Bobby V Interview
|Label:||Blue Kolla Dreams|
|Next Project:||Come With Me EP|
|Twitter:||Bobby V on Twitter|
|Website:||Bobby V's Website|
With hits like “Slow Down,” “Tell Me,” and “Anonymous,” singer Bobby V became a household name over the past three years. This past Wednesday, however, in an exclusive interview with DJBooth, V revealed his trek toward continued success will now be taken independently.
Frustrated with the politics at his former label home of Disturbing tha Peace/Def Jam, Bobby V has amicably walked away in search of a better situation. The news of Bobby V’s exit comes just three weeks before the release of his new EP, “Come With Me,” and several months before the planned release of his third studio album, “Underground Love.”
Sitting down with DJBooth’s DJ “Z,” Bobby V explains why the move was made and what it will mean for his future recording career, what fans can expect from his upcoming spring and fall releases, and how he plans to lead R&B music into the digital age.
Listen to the Interview
Bobby V Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on y’all? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a singer who is asking his fans to “Come With Me,” - him, not me – On April 29th. Please welcome DTP resident crooner, Bobby V – how you doin’?
Bobby V: Yes, yes, yes. Bobby V, in the building with DJ Z.
DJ Booth: Thank you for joinin’ me inside the DJ Booth, my man.
Bobby V: It’s all good; thank you for havin’ me.
DJ Booth: Anytime. Bobby, last we spoke, it was prior to the release of your last album, “Special Occasion,” and you told me the album would succeed as long as you worked real hard. I have no doubt that you did, in fact, work real, real hard, but, as we both know, the album sales-wise did not come anywhere close to your expectations. Do you feel you were a victim of the industry, or is there blame to be thrown around for it?
Bobby V: I mean, you can always throw excuses around, but I feel like it don’t do nothing for you. It never solves the situation. The album did what it did, it still went gold, five hundred thousand copies worldwide, ‘cause I have a big overseas following. I wish it could’ve did better, but as long as I know that the content and the music is good, and people come up to me every day and say, “I love your music,” I’m good. I don’t care if I sell one album – as long as I’m touchin’ people out there, and they’re comin’ up to me and sayin’, “I love your music,” and “Your music has brought me through something,” that’s what matters to me, not sales.
DJ Booth: Well, you’re certainly transitioning right now. I read on your MySpace blog, you wrote, “I really believe that independent music and Internet retail are the future of the music industry.” And with the release of “Come With Me,” the future basically becomes the present right now. So go ahead and explain what went into your decision to do this side project.
Bobby V: Well, a lot of people don’t know, but I’m gonna put it out there right now. You’re hearin’ it first: I’m no longer with Disturbing Tha Peace or Def Jam. I’m kinda out there on my own, independent right now. So it was a good situation, how I’ve been with DTP and Def Jam for three years, wrote a lot of records, made a little money, but most of all it was a learning experience for me. I learned a lot, but everybody at DTP and Def Jam gave me the opportunity to kinda step out on faith and do my own thing. So that’s my goal right now, is kinda trying to do my own thing. I went to college, I have a college degree, so I’m really tryin’ to put all of that into effect. I’m really tryin’ to be a businessman as well as an artist. I always learned growin’ up that this is not the music business, this is the business of music, you know? I’m really just tryin’ to step up my game business-wise, start my own label, and this EP that I’m comin’ out with, ‘Come With Me,” it really is for my fans, my true fans out there, that’s always blogging, that’s always on my MySpace, that’s always searchin’ Bobby V, because I feel like there’s not a lot of good music out there.
DJ Booth: I can hear in your voice that you’re definitely excited about the project, and I agree with you wholeheartedly: there isn’t a lot of good music out right now. Was the decision to leave DTP yours, theirs, or somewhere in between?
Bobby V: It was totally my decision. I sat down with Ludacris, I sat down with Shaka Zulu, and I just kinda explained to them that it was just time for me to step out and venture out on my own, start my own Disturbing tha Peace. And they were cool with it – there’s no problem, there’s no beef, I still talk to ‘em. I was with them last night at the club, as a matter of fact, out here in Atlanta. So it’s all good. I’m just doin’ my thing, just grindin’.
DJ Booth: Did the release of this upcoming EP push you towards this breakup, or was it happening for quite some time now?
