He’s been in the music industry for 10 years and you probably didn’t even know it. When it comes to the ladies, he might ask them to “slow down” but he’s not doing such. He’s making strides and doing his own thing. With the start of a new, label Bobby Valentino is presenting The Rebirth.
Clutch: Your next album, The Rebirth is scheduled to come out the top of next year. Can you tell us about it?
Bobby V: It comes out February 10th and the week of Valentine’s Day. I’m very excited about it.
Clutch: Why is the album titled The Rebirth?
Bobby V: It’s a new beginning for me, different material, I worked with a couple of new producers, and it’s a new label. It’s just a new everything so it’s the rebirth of me. It was only right that I named the album that.
Clutch: How is The Rebirth different from your other two albums?
Bobby V: I won’t say that it’s different, it’s a continuation. I think every album people have new experiences and see new things. I’ve been traveling a lot more. I’ve added a couple more countries to my list of places I’ve been since my second album. So those experiences all come across when recording an album. Those experiences will definitely come across when you hear this album.
Clutch: On this album you worked with Raphael Saadiq, who has been in the industry for a very long time. He’s made a huge contribution to R&B as well as Soul music. How was it working with him and did you learn anything from him?
Bobby V: Of course. Whenever you work with someone of his stature and caliber you have to always learn something when you can. So when working with cats like him, Tim and Bob, and producers who’ve been in the game so long, I just try to sit back, not talk as much and listen. Raphael Saadiq definitely put me up on a lot of game as far as the industry, how to stay in it for a long time, as far as spending money, and just little stuff that a lot of artists don’t’ know about . He was one of the coolest cats ever to work with. A lot of people look at him and think he’s weird but, he’s very normal. I sat back and learned as much as I could from him.
Clutch: You’re no longer with Def Jam and Disturbing the Peace. What brought that about?
Bobby V: It was time for me to move on and do my own thing. Over at Def Jam they had a lot of artists and I felt like I wasn’t a priority. As far as DTP it was just a matter of me wanting to do my own thing. I felt like the only way to be like Ludacris was to get from under him and I definitely would love to be like him because he’s a mogul in the game. I just want to apply all the things I’ve learned from him to my own situation.
Clutch: Now you’re with EMI and that’s also the home of your imprint Blu Kolla Dreams. What’s the story behind that name?
Bobby V: It’s all about all the blue collar workers, the people that work hard. The police, the teachers, and the people that pick up the garbage. Just anybody in general, blue collar workers, the people that wake up early in the morning and get off and have to go to sleep because they have to wake up early. That’s what I am as an artist, a blue collar artist. I’m one of those artist that works extra hard and goes the extra mile. You can catch me at Target, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s or any where. That’s really what blue collar is all about. It’s all about working hard. Any artist that I sign will have to have that blue collar mentality where they’re going to have to do all the things that they really don’t want to do. Me as an artist, it’s never been easy for me. It’s always been a hard road so that’s where we got the Blu Kolla from.
Clutch: A lot of people say that R&B isn’t what it used to be. With you being an R&B artist, how do you feel about that?
Bobby V: I feel the same way. R&B is very much overshadowed by Rap. People are saying that they’re bringing R&B back and that it’s coming back but I really don’t see it. If you listen to the radio they don’t play much R&B. The R&B that they do play has to be a song that mixes in with the rap they’re playing. If you’re trying to come out with a slow song as an R&B singer unless you’re Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Beyonce, or Alicia Keys you’re going to have a hard time getting your songs played. I think that’s one main reason that R&B is definitely depreciating. Those years of the 90s, the 80s, and the 70s radio was playing mostly R&B. Now radio is pretty much rap-driven. You don’t hear too much R&B. If you hear it, it’s probably not a slow song. I think R&B is really getting dug in a hole. Real R&B singers aren’t going mainstream anymore, they’re going adult contemporary. You can go on the older stations and catch real R&B maybe from artists that are younger and doing R&B songs but, they’re not going to be mainstream.
Clutch: You’ve been in the game for 10 years now. What would you say is your biggest accomplishment and what’s the most important thing that you’ve learned about the music industry?
Bobby V: My biggest accomplishment is now. Even though I’ve had a couple of number one records and I have a big record right now with Lil Wayne (Mrs. Officer) my biggest accomplishment is having my own label, Blu Kolla. As of now that’s my biggest accomplishment. I think that’s bigger than me having the number one record. The thing about it is keeping my label. A lot of people get labels and they lose them because they don’t produce. I’m just praying that I can keep my situation and that I’m a CEO for years to come because that’s my ultimate goal. The most important thing that I’ve learned is that this is the business of music but it’s not about your music. You can be the hottest artist, sing the best, and look the best but, if you don’t understand the business and you don’t have the right team behind you all of that is in vain. It’s really about the business of music and learning the business, really getting the right team behind you, people that believe in you and are willing to push you and take you to the next level. It’s a lot of good artists out there that people don’t know about, including me. People know my singles but, they don’t get my album and when they do get it they’re like, “Dang I slept on him this long and his music is really good.”
