Interview: Bobby Valentino Delivers with Style.
by Daniel Haim
He’s had No. 1 singles, platinum and gold albums, has toured the world and has appeared on songs with Lil Wayne and Ludacris, among many others. Five years into a remarkable solo career, Bobby V (formerly Bobby Valentino) has experienced the best the music industry has to offer while working with some of the game’s elite. No wonder he’s calling his fourth album Fly on the Wall.
“Being in this industry for over ten years, having three successful albums, touring the world, and having an impact on people’s lives through my music has been a dream come true. This album is a testament to my experiences in this industry and through it all I’ve been a Fly on the Wall learning the ins and outs of the music business along the way. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs but can always depend on my fans. Through the ups my fans keep me grounded and through the downs my fans keep me motivated. Everything I do is for them.”
Bobby V fills his new album with stories of his remarkable experiences. With production handled by Tim & Bob (Boyz II Men, Michael Jackson), The Pentagon (formerly The Underdogs [Beyonce, Justin Timberlake]), LOS (Usher, the Dream) and Jazze Pha (T.I., Ciara), Fly On The Wall contains the type of polished production accented by live instrumentation that has become Bobby V’s signature.
Case in point is the ultra-catchy “Phone #.” Featuring Plies and produced by Jazze Pha, the cut was born during a studio session. “Jazze’s phone went off and it was that 2Pac song, ‘What’z Ya Phone #? from the All Eyez On Me album”’ Jazze was doing a beat and that was the first thing that came to my mind…‘What’s your phone number?’ That’s how the first line came about.”
Bobby V then took the song to another dimension by adding one of his trademark sound effects to the tune, something that has helped Lil Wayne featuring Bobby V’s “Mrs. Officer” (certified platinum) and Bobby V’s own “Beep” become hits. “As a writer I’ve learned that there are certain elements to making a hit record. The chorus is the most important part of a song so coming up with a catchy hook is crucial, so using my voice to mimic certain sounds like a cop car siren (Mrs. Officer) made it that much catchier.
On another note Bobby’s lane often involves bedroom activities, Bobby V delivers “Humming,” a tune about the thrills sex will provide, while “Alter Ego” describes how Bobby V transforms into another person during lovemaking sessions. Bobby is the ultimate ladies man, but on the flip side is a dedicated family man “I would like for people to get to know the real me. I’ve yet to open up like that. I graduated from college, I go to church on Sundays, and when I’m at home I love to hang out with my family.”
Love remains a focal point of Bobby V’s music because of its therapeutic qualities. “I think love brings happiness to everyone, I’m all about bringing love into peoples lives through my music. The reality is its rough out there in the real world and love helps us get through some of life’s biggest challenges”
Elsewhere, “Last Call for Love,” produced by Big Fruit (“Beep”), focuses on the scene as the club shuts down, while “Nobody” is a part two of sorts to Bobby V’s No. 1 hit single “Slow Down.” Like “Slow Down,” “Nobody” was produced by Tim & Bob and focuses on the allure of a particular woman. “If I can’t have this particular lady, I don’t want anybody else,” Bobby V reveals. “Sometimes when you have that special somebody in your life and you might be going through it, you still want her and you’re not settling for anybody else.”
Not settling into a particular sound, Bobby V stretches his creative wings on the airy, auto-tune assisted “Freaks Come Out” before delivering “Heaven,” a gorgeous slow song that salutes the woman of his dreams. “She’s like your angel and it feels like she fell straight from heaven. She’s everything you look for and everything you desired. It’s like God really sent her to you.”
From virtually any angle, Bobby V’s career seems to be heaven sent. Bobby scored a hit when he was only 15 years old with as one-fourth of the 1990s R&B group Mista, with “Blackberry Molasses,” a tune produced by Organized Noize (OutKast, TLC) that became a Top 20 R&B hit. Even with this success, Mista dissolved. Bobby V then enrolled at Clark Atlanta University, where he graduated with a communications degree and developed a keen business sense.