Bobby V: It was happening for quite some time. Like I said, I’m always recording, always. I have hundreds of songs. And my producing partner, his name is Bill Jabar, we always just collaborate in our spare time. So the songs that we usually do don’t usually make the album. It’s not because of the content, but because of all the politics, with makin’ the album. On my last album, I worked with a lot of big producers like Rodney Jerkins, Bryan-Michael Cox, I worked with Timbaland, Tim & Bob, of course. The things that I do, they don’t really make the cut, and, like I said, it’s not ‘cause it’s not hot, but it’s a lot of politics. And I just wanted to put this out there, ‘cause a lot of my fans, when I go on my website, they’re like, “Man, I wanna hear something new from you. What you got new?” So this is just an appetizer. I’m still comin’ out with a full album at the end of the summer; it’s called, “Underground Love,” but this is just kind of an appetizer.
DJ Booth: Okay. So the new project, the EP, it’s co-produced by yourself and Bill Jabar. Of course you just mentioned, most of the material that the majority of the public has heard was produced by Tim & Bob, and some of the other big names. What was the difference in approach this time around, with the EP as opposed to when you had to do more of a formulaic layering of tracks?
Bobby V: It’s cool, because it’s just free. It’s free and there’s no politics involved; it’s just like, “Do what you want to do.” And I think that’s what puts a lot of tension and stress on the music industry right now, because it’s full of politics. This EP that I’m releasin’, this is me. And there’s not any politics in it; it’s just strictly for the fans. It’s just something I’m doin’ for the people that support me, because if it wasn’t for the fans, then I wouldn’t be Bobby V. If I didn’t have the people that come to my shows, that buy my albums, and that continue to support me, then who would I be? I’d be a nobody.
DJ Booth: The title, “Come With Me,” obviously you’re going to explain to everybody through listening what that’s all about, but since we’re on the phone right now, go ahead and elaborate where you will be taking your listeners. What journey will they be embarking on?
Bobby V: Man, they’re going on a true Bobby V experience. I feel like this is an experience they haven’t been on before, ‘cause this is all me – this is produced by me, this is written by me – so you’re really findin’ out what I be on when I’m in the studio. I kinda zone out, and I kinda just go to another world. And that’s what I feel like music is supposed to do for you: if you’re havin’ a bad day, and you need to take your mind to the Bahamas, you can put on one of these tracks on “Come With Me,” and we’re gonna go to the Bahamas. If you’re havin’ a great day, and you need to go to the club, but you can’t really get there ‘cause your pockets are short right now, you can put on one of the Bobby V tracks, and we gonna go to the club, and we’re gonna enjoy ourselves through this music. So I’m just sayin’, “Come with me on the journey,” and it’s gonna be a good experience.
DJ Booth: Are there a certain amount of digital copies that need to be sold in order for you to deem this project either a success or a failure?
Bobby V: I would love to sell millions of digital copies. I’m tellin’ everybody to go out there and just click online, get you a copy. But as long as people come to me, when I’m in the airport, when I’m out in the street, at my shows, and they’re singin’ my songs and enjoyin’ the music, that gives me the fulfillment, right there. That way you tap me on the heart right there, and tellin’ me that I need to keep doin’ this, and that I’m headed in the right direction with my career. ‘Cause I feel like I’m not an artist who’s doing music for today. I want to do music, I wanna make a career out of this music. Like Ron Isley, he’s made a career out of music. R. Kelly, he’s made a career out of music. A lot of the artists that come out today, here today, gone tomorrow.
DJ Booth: You mentioned some of the greats. Obviously another great is Marvin Gaye, and I noticed that you have a track, possibly making the EP, called “What’s Going On.” Is that a spin-off of the classic Marvin Gaye song of the same title?
Bobby V: Yeah, it is, it really is. It’s a song that really talks about what’s going on in the world today. I was just in the studio, and I was watchin’ CNN, and it just touched my heart to write a song about the things that’s goin’ on, and it was definitely a spin-off of Marvin Gaye’s classic record, “What’s Going On.” I’m just talking about a lot of the things that’s happening in the world today, that people aren’t talkin’ about. I feel like a lot of artists really are not talkin’ about the issues.
DJ Booth: Do you feel like artists are afraid to talk about the issues, or do you feel that artists who are signed to major labels have to make material that falls within the realm of what’s acceptable for a radio single?
