A few days ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing the one and only R.L. via Oovoo. The singer was in Atlanta finishing up at the studio and gym before he sat down with me. With the release of his newest single "Boo'd Up" and an album on the way, it seemed like the perfect time for a sit down.
The singer opened up about what he's been doing in music over the past few years. He's been working with a number of artists and writing for them. He also explained the meaning behind his new album's title "5:15", a possible release date, his views on today's R&B and more.
Now below, I've posted the highlights and a video is attached. We had a few technical difficulties before I started recording. We couldn't add or call one another, but we figured it out. Also, there's a terrible echo in the recording so hopefully you all can look past that. Check it out below.
On what he's been doing over the past few years:
"Well I’ve been behind the scenes writing for everybody form Lloyd to J. Holiday, Mindless Behavior, Jamie fox, Brother , Ginuwine, uuggh Stevie Wonder, naaa [laughs] I don’t know why I’m saying Stevie wonder that’s why I said that.. um..Keith Sweat. That’s about it."
On his new album "5:15":
“5:15” is the time I was born and I consider this album a rebirth for me. I went about recording it with the same hunger and passion as a new artist. So I consider it my debut album."
On what to expect from it:
"Growth and confidence I think that over the years being behind the scenes has allowed me to become myself, who I am and at the same time I’ve been able to fine tune my recording process and things like that so I’m really excited. I think there’s gonna be some sexiness, some fun and I’ve been known to rock anthems. And I wanna continue to do that."
On any collaborations on "5:15":
"Well, I’ve been working on this collab with a couple of members from Slaughterhouse. Um and I have a duet, I just haven’t decided who I’m going to put on there yet."
On his new single "Boo'd Up":
"Well I recorded over 70 records for the album and that was one of the last ones I reordered. And I had to ask myself, how can I grow without alienating my fan base. You know, I had to slowly bring them along to the new me. And I felt like the perfect record to bridge that would be “Boo’d Up”. It’s an anthem, it’s still timeless. It’s about being with somebody and you know…boo’d up. [laughs]"
On current views of R&B music:
"I just think people are misdiagnosing it. It’s not R&B. I think people are forgetting who we are. We’ve always been the trendsetters. We’ve always been the one with sense of style, what’s fly and what’s not. We made the rules. And a lot of artists now-a-days are chasing radio and trying to follow the trends instead of setting them and that’s not R&B. I think there’s been a lot of soul missing, but I’m a fan of what’s been out. It’s just a misdiagnosis of R&B. It’s not R&B. It’s music but my lane is really wide open."
"I don’t really try to categorize music because I just love music but, it does bother me that people consider what I do prehistoric because really. Love never goes out of style. “I miss you”, “I want you” “Let’s have sex”, “Lets Party”, “I’m sorry”. Those things will always be around. My biggest fear is that because there is no artist development anymore, what will artists now be singing in 15 years? Music that they have out today? Because I’ve been able to survive off of my discography so that’s important."
"Right now it’s been about how many Twitter followers you have and how many hits you have on Youtube, not about the music. So a lot of these artists haven’t learned to be an artist. They’re not artists. They’re singers, they’re performers. I’m an artist. I write, I arrange, I perform, I actually engineer, I record myself. And I hope that a lot of artists do that as well. If not, where are they gonna be in 10 – 15 years"
On "5:15:'s release date:
"Well you know a lot of cats rush to get their music out soon because they got a little buzz. Me, I really want to get to the second single before I release it. So it will probably be in the Fall to be honest."
On a 'Next' Reunion:
Well, you know, reunion would mean that there is a separation. I think that when urban groups, whenever a member decides to go outside of the group to continue to grow, we look at it as a negative thing going on within that situation. The reality is that I’m an artist first. I’ve been writing for a lot of people, Next has been touring for all these years.
But I wanted to do something that to continue growing, but I understand that the bigger I become and the better artist I become, the better the brand will come. Because I’m just a branch off the tree of the group. So Next will always be. There will be more projects and we’ve never stopped recording. It’s just that I wanted to do this for me.
It was really cool to be able to do an interview with him. I think I asked a lot of cool questions. R.L. was pretty damn cool! I'm happy that he's back in the game doing his thing. I'm looking forward to the album dropping and I will most definitely keep you all updated on his next music moves. I hope you enjoyed. More interviews to come! Follow him on Twitter, check out his official website, Youtube channel,and support his new single "Boo'd Up by buying it on iTunes.