the Scream Tour and mostly everybody except for a couple of those artists aren’t even around anymore. I’ve seen so many people just come and go so for me it’s a blessing to still be here 7-8 years later. I want to make this a career like Ron Isley and Charlie Wilson and those guys. I’d rather make good music and be consistent and do it for a long time as opposed to being hot for 1 or 2 years and then fall off the face of the earth. I want to do this until I’m in my 50’s.
You were quoted as saying, “It’s rough out there and love gets you through some of life’s biggest challenges”. Give me a scenario of how love helped you through a tough situation.
I’ve had some really good ladies and relationships but love in general with relationships has taught me how to be a better person. As crazy as it sounds, if I’m with someone and we breakup it kind of prepares me for the next person I’m with because if I did something wrong in that relationship I don’t wanna treat anybody else like that in a new relationship. I’ve been young and dumb and made some mistakes and I know I can be a better person.
Is there a special lady in your life right now or are you married to music?
That’s it… I’m married to music. I’m grinding. I’m trying to stay afloat. I love the way you do interviews instead of always asking the same questions like who my influences are because they don’t know anything about you. I can talk you all day.
I know you have The Bobby V Foundation. What else are you doing in the community?
I do a lot of speaking engagements. I’m doing one soon with The YMCA. My parents do a lot of stuff for the community. Even things that are not on my calendar I go to and give back.
If you had to leave earth and you had one thing that you could leave being that would leave your mark and legacy on the world to see what would that one thing be?
My hard drive because it has every song I ever made on it. I’ve got over 20 albums on my hard drive. Some are good songs and some are bad songs but if anybody ever gets my hard drive they gon come up! [Laughs]
Now it’s time for Shout Outs where I ask you a group of questions and you hit me with the first thing that comes to mind.
Favorite drink alcoholic or non Alcoholic?
Favorite Sports Team?
Alanta Falcons, Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks.
Favorite sports figure?
Coming To America.
Favorite place to visit?
Anywhere out of the country.
Favorite fashion brand?
Favorite song of all time?
Feenin' by Jodeci.
The artist that made you want to become an artist?
How can the loyal fans of Yo! Raps reach out to Bobby V?
The Twitter is @BobbyV, Facebook is www.facebook.com/bobbyvmusic.
The new album is called Dusk Till Dawn and it will be in stores October 2nd. The new single is called Mirror, featuring Lil Wayne, and it’s crazy! People always say I go away for a few and then when I come back I got that one hot record. I promise ya’ll I’m bout that life with this one.
- By KB Tindal