With the release of his second single Hearsay lifted from his sixth studio album I Am Calvin, Soul Singer Calvin Richardson speaks with MiddleChild Promotions about his latest project, how he feels about being underrated and what the world can expect from him next!
RoJay: We have this new album out and of course it is not your first project, but I know you took extra special care of this one. How do things feel for you right now at this stage of the game?
Calvin Richardson: To be honest with you, it’s a good feeling. It’s a good space to be in. I’m excited about this album. A lot of good things are happening around it. Ya know?
RoJay: We’ll discuss the single shortly, but I know as far as the project overall you kept it real tight. You wanted it to be consistent. How important was that for you on this project? Is this a lesson you kind of learned with the previous efforts or was it just something you specifically wanted to cater to for this album?
Calvin Richardson: The producers that I was able to work with on this particular project… Demont [Posey]. He did a majority of the project. You know he has worked on every album that Eric [Benet] has done so far. They had a lot of success together and I love his work. I felt like we could have done it with just him, but Jonathan [Richmond] is a very reputable producer as well. Their sounds complimented one another and I just wanted to keep it as cohesive as possible.
RoJay: I know you have a very loyal following. What do you feel your hardcore fans are going to take away from this project as an experience?
Calvin Richardson: I think it will be another feather in my cap when it comes to them [my fans]. I try to stay consistent to my sound and the things that I sing and write about that built me this hardcore fan base that I have. It’s almost like a cult following that I’ve been able to build over these years. So I always stay true to who I am no matter who I work with or what album it may be. The sounds may change a little bit based on producers if I work outside of myself, but you have the things that are gonna stay consistent which are my messages and the substance in the songs.
RoJay: I feel you. Now let’s talk about R&B in general because there will always be this ‘class’ of artists that fans feel are underrated or go unnoticed because they may not have that huge push through mainstream like some of these others. You know that they are consistent and talented and people love everything about them, but they just don’t get that LOVE from the world as they do the following they have built. What is your take on that? Do you feel comfortable being in that underrated class?
Calvin Richardson: You know what man? I am happy that people recognize that I have been in that class where people do under rate the quality of music that I do or the type of music that I do, but at the same time I try not to think about it too much. I just try to stay focused on what it is that I do and not get caught up in the wishing it was more mainstream or that more people knew about it. Just continue to build one person at a time. Not everybody knows about it, but that’s an opportunity for them to discover what it is that I do.
RoJay: Gotcha. Well the album title alone screams volumes. If there was someone not familiar with Calvin Richardson, what three words would you use to describe yourself as an artist?
Calvin Richardson: Can I use four words?
RoJay: Go for it.
Calvin Richardson: I have to do it. I’m The Prince Of Soul Music. That’s who I am, man. Soul Music.. that’s who I am. I am Soul Music. So whatever they think Soul Music is… that’s who I am. That’s what I love to do. It’s music that makes you feel something. If you don’t wanna feel nothing don’t listen to Calvin Richardson.
RoJay: With that being said, which song on the album do you feel you were the most transparent on? Which song were you the most open and vulnerable on?
Calvin Richardson: I think the one that I was most vulnerable on and the one I was most transparent on was ‘Before This Moment Leaves’. That’s the very first song that is on my album. So I opened the album up like that just to let them know that I’m not in a shell. I’m that guy and I can open up. I am comfortable enough with my sensibilities and my insecurities. Everything man. I don’t mind putting it out there so that people can know that I’m real with it!
RoJay: I feel that is a very important characteristic to have as an artist. I know the music artists before would pour their heart and soul into a record, whereas today it’s kind of all superficial. Do you feel that most music artists today are afraid to be vulnerable?
Calvin Richardson: I think so man. It’s very rare that you see people that wanna show their vulnerable side. They let their ego… they want people to look at them a certain way. If it’s a man they wanna be very masculine. If it’s a woman they wanna be very sexy and strong. No one wants to show their vulnerable side and that’s an important make up of people. You can’t just be strong all the time. I mean even Samson had a weakness. To put that on display I think shows that real human element. There are people that are in denial and they present themselves as if it don’t exist, but it does. Like I said, that’s the thing that makes you the most human. Being in touch with your vulnerable side and not only being in touch with it, but putting it on display.
RoJay: Now back in the day we had these publications where we had to wait until they came to print to find out what was going on in life with our favorite artists… Word Up, Fresh, etc… and today consumers are more immediate and depend on the likes of social media to see what is taking place. The industry has changed with each of your album eras. How have you been able to transition with the times and stay authentic? Has social media been a blessing or a curse for you?
Calvin Richardson: I mean it’s definitely a blessing. There is no getting around it. That’s where the world comes together. If you can omit that side then you can omit that side, but there is no getting around it. That’s just the way of the world. I’ve used it to my advantage as much as I possibly can. I’m from the old school so I gotta be honest, man. I don’t do the social as much as I probably should, but I still do it because I know it’s a factor. With the click of a button you’re around the world. Everybody is watching you at the same time and everything is real time and you go there to see what’s going on with everybody. If you’re not there then you’re not there. Know what I mean?
RoJay: I do. Well we know how the hardcore Calvin fans are going to feel, but what do you want the new fans of Calvin to experience with this new album?
Calvin Richardson: What I would like them to pay the most attention to is the lyrical content and the messages that are in the music. It’s good positive vibes and it’s about love and life. It’s something that touches everybody at the same time. Whatever I’ve been through, somebody else is going to go through and whatever they’ve been through I’ll go through it. I try and be a good leader and a person that’s a representative of positive things in life.
RoJay: What else can we expect from you in 2015? What’s next for Calvin Richardson?
Calvin Richardson: I just did The Trumpet Awards. I had a joint that was in ‘Empire’. One of the hottest TV shows that is out there right now. I just did Love and Hip Hop New York a couple of weeks ago and there are a lot of things just falling back to back. I’ve got a script that’s been sent my way and they are looking for me to read it over and sign up for it. My lawyer has it right now so hopefully a movie will be in my future. I’ve done some good things, but I just want to take it to the next level. I don’t know what the next thing is, but just keep on looking. Keep on watching and see what pops out next. It’s definitely gonna be something.
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