God orders your steps. What would you say is the biggest difference between being in a group and now being a solo artist? Are there any positives?
There are both positives and there are some things that are a little difficult. The positive thing is that for me the certain way that I wanted to dance or songs that I had in my head that I wanted to write or certain things like that, when you’re in a group you have to be very cautious and mindful of the fact that your life is not your own. Your life affects the life of three other people. At least in my case, that’s what it was. I will say that the positive thing about that is I’m able to pull out any kind of idea that I have in my head and it doesn’t have to make sense right away because I’m not responsible for three other lives. I can kind of figure it out and write it down, scratch that out and throw it away. And not feel bad about it cause I’m not responsible for the lives of three other people. But the negative parts about being by yourself is that you miss that camaraderie, I love being in my group we had a great time. On days where you’re tired you always have somebody to pick up your slack. You forget a lyric, you have somebody to pick up the slack. So there are both positives and negatives to being by yourself and being a solo artist. At the end of the day that’s what it is and you become the best version of you that you can be.
I’m also curious to know what your songwriting process is like? You have some records that really connect.
A lot of different things kind of drive songwriting for me. The number one thing I will say are personal experiences. Things that I go through. A lot of time, the process for me when we go in the studio and pull up beats, we’ll go and hum melodies and things like that. Then we’ll go and piece them back together like a puzzle, throw words at each other. That’s how some of the songs are born. Then, sometimes I’ll have concepts and things that I’ll talk about with my friends or with my dancers on the road. I’ll write them down, just from being on the Rebellious Tour with my dancers on the bus, we had so many hilarious conversations and I kid you not we would laugh at the boys and be like, “Oh, I’m going to write a song about y’all.” So I would literally write those concepts down and I can’t wait to get in the studio. To bring those conversations to life, that’s what music is about. Especially R&B music, there are just conversations. How many time have you heard a song and been like, “Oh my God, me and my girlfriend were just talking about that.” Or you heard a song and been like, “Oh, you better preach.” They are just born from conversations.
Organic is the best way. When you’re writing for someone else, do you ask them about their experiences?
I do. That is definitely something I do when writing for people. And it depends, sometimes I’ll have a song and they’ll like it and it will happen like that. When I actually go in to write for people, I like to go “OK where are you in your life? Are you in love? Are you heart broken?” I like to know because the worst thing you want to do is write somebody this happy song and the song doesn’t sound so happy. Finding out what they go through is very important cause at the end of the day, you’re just a songwriter. In songwriter mode I’m just a songwriter. And I know from being an artist that the song has to feel truthful to the person. They have to go out there and sell it, convey it to the fans. So it’s very important to find out what they go through.
Is there anybody you’re looking to collab with?
Honestly… and I’ve been saying this a lot lately so hopefully I’m speaking from my mouth to God’s ears but I would love to do a record with Usher and Beyoncé.
Did you do any work on Chris’ upcoming album?
I did, I actually wrote “Fine China.” I wrote the title track, it’s a song called “X”, I also wrote another song called “Counterfeit” and I got my fingers crossed for a couple other songs so songwriter me is hoping that I get another placement.
What about your album? When are you thinking about releasing it?
In my Sevyn world, I would love to do it sometime [this] year but going back to the songwriting, I have to write according to how I feel or stories that I’m around. So if the creative Gods give me the right song then and time for the album to be released, it will be released [this] year. We have to wait and see. It’s a process for me.
I’m excited about picking songs for an album. I really want fans to dive into the EP and let me know what song they want to come next because that’s what the next single will be. Whatever they want, that’s what we’re gonna give them. Do some videos and keep it going.