Texan Interscope signee Wash (b. Ronald Washington Jr.) is planning on sweeping up the charts with his new single “Can’t Trust Thots,” featuring French Montana, but don’t count him out as just a one-hit wonder, who can only churn out catchy club tunes; Wash is a certified musician who can play the piano, drums and saxophone by ear, which he attributes to his gospel roots. With a hearty musical foundation (which also includes an older sister who played keyboards for Beyoncé), big things are expected, and with a name like "Wash," you better be able to clean up!
Is Wash the next to blow? You be the judge after you peep our interview below:
How did you get the name “Wash”?
I used to play basketball, and because Washington is such a long name, he took it upon himself to call me Wash and it really stuck. I got a few nicknames, but Wash stood out the most.
Is basketball your favorite sport?
I love basketball, but I’m a fan of football, too.
Tell us about your upbringing in Port Arthur, TX.
Living in Port Arthur, it was really interesting as far as the way things run and people’s mindsets are, because I come from a city where people don’t make it out. You got three options: you can work in the refinery, you in community college or you’re in jail. Luckily for me, I was blessed enough to get a job at the refinery, which is very dangerous. It consists of you climbing like, 50 ft. in the air. They make you sign papers in case, God forbid, you die or something crazy happens, which, I almost lost my life more than a few times, but it definitely made me grateful of what I have now as far as meeting up with my writer and producer Chef Tone and my manager Bobby Fisher. It makes you very aware of how fast things can be taken away from you and how fast things can change if you really block yourself off from the negativity, so I’m grateful for growing up in Port Arthur; it’s a very rugged city. I feel like it made me who I am, and be the man I’m destined to be.
How did music come into your life as a kid?
Music came into my life when I was born. I remember listening to music with my parents, both were pastors so I grew up in the church. Even though they were pastors, they listened to a lot of old school music. When I was a kid, I thought a lot of those songs were current because that’s all I would hear. So when I would hear Marvin Gaye, Anita Baker, Sade, I thought they were on the radio, right then and there, I thought they were new artists. But all my family members are musically inclined; my second oldest sister, she was the keyboardist for Beyonce, my oldest sister sings background on X-Factor and my father sings, mother sings, write songs. So we would be up 3 o’clock in the morning; everybody doing something musical, whether it’s playing the piano, singing, so that’s the type of house I grew up in.
How did you come to learn three musical instruments (piano, drums and saxophone)?
Well, being a pastor’s kid you gon’ learn to do SOMETHIN’ in church, they gon’ make you do SOMETHIN’! I started playing the drums when I was 5, then when my sister got the gig with Beyonce we needed a church musician, so I went on YouTube and taught myself how to play the piano. Then I started playing the saxophone when I was 12. And being inspired by different artists I picked up a little of the guitar, too. I play a little harmonica.
So you play by ear?
Yeah, I’m now developing the patience to go learn notes, which I know a little bit, but I just go by feeling.
How do people treat you when you go back to Texas?
Aw man, I’m scared to go back right now, cause Thanksgiving is coming up, so EVERYBODY gonna try and be at the house. They’re buggin’ out, they’re very stoked cause there’s never been an R&B, I mean, we got UGK, but as far as just to have a young R&B sensation come through and blaze the city like that, that’s never been done, so they’re looking at me like “man, you really did that.” They’re freaking out, even people who I got into it with back home, dudes see me like “man, put on for the city, we’re behind you 100%”, so it’s all love; I love it.
What’s next for Wash?
We got a mixtape coming, I’m doing a few remixes to different songs. I rap as well, so you’ll see those hip-hop elements. Hip-hop remixes, R&B remixes, we’re working on something real special for the fans. Doing a lot of radio interviews, traveling, promo, clubs, you know, the beginner’s grind, but it’s all good. I know it’s gonna pay off crazy, I’m just excited for everybody to hear the new music. Don’t get me wrong, I think “Thots” is a smash, but we got some ballads, some sensual, baby-making music, got a little bit of everything coming soon, so look out for that.
Would you consider “Can’t Trust Thots” a co-sign to Chris Brown’s “Loyal?”
People get the same feel, but if you listen to the verses, we’re saying some real, real sh*t up in there. It’s the sh*t that we really see at the club. Sh*t that I go through, that I think many males and females go through. It’s the truth. I know it’s a controversial record, but my main goal is to not disrespect women, because we got mail thots and female thots. That was just MY rendition of what I see. But we got some crazy, crazy records on the way; we got some love ballads, some new records with that old school feel, so I want everybody to stay tuned for that.
Who are some of your musical influences?
I’m a fan of every genre, I like rock bands like White Snakes, I love Anita Baker, Sade. I can go even as far back to Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Marvin Gaye. It’s just a wide caliber of artists.
Musically and conceptually, what sets you apart from the rest of rising R&B singers?
I can’t say, cause I really don’t watch what they do (no disrespect). But what I don’t see a lot is just shows, period. There’s a lot of R&B singers, but to actually have a show, that’s what I’m working on now. We’re putting a show together; I dance as well, so it’s me dancing, me playing the keyboard, and the drums, just full out entertainment. I think the show is what separates me from a lot of different artists. Just being able to have those different elements that are old school as well as new school.
Did you ever meet Beyoncé through your sister?
I got to meet her once backstage when she was at the Rodeo in Houston, about an hour away from Port Arthur. She’s a very nice person. I got to meet her and the band members; it was pretty cool.
What were the events that led up to being signed to Interscope?
My producer/writer hit me up and asked how soon could I come and record. I hadn’t spoken with him in a while; we would cross each other’s path, but we were both doing our own thing… living life. He asked if I could come work and record. I said I’ll come tomorrow! So the next three days, we’re just recording, developing me as an artist, and recording the record "Can’t Trust Thots," and soon after that, he asked if I was ready. Interscope had called, we went out there and they loved us. The energy was right, so that’s pretty much how I hooked up with Interscope. My producer is a visionary and I am too. I always saw myself in the position, I just didn’t know how. The chemistry was right between me and him as far as the producing and writing. He asked me if I was trying to take over, trying to be next. And I was all for it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m blessed to have a record deal, but I know it don’t stop there, I know there’s work to be done and there’s people who get signed and get dropped, but the record deal was a route we felt like we were ready for and we've been grindin ever since.
How did French Montana hop on your new single “Can’t Trust Thots”?
We’re on the same label and they were playing the record in the office and everybody was jammin’ to it and he just so happened to come in, and he was just like "whoa, who is that? I gotta hop on that." Which I was surprised, because I went back home for a little bit after we got the deal, and my writer Chef Tone hit me, told me French was on the single, and I was like that’s dope! I thought it was ironic because it was actually supposed to drop right before he hopped on it, but he killed his verse and we just went with it.
What was it like shooting the video/in the studio with him?
It was crazy. That was my first music video and they said I was a natural at it; I was pleased with the compliments, but I’m a country boy, and just to come from Texas to L.A. where the women are so beautiful and everything moves so fast and got to meet a new staff of people who’s really into the record and ready to work, from the videographers, people behind the scenes, and reps from the label. To have everybody come together and be involved was cool. It was a dope experience, can’t wait for the next one.