RL of Next: Rewind Button

R.L. and his nights in Minnesota have helped to create some of the sexiest anthems throughout the years. It might be him shirtless or that voice. But whatever it is, the ladies as well as the men love the classic music he has produced as a solo act, a member of R&B group Next and as a songwriter. Singersroom had a chance to catch up with R.L. at B.B. King recently.

Rewind Button… I would rewind to my marriage. I would rewind to my boy and her cheating. I was so damaged and jaded by the industry. I got divorced and everything I wrote or sang was about me being hurt. A woman can fall in love as many times as she wants but a man falls in love like two or three times. I would rewind and change the people around me and handle my business a little differently. I would have been smarter on who I keep close. I kept some people away that should have been closer. I would have handled it a lot better. I was damaged so I needed a break; its not like I came out with garbage when I took that break. I Wish I could of did it all over all together because I had a deal with Clive with $450,000 on the table. I didn’t know how to handle it.

Making Magic Again… I’m just working and trying to put hit records together. People just expected us [Next] to come back. It’s funny. People were like are you guys beefing or something. What happened? It’s just that we had too many hit records. We couldn’t just come back out with anything. It would really hurt the brand we worked so hard for. When you have “Too Close” on one album and “Wifey” on another one. Then you’re coming back again for the third album. When it was released it wasn’t even done yet! The record label just put it out. We had to take a step back so we ventured off to explore other things… if it was acting, business or me songwriting. Now we feel the time is right.

Suicide Thoughts… The reason it’s called ‘Minnesota Nights’ is because I contemplated suicide when I was younger. When I was little I would listen to After 7, Jodeci, Baby Face and God would tell me to hold up. That’s what Minnesota Nights remind me of those rough times. Whenever I get down I remember those Minnesota nights.

Sticking Together… We started out young. I think I was 19 or 20. I’m 34 now. That was fifteen years ago. A lot of young urban groups egos get involved and they break up. We have had our share of arguments but we are good.

Peer Pressure... We have been gone so long so we want to make sure we do it right. A lot of artists are coming out with material that is beneath them because they are trying to be successful. They are working with the hottest producers of today but it is not the right producers for them. Their core audience doesn’t want that! They forget that good music doesn’t die. So we see a lot of our peers with material that is beneath them just to get on the radio. It’s like Dr. Jay coming to the gym with Jordans on. No he’s wearing Converse!

Making Hits… I’ve gotten pass the point of just happy to hear myself on the record. It’s not just about it sounds good here or I like this part. I’m my worst critic if it’s not hot to me then it’s not going to be hot to no one else. But I’ve always been like that.

Without the Hottest Rapper… I didn’t want “Too Close” to be the single because remember at that time it was about the hot rapper. We didn’t have the Jermaine Dupri or the Puff so we had to make hooks that you can sing along to.

The Hustle… We had a smorgasbord of music in Minnesota. We had one radio station KM1J and it played Gospel, Reggae, Blues, Hip Hop, R&B etc. If you wasn’t within miles of that radio station you wouldn’t hear it. We were not from that big city where someone knew someone; we had to work hard. Jimmy and Terry signed Solo so we never relaxed.

It’s About the LOVE… It’s not about the money. What I made tonight I spent twice the amount on 125th Street. I was suppose to do one and a half songs. Its not about money I was paid for one night its a recession I had to give them a show.

**RL performed over five songs during the Singersroom sponsored R&B Nights at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill

Drive & Determination… My mentor took his wife’s life and his life. I’m left with my god kids. I didn’t want to be at this show I’ve been lost these last couple days. But I just like being around hungry artists. When artists are not eating like that and they are wearing the same thing the last three or four shows, I respect that.

Think About Tomorrow… A lot of artists are following the radio and artists that they think are popular are not selling like you think they are. A lot of artists that are popular are not paid. I’m still eating off records from over a decade ago. What happens when what you talk about fades now? New artists need to think about tomorrow. What happens when the S500 and being in VIP changes. These new artists need to think about tomorrow.

What’s Next… I got the lounge opening called ‘Bar 1’ and it’s something real sexy and fly. I’m working with my neighbor Peter Thomas from House Wives of Atlanta and my manager. I’m doing part 2 of ‘The Return of the Voice’ mixtape. I’m making it an album with like fifteen joints. I’m doing five videos for it. I’m also coming out with ‘Minnesota Nights’ for me and we are doing Music 101 for the group [Next]. We’ve done one and a half records for the album. We will record like 50 songs for the group and will go through them.

—— By: Interview By Staff


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