Colby O’Donis Interview
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Signed to Akon’s Konvict Muzik for the past two years and counting, singer Colby O’Donis is finally getting his opportunity to shine. Amidst releases from his label boss, and everyone’s favorite feature man, T-Pain, O’Donis has stayed patient and worked long hours on his debut project.
Entitled “Colby O,” the album will feature extensive work with Akon, as well as label mates Da Spokesman and Don’t Talk Much of Rock City. Currently, the New York native is riding high off his successful debut single, “What You Got,” which is currently #3 on the DJBooth R&B Chart.
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth‘s DJ “Z,” Colby steps inside the booth to discuss his plans to teach Akon guitar, why everyone has a “What You Got” person in their lives, and what he has done to separate himself from the talented pack of Konvict artists, who are currently dominating the charts.
Listen to the Interview
Colby O'Donis Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is one of our very own members. Known to many as Akon’s secret weapon, please welcome the newest Konvict Muzik sensation, Colby O’Donis – how you doin’, my friend?
Colby O’Donis: What’s up, man?
DJ Booth: Everybody’s sayin’, “You heard about that new Colby O’Donis kid? He’s pretty hot!”
Colby O’Donis: [laughter] Yeah, man, we workin’ it, we workin’ it.
DJ Booth: Obviously a lot has had to happen in order for you to even be on the phone with me today, so explain how you got discovered by Akon, and the process that you’ve gone through.
Colby O’Donis: Well, pretty much, I met up with Akon about two and a half years ago. I met with him in the studio, we got together, and I played him my demo, and he was really feelin’ it, he was lovin’ the demo. At the time, when I first met Akon, there was a lot of people in the room. It was kind of really hard to vibe the way we wanted to, so he was like, “Yo, I wanna set up another meeting with you, and I wanna vibe and see how we work.” So he set up another studio session for me and we got in the studio. And this was before “Smack That,” and this was before, “I Wanna Love You,” all those records came out. So, we got in the studio again, and we were workin’, and the chemistry was just crazy. And after that he said, “Yo, I got this new label I’m startin’ up soon. It’s called Konvict Muzik. It’s gonna be real big, we’re gonna be partnering up with Interscope Records, and I want you to be one of my acts on the label.” And from there we kinda just ran with it. We were like, “Yeah, let’s do it.” I was down. ‘Cause when you looked at his eyes you could just tell he had that determination that he wasn’t gonna fail. So we were like, “Yeah,” and we ran with it, and the rest is just history in the making, so, we’re workin’ on it.
DJ Booth: Certainly. It’s all led up to your debut single, “What You Got,” featuring bossman Akon. It’s currently in the upper half of our very own top ten R&B chart. It’s getting picked up by radio stations nationwide. You wrapped the video and premiered it not long ago. Colby, describe this whole flurry of activity in one word, if you could.
Colby O’Donis: If I could, like, there is a word I’m looking for – crazy? I dunno, like, amazing. Also exhausting. Those are some of my one words. It’s a lot of work, but at the end, the end result is definitely paying off.
DJ Booth: Without beating around the bush, the song itself is about gold-digging women who think they can manipulate us guys into getting anything that they want. Now, I know Akon wrote and produced the record, but I’m sure you’ve been with a woman or two or three or more whose agenda wasn’t so kosher. So, any particular inspiration on your behalf?
Colby O’Donis: Pretty much on the record, it can be generalized. I think everyone has experienced someone like that, that has everything, but wants more, and keeps talking about everything they got. ‘Cause pretty much the song is about, like you said, that one girl that has everything – pretty much the world is handed to her. And the thing is, she keeps talkin’ about it to everybody, “Oh, I got this, and I’m wearing Gucci shoes, I got this Gucci purse,” and it’s all in plain sight, we can all see it. So, pretty much, it could be generalized for guys and girls, because everyone knows someone that’s always talkin’ about what they got. I think that’s why everyone loves it so much, because everyone can pretty much relate to it. But it’s pretty much like it could be prioritized in that way.
DJ Booth: What is the number one thing that you cannot stand to hear a woman talk about in your presence? And ladies, if you’re listening, you might want to start taking notes now; Colby’s about to speak.
Colby O’Donis: [laughter]
DJ Booth: So what is one thing that, if they start, they need to stop?
Colby O’Donis: To me, it’s not really anything in general, it’s just more… I’m a very positive kind of person, and I like to look at life very positively, so it kinda kills me when people talk negative about things all the time. ‘Cause I have friends that are always so negative about everything, and it just kills me, ‘cause life is too short to be so negative. So, I’m a very positive person; I look at everything in a positive light. Of course I look at the negative ends, too, but those kind of things I keep to myself.
DJ Booth: Sure, definitely. Well, Colby O’Donis is a glass-half-full kinda guy.
Colby O’Donis: [laughter]
DJ Booth: I know that you’re only a few feet into the industry, kinda making your mark right now. Does the prospect of having to make sense of a woman’s true intentions – you know, because you are on the cusp of wealth and fame – scare you away from future commitment?