Reintroduced in 2005 with “Slow Down,” Bobby V quickly reignited his career. His debut solo album, 2005’s Disturbing Tha Peace Presents Bobby Valentino, earned the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. He then sang the chorus on Ludacris’ hit “Pimpin’ All over the World” and toured in 2005 on the blockbuster Scream tour.
In 2007, Bobby V returned with Special Occasion, which featured the Timbaland produced hit “Anonymous,” and Rodney Jerkins produced “Turn the Page” His third album, 2009’s The Rebirth, featured the hit “Beep” and was the first album released on his own Blu Kolla Dreams imprint, in conjunction with Caroline Distribution which debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard Hip Hop and R&B chart.
As Bobby V’s career continues expanding, he makes a point to give back to those who are less fortunate. Through his Bobby V Foundation, the singer encourages people to value and to pursue higher education.
“I had the opportunity to go to college and graduate. That accomplishment is something I am very proud of and one nobody can take away from me. Through my foundation I want to give kids the same opportunity.”
With a string of hit singles and albums, a burgeoning record label and a charitable foundation inspiring the youth, Bobby V is ready to give his fans another album that thrills them as much as it entertains them. “Through this album I want my fans to feel like my entourage. I want them to walk every step of the way with me until we reach the top”.
Daniel: First of all, it’s a great honor to interview you Bobby so thank you. I’m a huge fan.. One of my favorite tracks is of course, “Tell Me”.
Bobby V: Thank you so much. I really appreciate your support over the years. Fans like you and your wife allow me to continue to make music. I’m proud to say I’m about to release my fourth studio album so it’s a very exciting time for me and the Blu Kolla Dreams team.
Daniel: Bobby, What’s going on with the album? When is the expected release date? What can we expect from the album?
Bobby V: My new album “Fly On The Wall” will be released on March 22, 2011. It features collaborations with 50 Cent, Twista, Plies and a few other features we’re working on right now. The whole concept behind the album is giving my fans an in-depth look into the Bobby V journey. They’ve been like my entourage over the years.
Daniel: Why was ‘Words’ chosen as the second single? What else can we expect from this album?
Bobby V: The first time I heard “Words” it almost brought a tear to my eye. It’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. The lyrics are all about actions speaking louder than words. In any relationship, honesty and showing people that you love and care is so important because talk is cheap. “Words” is one of those strong R&B records that really touches people.
Daniel: What’s going to be the next single?
Bobby V: Our focus right now is “Words” and the music video which was inspired by Lionel Richie’s “Hello”. We haven’t decided on a third single yet. I may leave it up to my fans to pick the next single once the album is released.
Daniel: What’s different between the last album and the new one?
Bobby V: With every album there’s growth. Musically, lyrically and vocally. I always try to challenge myself to do better than the last. “Fly On The Wall” is probably one of my most honest albums because it’s allowing people into the mind of Bobby V. This is my gift to my fans.
Daniel: What has changed from being in major label structure with Universal, Island DefJam to being on Blu Kolla Dreams?
Bobby V: Since Blu Kolla Dreams is my label I’m a lot more hands on with the decision making. I’m the master of my career as opposed to a big label machine calling all the shots. I really have to stay on top of my team and my business.
Daniel: Who are you working with writing wise, what producers are coming to the table on this project?
Bobby V: Tim & Bob, The Pentagon, Big Fruit, Jazze Pha, B. Cox and LOS
Daniel: How many songs in between did you record for this album? And how many songs are going to be on the album – with what’s left over and why did those make the cut?
Bobby V: I recorded about 60 songs for the new album. I’m constantly in the studio writing and recording so I always have the daunting task of picking the best songs. When it comes to song selection, it’s all about the flow. I want to make sure the album is a cohesive body of work for people to enjoy. We’re still narrowing down the tracklisting but it looks like 15 songs will be on the album. I’m releasing a mixtape on Valentine’s Day so many of the tracks that didn’t work for the album will be featured there.