At his recent San Diego show with Vicci Martinez, the Team Cee Lo semifinalist from season two of The Voice chatted exclusively with me about his new single, time on the show, and aspirations for the future (hint: they’re not all musical).
How did you start touring with Vicci?
We were both booked to do [a Universal] CityWalk concert in August, then I ran into her at Naia [Kete]’s show, and she was like, “Do you want to sing Cee Lo’s part in ‘Come Along’ at the August show?” Then she texted me the next day and she’s like, ‘What are you doing this month?’ She hit my manager up and that’s it. We’re on our fifth date [and] they’ve been amazing. We’ve had great shows.
Your new single dropped earlier this week. What’s been the early feedback that you’ve been getting?
I really like my single. It’s the best produced track I’ve ever worked on. It’s the most professional thing I’ve ever done. KTLA already played it on their weather segment. That’s where it starts. (laughs) It’s actually doing not too bad. It broke into the top 200 which is really surprising to me because I put like no money into marketing or advertising. It’s just all been word of mouth and performing it here and there. Just the fact that I placed anywhere is impressive to me.
How goes the search for a record label?
I just got out of my contract with Universal [Republic Records] through The Voice. They didn’t take an option on me, which is okay. I want to do it my way and I want to do the music that I want to do. What I’m hoping to do with this single is get it placed on a few commercials or TV shows and then maybe generate a buzz that way. Maybe get some other songs placed. I feel like if the public wants an album, they’ll demand it, and then somebody will give into it.
Are there specific things you’re looking for in a label?
To me the size of the label does not matter. I want a label that believes in me. I want a label that believes in my vision. And I want a label that will understand that I’ll compromise. I’ll definitely make concessions, but I want there to be a vision that we have together. And then I would appreciate some marketing behind it.
We’ve had about a month since The Voice concluded. Has it been nice to step away from the show and get back to regular life?
It’s been awesome, because The Voice was actually a very stressful experience and I was kind of ready for the next chapter. I’ve been crashing at Anthony Evans’ house. Vicci and I might become roommates. Cee Lo [Green] and I definitely conversed. He hasn’t forgotten about me.
I feel like the show gave me the fast track; people know who I am and people now just want to hear music. People already saw me and they want to hear what I’m going to do next.
So what is next for you?
Next month is super-crazy because I get to go to the 2012 World AIDS Conference. That’s going to be in Washington D.C. The first night the President’s kicking it off. I didn’t think being on a TV show would actually get me to go somewhere important. I’m going to the Essence Music Festival; I was invited there. I have a show in Dallas, a show in Chicago. On Monday I’m meeting with a really cool production team.
I’m going with the flow right now. I’m just flying by faith. I’m completely at peace. I know that I’m where I’m supposed to be and that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and that’s music and advocacy.
When you talk about the long term, I really only want to make a couple albums and then I want to start a label and produce and mentor other talent. I really would like to write a book. I’d also like to start a foundation that helps people that have just found out they’re HIV-positive. Later on down the line, don’t be surprised if you see me running for some sort of office.
I have a passion for people, and I feel like, “What’s the best way I can reach the maximum amount of people?” I was so down for so long. I hated the person that I was. I’ve found true success and true joy and I want people to know that they don’t have to hate themselves.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. No reproduction permitted. All rights reserved.