Bobby V: Man, you just answered the question better than I could answer. I mean, that is it. When you’re puttin’ out an album, you’ve gotta make a song for radio. But to me, I feel like a hit is a hit, whether it’s a slow song, whether it’s a fast song, whether it’s a mid-tempo – if it’s a hit record, it’s a hit record. But a lot of people get caught up in trying to follow the trends, instead of setting the trends. I consider myself a trend-setter. I don’t want to just follow the trends. Right now, if some kind of music is in, I don’t wanna just try to make that certain kind of music so I can fit in with everything else. I like to do something out of the box, something that’s a little bit different. And I think that’s what makes music classic: when you do stuff that’s out of the norm, that makes it classic.
DJ Booth: Bobby, I know that you consider yourself a definition of real R&B. What makes you do real R&B the way you like to do it, other than the fact that now you’re indie, and furthermore, do you feel like there are successful competitors, that you’ve been in the marketplace with, that lack that same realness?
Bobby V: I feel like real R&B is just when you go in the studio, and you do a song, and you don’t have to do five or six or seven or eight or nine takes. I’ve been in the studio sometimes, with certain producers, or with other artists, and they’ll be like, “Hey, let me get that one more time, let me do it over one more time, let me do it over one more time,” because what they’re seeking is perfection with their voice. But I feel like the difference is, back in the day when Marvin Gaye did stuff, even if you don’t hear the note perfectly, it comes across in the music as that vibe – it captures the moment, you know what I’m sayin’? It’s like the difference between a play and a movie: movies are pretty much perfect because they edit it, but plays sometimes are a little bit better than movies, because it’s a vibe when the actor’s on stage, and that’s what I feel like real R&B is.
DJ Booth: Well, real R&B will certainly be heard on the upcoming EP, “Come With Me,” but that’s not going to be your only release of the calender year. Like you mentioned, you also have a new studio album, “Underground Love.” Describe the primary difference between these two projects, and, tentatively, when we can expect the LP to be available.
Bobby V: Okay, the LP’s gonna be available probably August or early September, at the end of the summer. I got my first single right now, it’s called, “Your Smile,” featuring Lil’ Wayne. It’s crazy, buzzin’ all over the Internet, a lot of radio stations have already started to play it. And I went for real on this album. I’m gettin’ it in on this one. I’m goin’ in with the big dogs, but I’m still collaborating with them, I’m still writing with them, and still having my input and my thoughts on the music.
DJ Booth: Well, obviously at this point in your career you’re definitely taking a large step forward. If you see the success on the indie level that I think you know is possible, do you see yourself ever going back to a major label, or would you be comfortable with just sticking with the independent scene?
Bobby V: Who knows, man? It’s really up in the air right now. A lot of major labels are hollerin’ at me, I got a lot of situations on the table. My management and my lawyers, they’re negotiating day in and day out. So really, I’m just lookin’ for the best situation, the best support system, and where I can just kind of do me and be successful, but most of all touch the fans – that’s my number one key objective, is to touch the fans, and keep putting good music out there.
DJ Booth: Okay, well I’ll tell you what: if it comes down to two or three label situations, and you need a second opinion, you call me up, I’ll gladly help you. I won’t take a big cut off your hands; it’ll just be something like fifteen percent. That’s not a lot.
Bobby V: [laughter] All right Z, I’m gonna hold you to that.
DJ Booth: No problem. Go ahead, give everybody a link to your website or your MySpace page so they can find out more about you, and, of course, this upcoming EP, on April 29th, “Come With Me.”
Bobby V: Yep, and that’s a digital EP, strictly for the fans. And you can check me out, go to my myspace.com/bobbyvalentino. You can go to my fansite, bobbyvalentino.com, or you can go to justbobby.com. I’m really just tryin’ to be one of the front-runners of this digital movement, ‘cause everything’s just goin’ digital, man. Everything is on the computer, CDs are kinda becoming obsolete now – like tapes and eight-tracks – so I’m tryin’ to be ahead of the game instead of behind.
DJ Booth: Well, I wish you nothing but the best of luck on what really is a landmark release. I thank you greatly for taking the time to join me inside the DJ Booth, and for all your fans out there, they can check out your new single, as you said, “Your Smile,” also on DJBooth.net. The best of luck, Bobby.
Bobby V: Hey man, I thank you. I appreciate your time.