Clutch: You gave yourself the name Bobby Valentino because you were supposed to be born on Valentine’s Day right?
Bobby V: Yes.
Clutch: With a name like that I have to ask what is your take on love and have you found it yet?
I haven’t actually found true love. I found love in my momma. My mom really loves me and takes care of me. I’m a momma’s boy. Other than that it’s kind of hard. If I find a woman that treats me how my mom treats me, I guess those are hard shoes to fill but, until I find that woman that really wants to take care of me and treat me like I’m a king then I’ll be single and just concentrate on my craft and my career.
I’m actually going to stop looking because when you look you don’t find. A lot of girls show me little signs that show me that they’re not the one. So I just take it as it comes.
Clutch: Artists like Monica, TLC, 50 cent, Keyshia Cole and a few others are doing reality TV. Could you see yourself doing reality TV?
Bobby V: Why not? People think I’m just this bland singer guy. Maybe if they see behind the scenes it might connect the dots to the music. I have a lot of footage of a lot of stuff but, I’ve just never put it together. The thing with me though is I’d rather do a sitcom. I want to do something outside of “reality”. I would like to do something similar to the “Martin Lawrence Show.”
Clutch: Besides music, is there anything else that you’re passionate about?
Bobby V: I’m passionate about clothes and sports. I love playing sports. I also love women a lot. I like just looking at women. I like seeing women in stilettos and women who just take care of themselves. That’s my past time. I can just sit on the side walk and watch women walk by all day.
Clutch: So that’s where the concept of Slow Down came from?
Bobby V: (Laughing) Mmmhmm.
Clutch: There are some people who feel that if they have money they wouldn’t need to go to school. You’re a graduate of Clark Atlanta University. Now that you have a singing career, fame, and some wealth do you feel like attending college was a waste?
Bobby V: No, I’m glad I went to college because it really prepared me. It prepared me for speaking and prioritizing. It just made me well-rounded and All-American. College made me understand what life is going to be like and what it is.
Clutch: While you were in college you pledged Kappa Alpha Psi. Why did you choose Kappa Alpha Psi over all of the other fraternities?
Bobby V: No I didn’t. Everybody thinks that, I didn’t pledge anything. I played sports so I didn’t have time to pledge. I think they made me an honorary member or something.
Clutch: During this past election so many artists and celebrities got involved. How do you feel about politics and our new president?
Bobby V: I never thought in my life that I’d see a Black president so I’m very excited. Obama really seems like he can make a change. He seems like he’s confident in himself and he knows what he wants to do. It’s a blessing; I’ll actually be at the inaugural on January 20th. I think I’ll be performing.
Clutch: Times are changing and there is so much new technology and different news mediums, specifically with blogs. There has been some beef between some artists and some bloggers. How do you feel about the blog world and do you even read blogs?
Bobby V: A lot of times people will send me things that blogs say but I think any press is good press. I just saw something on All Hip Hop about me saying that I cursed my security out. I had a show about three days ago at University of Florida and they wouldn’t let the people come to the stage. It’s kind of hard for me to perform when people are that far away. It kind of frustrated me because I couldn’t feel the vibe. They were talking about me saying I cussed people out but, actually its good press. I appreciate that because I really don’t have enough press. Maybe I need to make a sex tape because maybe I’m too boring in a sense.
Clutch: You were born in Mississippi but you moved to Atlanta which some call “The Black Hollywood”. What is Atlanta to you?
Bobby V: It’s just that, “The Black Hollywood” and “The New Motown of the South”. Its home for me. I have two residencies in Atlanta. My mom, my dad, my sister, and my nephew stay in Atlanta. So I love Atlanta. I’ve been there pretty much all of my life. I went to kindergarten through college in Atlanta. It’s laid back but it still fast at the same time. I’ve been thinking about moving out to Cali but for what? I love Cali too. It’s my second favorite place but I love Atlanta so much it’s hard for me.
Clutch: There are a few artists who have looked to other countries to find success. If at any time you felt that you weren’t successful enough here in the U.S. would you do the same?
Bobby V: Why not? Other countries are pretty much the same. I just left Japan and they love Bobby V. there too. America is over-saturated with celebrities. Everybody is a celebrity from reality TV people to artists. You can definitely go to other countries and make just as much money doing what you love to do. If at any time it didn’t happen in America like I think it was suppose to happen I could definitely do it but, I know God has a plan for me. I also know that America is my stomping ground.
Clutch: What advice would you give to someone trying to get to where you’re at?
Bobby V: Have a plan B and C because it’s hard. The business is even harder than when I first got my deal back in 2005. When I first came out with Slow Down, it was hard then but it’s even harder now. The labels aren’t giving out deals anymore because they’re losing so much money. You really have to grind hard. It’s not as easy as it looks in the videos. People see the videos and its all fun but after that video you probably have a lot of interviews to do, a flight to catch, and you probably have to drive somewhere. It’s a continuous grind and it’s very hard but if you believe in yourself and you believe you can do it then you can make it happen.