Originally introduced to the music world as the Grammy-winning producer behind hits like Usher’s “There Goes My Baby,” Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams” and Mary J. Blige’s “Mr. Wrong,” nowadays the multi-faceted singer/songwriter/producer Rico Love is setting his sights on a solo career of his own. Like many producers-turned-performers before him, Love is hoping to utilize his prowess and keen ear and parlay those gifts into a positive turn in the spotlight. One thing’s for sure—he clearly has no shortage of hit songs stashed away in his arsenal.
Now, Love is prepping the release of his debut EP, titled Discrete Luxury, which drops this coming Tuesday (August 27). In between studio sessions in his adopted hometown of Miami, Florida, Rico hopped on the phone with XXL to talk about what fans can expect from the upcoming EP, the meaning behind Discrete Luxury and the rumors that he “stole” his recent signee Tiara Thomas from Wale. Learn a bit more about about the singer/songwriter below.—Miranda Johnson (@Randa_writes)
XXL: So how did you initially get into the music industry?
Rico Love: I sat under Jagged Edge for like two years, then I hooked up with Usher a little while later and ended up signing to Usher. As an artist, as a rap artist. And that’s when I wrote my first song, “Throwback,” which was featured on Usher’s Confessions album.
That’s interesting that you started off as a rapper. Tell me a little about that.
I started off as a rapper. I didn’t know how to sing. I taught myself to sing around ‘07 or ’08. See what happens is—you write songs and you need people to demo them for you. My songs weren’t getting placed and I felt that they were great songs. I figured out the people I had demoing them weren’t giving the emotion that they needed, so I started off singing them myself.
Why are you releasing Discrete Luxury now?
The music just started to make sense. When you’re writing songs for people consistently… Like when I write a song and I say, “This is going to work for Mary J. Blige and this for Usher. And this is going to work for Diddy and this is going to work for whoever I write for.” That started to happen where the music I started to make started making sense for me. I said, “Well, maybe it’s time to do the album.” These things are just sounding so natural. These thing started making so much sense and feeling really organic to who I was. Then out of nowhere I started getting all these offers from record companies. Literally like three record labels approached me and offered me a deal. It was right after I closed my label deal at Interscope, then Jimmy Iovine calls me to L.A. and I go to his house. He sits in front of me and he says, “So I hear these companies want to sign you” and I’m like, “Yea yea I’m thinking about going with this one particular label.” He says, “Are you fucking stupid? You have a label deal, I gave you a label deal. You’re your own boss, why go work for someone?”
What’s the meaning behind the title Discrete Luxury?
Basically this certain type of luxury that I’m developing, this lifestyle that I’m introducing people to. It represents an upper echelon. It means that it’s something that I worked hard to earn and to live in. The setting of the EP is discrete luxury, it’s not the content. I made a lot of mistakes when it came to certain women in my life, and I wanted to discuss it. Because I started feeling like the songs I was starting to write started to reflect it. Like “Heart Attack” was a direct song about what I was going through at the time. “Mr. Wrong” was describing the relationship I had with my son’s mom.
Tell me about the album that will drop after the EP.
The album is gonna be called Turn The Lights On. I got a song with Action Bronson, me and him did a record last night. I did a record with Curren$y. Fat Joe is on the record. I got an Usher record.
What about the EP. Any features on there?
The only feature on the EP is is Tiara Thomas. She’s rapping on it and a lot of people don’t even know she can rap. She’s an amazing rapper.
Speaking to that, there were rumors that you’d “stolen” Tiara from Wale. What happened there?
Wale’s partner Legreg [Harrison] brought her to me. He introduced me to her and told me he wanted me to sign her. So all that stuff y’all was hearing about I took her is not true at all. I offered her a deal before she even gave “Bad” to [Wale]. I already had a deal on the table for her. He didn’t actually offer her a deal until after “Bad” came out.