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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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July 2010 - January 2013
The Rebirth of Bobby Valentino
Friday, February 20, 2009

Bobby Valentino is only turning 29 at the end of the month, so it may sound a little odd for him to be talking about a rebirth. He’s been in the music industry since his teenage years, though, when he was a member of the group Mista, and going from being a child star to and adult one is a major change. This week I caught up with the R&B singer to discuss all things rebirth related, including his latest album, which happens to be titled The Rebirth, his feelings regarding his departures from both Def Jam and DTP, and how close the world was to seeing From Bobby Valentino to Kelly the movie.

Adam Bernard: Let’s start by talking about your new album, The Rebirth. In how many different ways is this album a rebirth for you?
Bobby Valentino: In many ways. For one, I have a new situation with EMI / Capitol. I have my own label now, Blu Kolla Dreams, so that’s part of my rebirth. I think that’s my biggest rebirth because I stepped out on faith. I’m no longer with Def Jam and DTP, so I’m no longer under the wing of Ludacris. We’re still real cool, but it was just time for me to step out on faith and be control of my own destiny, so that was a rebirth. Also just me as a person, I’ve been in this industry for over ten years, so I’ve been up and I’ve been down, but in this game you have to have faith in yourself and believe in yourself and carry yourself with a lot of pride because your feelings can get hurt in this industry. When you’re up people are gonna praise you, they’re gonna ride the bandwagon, but when you’re down people will walk the other way when you come, they’ll kick you when you’re down, so all of that comes together to make The Rebirth.

Adam Bernard: What aspects of yourself do you show on this album that you haven’t been able to show before?
Bobby Valentino: Just really my diversity. I worked with some new producers on this album, including Raphael Saadiq. Also I basically put this album together, me and my team, so as far as being in control creatively I feel like this album represents me and speaks for me because I had my hand in everything from the artwork to the mixing of record, I even produced on this album for the first time. That’s another part of The Rebirth and showing another side of me and what I have to offer.

Adam Bernard: You also have some pretty racy songs on the album, most notably “3 is the New 2.” What you know about that?
Bobby Valentino: Hey man, that’s every man’s fantasy, to have two women at the same time. With me, my music, I make it for the women, but really it’s a tool for dudes. If you put on the CD it’ll speak and say the things that a man is probably afraid to say, or doesn’t know how to say.

Adam Bernard: So it should be used on a date.
Bobby Valentino: That’s what I’m sayin, you can use it, it’s a tool. I got “3 is the New 2” and you might not know how to say it, or you might not know how to set it up properly, but you can throw on the song to break the ice. I got other songs on the album such as a marriage type of song where I’m singing my heart out and I’m saying it’s time to turn in my player card in. That’s actually the last song on the album.

Adam Bernard: Speaking of relationships, during a night out on the town, is Bobby Valentino a good wingman?
Bobby Valentino: {laughs} I’ll put it like this, I’m the all-time assist leader. I’m dishin em out all the time.

Adam Bernard: Backtracking a bit, what happened with DTP? Were they just not equipped to handle an R&B artist?
Bobby Valentino: No, I wouldn’t say it was that, it was more or less I was signed to Def Jam through DTP. I was actually dropped from Def Jam last February. When I was dropped from Def Jam I wasn’t really happy with my situation. They have their big roster over there, everybody from Rihanna to Ne-Yo to Jay-Z to Jeezy, Rick Ross, so it was kinda hard to really get the attention and the time and the focus that I wanted on my project, so we had some issues and they let me go. Then I stepped back and thought about what my next step needed to be. I felt that I’ve been in this game for over ten years and I’ve been through it all, so it was really time for me to step out on faith and do my own thing. Luda really respected that and he understood that and he’s on the remix for my first single, “Beep.”

Adam Bernard: And now you have Blu Kolla Dreams. How and when did you start it?
Bobby Valentino: It’s been a movement that’s been going on a long time. The whole thing behind Blu Kolla is as an artist I take the blue collar approach; I’m the first one up punchin the clock in the morning and I’m the last one to go to sleep. People like blue collar workers, like police officers, postal workers, garbage men, those are the people that actually make the world go round, but they’re always the ones that don’t get the props. I feel like I’m that kind of artist. I’m putting in work 24 hours a day seven days a week, grinding, doing everything I gotta do. I just represent for all the blue collar workers out there, all the blue collar people. I feel like when you turn on the radio a lot of artists are talking about how much money they got, how much ice they got, how many cars they got. Truth be told, a lot of the artists don’t even have that stuff. Second of all, you’re speaking to a people that are going through a recession right now, so how are you relatable to your fans when your fans are spending their last ten or twenty dollars on your CD and you’re talking about that you’re a millionaire and you got ten cars. I know that most of my fans are blue collar workers, average people that are working 9-5, that are going to school to get their degree, and I want to be able to relate to them not only musically, but personally, as well.

Adam Bernard: Going back to your start in the music industry, I gotta ask, “Blackberry Molasses,” best song ever?
Bobby Valentino: Oh man, that was definitely a big record, that’s where I got my start, when I was in the group Mista. That really was like my internship to the music business. I learned a lot about the business. I learned about music. Organized Noize were our producers, they produced our whole album, so I grew up around TLC, I grew up around Outkast and that whole Atlanta movement when Atlanta was just bubblin. I got to experience all of that, so that was my preparation to get where I am now. “Blackberry Molasses” was definitely a big situation and something that I’m appreciative of.

Adam Bernard: Where is the rest of Mista today?
Bobby Valentino: Blue collar, out there grinding. Some are trying to act, some are still trying to do music, some of em got a couple kids. They’re just trying to make ends meet.

Adam Bernard: Most artists who blow up when they’re young don’t get to experience normal teenage life, but you ended up going to college and having all those experiences.
Bobby Valentino: That was very important to me. I was in Mista during ninth, tenth and eleventh grade, so I missed the first three years of high school. I went back to school after that. In twelfth grade I graduated from high school and I also went to Clark Atlanta University, where I got my degree. My focus was always music, I knew that it was my first love and what I wanted to do, but my parents instilled in me having something to fall back on, to get my education. That’s something that nobody can take away from you once you get it. I really didn’t want to go to school at first. I wanted to do music, move to New York or LA, fulfill my dream. But I feel like that’s something I would never trade in, my degree, because my degree is in Radio / TV, so school really prepared me to do interviews, be on camera, speak properly, communicate and really to know the industry on another level. Another thing school really taught me was how to prioritize and in this game you got to be able to know what’s important.

Adam Bernard: From what I’ve read you also have an American Idol experience. What happened there?
Bobby Valentino: That was an experience when I was in college. It was their first season and it was part of my trying to multitask, do music and go to college at the same time. It really taught me that you gotta keep going no matter if somebody tells you that you’re not good enough.

Adam Bernard: Finally, since I’m a very big baseball fan, and a diehard Mets fan, I gotta know, when are we going to see Bobby Valentino link up with former Mets manager Bobby Valentine?
Bobby Valentino: Aye, we need to get together and we need to write a book or something, Baseball and R&B. We gotta hit one of them Brave and Mets games. I’m a big Braves fan. I actually played baseball in college, too. I was a centerfielder. It’s gonna be rough (for the Braves), when we were supposed to win three or four World Series we only won one and I think that was their prime right there. That was the best team. That was like the dream team. We did pull one championship out, but I feel like that was really our prime.

Related Links

Website: justbobby.com

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