Colby O’Donis: Oh, yeah, yeah. I mean, it gets hard. It’s cool, though. It’s just starting for me, and I’m already starting to experience it a little bit. I get nervous – I’m like, “Man, if it’s like this now…” But, the personality is really key to me. I can’t always tell who’s legit or not, but if I’m happy, I’m good. ‘Cause I’m single right now, and I know eventually I’m gonna meet someone. And I am lookin’ – I’m always lookin’, ‘cause you never know when you’re gonna meet that special lady. I hope I find that girl that I can really care about, and that really cares about me and to me money is cool but it’s not the most important thing in life. I’m talkin’ about, when it comes to relationships, objects aren’t either. ‘Causes there’s a lot of people that, they don’t have the millions of dollars, and they don’t have the fifty million dollar mansions like P. Diddy, or they don’t have the twenty-seven-room houses or the fifty cars, but they’re still happy, very happy, ‘cause there’s a lot of rich, rich people that are not happy.
DJ Booth: Well, money might make the world go round, but it seems like you, right now, in this place, are pretty damn happy with where you’re at.
Colby O’Donis: Yeah, I’m doin’ pretty good. I’m happy right now, and it’s only the beginning for me. I was just on the phone with Akon the other day, we were talkin’ about some plans, and I can say this right now: this is only the beginning. We’re holdin’ back right now; we’re not givin’ everyone everything yet.
DJ Booth: Well, everyone can’t wait to hear them. Let’s talk about your relationship with Akon. On the new single, he does not steal the spotlight from you, unlike a lot of collaborations that he has done with a plethora of other artists. What has it been like working with a man of his musical genius?
Colby O’Donis: It’s crazy because, for one, with “What You Got,” the song, we actually did that on a studio bus in Canada. It was on a bus, we were on the road, we were on the highway when we made “What You Got.” He did it in ten minutes, the whole song. Like, literally, he made it so fast I was like, “Wow…” He knocked it out like that. Akon calls me his little prodigy, his secret weapon prodigy, he likes to call me that all the time. He actually teaches me a lot.
DJ Booth: I know that Akon is a genius behind the boards, and I know that, from your music video, you do a little guitar playing. So did you exchange the favor and teach him a little guitar, or did he already know how to play it?
Colby O’Donis: Oh yeah, we teach each other stuff. I’m tryin’ to teach teach him [laughter]. We’ll see what happens; maybe we’ll do a little something on stage one day together.
DJ Booth: Last I spoke with Akon, he was pitching me an idea of how he wanted to purchase a chain of White Castle restaurants in Atlanta, and we were trying to brainstorm how he would go about doing that, ‘cause I guess he got rejected on his first offer. So now I’m going to pitch you a song idea. This is a sequel to “What You Got.” It’s gonna be called, “What You Want.” My last girlfriend, she’s come up with at least one thing every day that she wanted me to get her. I’d hear, “I want you to buy me blank,” “I want you to take me to see blank,” “Let’s go on a vacation to blank.” What do you think? Is this enough inspiration and material for a new song?
Colby O’Donis: It’s funny, ‘cause I have a song called, “What You Want.” [laughter]
DJ Booth: Really? I guess I don’t get to take any credit for it then, ‘cause you came up with it before I pitched the idea.
Colby O’Donis: But it’s different; I’m telling her, “I got what you want from me.”
DJ Booth: Okay.
Colby O’Donis: [singing] I got what you want from me… So that’s how it goes.
DJ Booth: That’s all you’re gonna give me, right, is just that little three second singing clip?
Colby O’Donis: [laughter] Yeah, a little something. It’ll be on the album, you’ll see. The album’s gonna be dope though, I can honestly say that. I was with some Interscope people, playin’ the album for them, and they’re all freaking out, they’re really exciting. The album’s gonna be amazing. ‘Cause it’s definitely got some guitar influences in it. I’ve been playing guitar for the last ten years. It’s gonna be one of the sickest albums, I think.
DJ Booth: Akon, he has a new album dropping this spring. Your labelmates Dolla and Rock City, they both have releases ion the horizon as well. I interviewed Dolla not too long ago. He said he felt like he was the label’s top priority, and it was ditto when I spoke with Rock City. With so many artists on Konvict getting pushed forward, do you have any concerns with the status of when your project will get dropped?
Colby O’Donis: Nah, not even close. Everybody’s got their own little clique. Akon is behind my project, but also I’ve got a great management team, so I think that’s a big key also. People can drop their records, but if they don’t have a good team behind them, it can only make such a noise. And the hustle, man, it’s all about that. ‘Cause we hustle. I’m definitely hustlin’. Honestly, there’s so much going on at Konvict that I think everyone’s gonna get their shot.
DJ Booth: It sounds like it so far. Tentatively, right now, do we have an idea of when your debut will be available to the public?
Colby O’Donis: Akon, what he was talkin about was he wanted to drop my album a month before his, and then me and him go work it together.
DJ Booth: Well, that would be the ideal situation, my friend…
Colby O’Donis: Yeah, so we’re lookin’ at that. But now, ‘cause my record’s been doing so great, Interscope wants to push up my date.
DJ Booth: Tell ‘em it’s a priority, and you gotta get it out; that’s what you gotta do.
Colby O’Donis: Oh yeah!
DJ Booth: Colby, I thank you for taking the time to join me inside the DJ Booth. Give everybody a website or a MySpace page so they can find out more about you.
Colby O’Donis: You can catch me on my MySpace, myspace.com/colbyo.
DJ Booth: Well, Colby, the best of luck to you, and you have a place at DJ Booth any day of the week.
Colby O’Donis: Thank you so much, bro.
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