One on One with B.o.B.

B.o.B. has finally broken out. The artist, also known as Bobby Ray, has hit the platinum mark with his new single, “Nothing On You.” But, more importantly, B.o.B. has been successful in sustaining his career through the years by a stream of quality material. All of this leads him to this moment. His debut album, […]

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B.o.B. has finally broken out. The artist, also known as Bobby Ray, has hit the platinum mark with his new single, “Nothing On You.” But, more importantly, B.o.B. has been successful in sustaining his career through the years by a stream of quality material. All of this leads him to this moment. His debut album, B.o.B. Presents the Adventures of Bobby Ray, hits stores next week and B.o.B. is ready. It is unusual to meet a new artist that speaks with the wisdom of a vet, but the ATL rep does just that. Listening to the song “Don’t Let Me Fail” – it seems like you expressing some insecurity. Do you have a fear of failing?

B.o.B.: Not really. It’s something you can’t let worry you or get into the equation. In the position I’m in, it’s so much to focus on you really don’t even have time to worry or to have any type of fear. You put so much time and energy into it, it’s almost like it’s almost impossible to fail because of the fact that it’s so much of our lives and so many years that we’ve been working–– the whole team. It’s been such a long journey, that’s not even on our radar. Have you been able to shake the Andre 3000 Comparisons? –

B.o.B.: I guess not. You know what though – when people ask me that, they just ask me if I still get the attention. Because I get asked that question, I feel like I do because I get the attention. It’s kinda like I feel as the music is growing and develops, people are starting to be able to tell the difference themselves in the style and the sound. Your new single “Nothing on You” recently went platinum. How does that feel?

B.o.B.: That was crazy news. That was like the first news that I heard that made reality set in. First you hear “added to such and such.” A week later you hear the spins went up like 500 spins. Then next thing you hear the song is #2 on iTunes. It’s like you see it unfolding and then its like “it went platinum – you just sold 1,000,000 singles!!!” That’s when it’s crazy – when it’s like you realize how much the song is out there. My bass player is from Japan and he just told me it’s very popular and people know the song out there – and even his mom knows about it. How did you figure Bruno Mars would be a good collaboration for that song?

B.o.B.: Originally when I heard the song idea it was his voice on it. It was like I gotta keep that – I gotta keep him on there. And I feel like the words that he said just put everything in a nutshell – and credit [is due] because he never used the word – in the whole song – no word about boyfriend, girlfriend, relationship. The words aren’t there so it’s kinda like it’s self -expression – like I know you feel where I’m coming from. I feel like it was a good collaboration. He has this song with Travis McCoy: “Billionaire”. It’s good to see that he is capitalizing off of the attention and not just one of them people that pop up. Who would you like to work with in the future?

B.o.B.: I would work with M.I.A. and I would do something with Danger Mouse. Why do you think many of the newer generation seem to lack the star power that was readily put out in the 80s and 90s???

B.o.B.: All of that is artist development. The industry got into a habit where they just throw them out like a vending machine – there is no artist development. A lot of them are basically fly by night stuff. Back then during the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, the band would work on material for weeks before they even recorded a song – and artists were a lot older so naturally as people there were more developed. MJ was on it from a little kid so artist development was there from jump. I do feel like it’s artist development. Now it seems like things just gotta slow down but it’s hard because technology is so instant. Their attention span is so short that they move onto the next one so it’s kinda like a circular relationship. Everything is responsible – the fans, the internet, the music industry, and the artists, so everything is responsible. We gotta evolve collectively to return back to that star power that we used to have back in the 80’s, 70’s, and 60’s.

? Has the ability to touch fans (Twitter/Facebook/Myspace) helped or hurt artists??

B.o.B.: It’s a double edged sword. Because twitter you can connect with the fans instantly, you can tell people where you are, and they know your thoughts and your words instantly. They can always access you at any point they go onto your page. But the bad news is that they can access you at any point in time. The good news is the bad news! So it depends on how you use it. What do you ultimately want to achieve?

B.o.B.: I don’t ever want to get lazy, even with all of the good feedback I get from my music, I don’t want to get lazy. Basically I want to keep growing as an artist and individually. I may get into other things – like possibly movies – but whatever it is I want it to be where I’m at legitimately. I don’t want to just say something to do something. Some people say “I’ma start a restaurant and open a clothing line.” I don’t want to do that just to do it – I want to be led into it. So far I feel like I’ll be doing this music thing for a minute. I haven’t gotten tired of it in the least bit. Frustration is one thing – being in the music industry is a love hate relationship, but that’s life. Life is a love hate relationship. But getting tired of doing it, I don’t see that anytime soon. I’ll be doing this for a minute. How do you continue to grow and stay fresh? Do you play instruments or…

B.o.B.: You gotta stay open and you gotta be selfless. You can’t get too ahead of yourself. You gotta reinvent yourself and be open to your cause and creativity. Sometimes I see artists – cliché story – artist comes out with an album and it’s huge. Every album after that is like, “what happened? Where did the excitement go?” That’s because they fell into the formula. You know with my show – when I perform – we switch up the set list – because if you keep it the same after a while it will be routine. It won’t be actual energy and excitement. It’ll just be routine. So I just gotta be conscious that I never fall into the routine of it. That’s how you stay fresh and exciting. Have you ever considered yourself an emo rapper?

B.o.B.: No, but I definitely can see that because of the soul, because of the emotion that’s in it definitely. I definitely click more – put more of that in there. It’s hard because I listen to a lot of emo rock. So even though I’m rapping, the music, the mood and the tone of voice reflects that in a sense. I feel like Black people started rock; it started with us. It’s totally natural that we gravitate towards it in an essence. When people found out about the song with Hayley Williams of Paramore – a lot of people that got excited were Black people! Black people like rock! Even Lupe –Lupe is a rock star. I’ve done several shows with him. Usually I gotta do interviews and such after the show – and I never really get a chance to soak it up. But I watched the whole show last night. And it was like rock – it was like he’s a rock star but he raps. Just that energy I feel like is something that – just depending on – your roots are – people feel that. Anything you want to share? B.o.B.: You only have one chance to release your first album. I’m just trying to make this the biggest climax ever! Of course I’ma make several albums after this. But this is the first one so there is that specialness about it.