Being a part of the music industry since 1996, Atlanta-bred R&B singer Bobby V has learned quite a few lessons along the way. The smooth crooner learned patience after garnering success as a member of the short-lived teen group Mista in 1996, and then having to wait until 2005 to make his solo debut with his self-titled LP, Bobby Valentino. He learned perseverance after being dropped by Ludacris’ Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam imprint. Now signed to Blu Kolla Dream/Capitol Record the singer released his fourth solo album, Fly on the Wall, this past March and is already in the studio working on his still untitled fifth LP. Through all the ups and downs Bobby V has always focused on making his career long lasting. In this BET.com exclusive, BV talks about the daily pitfalls he avoids and the adjustments he’s had to make to assure he’ll be around longer than the competition.
BET.com: Tell us about your new project.
BV: Well you know, the album Fly on the Wall is in stores right now. I’ve really been on the road promoting that. I’ve had a chance to do a lot of shows with Musiq Soulchild on his tour. I wasn’t able to do the whole tour, but I was able to do a nice amount of dates with him with a live band. That’s really what I’ve been trying to do. With touring I’ve been doing a lot with my band lately. There’s nothing like performing with a live band, and that’s really been my intention because I feel like in order for me to be around for the long haul, I have to do something different. Performing with a band is one of the first steps in the evolution of Bobby V.
Did you deviate from the recipe that makes Bobby V at all with this project?
The approach I took with this album is I shot videos for every song. Whatever song you like...you can go to YouTube and check out the videos. I put visuals out for all of the songs. I understand the music industry today. Today’s artist has to do more work now. You have to be in touch with your fans more. You have to be online more, with Twitter and Facebook campaigns. That was a reason why I named my album Fly on the Wall, because I wanted my fans to be a fly on the wall with me throughout my process. It’s been real cool. I will say that it’s a lot more work. I’m in the studio now working on my next album. I’m doing an EP that I’m going to put out. I’m in a good space right now. Creatively I’m feeling good and the people are still showing me love. I’ve put out four albums. I have been blessed enough to turn this into a career. That's all I wanted to do. I didn't want to be one of those cats who put out one or two albums and disappear. I want to be around for the long haul.
Tell us about. What’s the story behind the new single “L.O.V.E.,” which was produced by Tim & Bob.
Well you know “L.O.V.E.” is one of the worldly records you know. We [Tim & Bob] like to take things out the box. And I was able to shoot the video for “L.O.V.E." while I was on tour in Europe. I was in Paris, Amsterdam, London and all throughout the UK and I had a camera crew with me the whole time I was there. So while there I thought, let’s make a music video. This was a record that the people picked. And that’s why it’s a record that I’m really pushing because the people have put their stamp on this record. Whatever the people choose I have to go with it. The video has gotten a lot of positive feedback. And just the whole movement of “L.O.V.E.” has been very positive so I’m very excited about it.
Do you ever get bored with the grind of the business?
You now it’s funny you ask that because me and my management and all my friends were talking about that other day about this becoming a job versus when I started doing music it was fun you know. But honestly it has become a real job because it’s so much that goes into it. And sometimes I do get bored and lose track of what I’m doing and where I’m going. I have to do things that re-motivate me. I like to work out a lot to clear my mind. To motivate myself I’ve been doing a lot of reading. I’ve been trying to do other things that I haven't done in my life to give me that motivation to make good music. After four albums, and I pretty much I write all my records, it’s only so many ways to say "I love you" or so many ways to say "we in the club."
Do you ever get flustered or feel like you’re overlooked in comparison to your R&B peers who are bit more sexualized in their acts? How do you handle that?
I mean you know it gets frustrating because I can be edgy. But it’s like I say, I’m trying to build a legacy based on great music and something that’s classic. And I understand sex sells. I work out and I can be edgy, but I’m not gonna say if you can’t beat ’em, join ‘em. I’m just gonna do me and as time progresses more and more and more people will get what I’m doing. They’re going to support what I’m doing.
Are you disappointed when your work is not recognized during award season?
Oh absolutely! Four albums and I’ve never had a nomination [for a BET Award]. It’s definitely upsetting, but I use it as motivation, honestly. It is what it is that I haven't gotten acknowledged to this point. My fans go hard trying to vote and all of that. And you know I definitely go hard. It hurts knowing that I know that my music is just as good as the people that get nominated. My grind, my fan base, my work ethic and everything I put into this is just as good as the next man, and I don’t get acknowledged. But, I can’t be frustrated. I’m not going to be the guy screaming, “F--- BET!” I’m not going to be the guy around sending out tweets and all that stuff about “why didn’t I get nominated?” I still got to work harder and harder. And when it’s my time victory is going to be so sweet for me. I’ve been successful, but I still haven’t reached the pinnacle that I plan to reach.I haven’t even gotten close to the level. But I have been successful so when I do get there and all the stars are aligned and it’s really the Bobby V’s time, victory is going to be so sweet for me. So I don’t worry about it. It is what it is, man!
How do you maintain self-control when someone comes at you slick on Twitter? How do you avoid being one of those stars beefing on Twitter?
I’m not into Twitter beefs and battles and all that stuff. That junk is like buffoonery to me. I’m not trying to get into it with nobody who’s trying to send me a jab on Twitter. That’s so lame to me. I tweet to be in touch with my fans, and people hate on me on Twitter. I read it. I’m not going to lie. I might read a comment and want to say something back, but I just know that with these social media networks it is what it is. Twitter gives everybody a voice. It gives everybody a voice. It doesn't make any sense for me to try and cuss out the man next door because he thinks Bobby V not hot. It doesn’t makes sense.
So do you have any opinion on this whole Miguel/Lloyd Twitter beef?
I mean yeah, that’s how the world is right now. It’s real. Beefs start on Twitter. I haven’t talked to any of them about it. But you know it was a crazy situation when I heard about it. I guess they worked it out.
What are some of the positives and negatives of being an artist in 2011?
That’s a good question! One of the things is the Internet. And it’s been a gift and a curse. It’s a gift because it gives artist an opportunity to reach out to the world at the click of a button. And that’s a great thing because I can put out a new video or song and can reach out to the world with just a click of a button, which is a great thing. But it’s also a negative thing to me because with downloading and with everybody having a voice via the Internet it makes it tougher to be an artist. I just remember back in the day being an artist used to be exclusive. If you had a record deal you was the s--- back in the day. It was really big. When I was coming up under Organized Noise, even when I was in Mista, when you had a record deal it was really something special. But now having a record deal doesn’t mean anything. Everybody has a record deal now. That’s one of the things that’s the gift and the curse of the Internet. Having a deal and being a core artist isn’t that special anymore. It’s not elite.
So being a part of the music industry has lost its exclusivity?
Yep. I mean one of the things I do love about being artist--its very general--but being able to travel the world. I’ve been to African, Japan. I just got back from Australia. I toured all through Europe. I might have covered about 50% of the world. I look back on it as being a blessing. Another bad thing: Everybody is real critical. It’s cool to have your own opinion. But I don’t think people understand the amount of work I do. I work hard. Day in and day out. I put a lot of work, time, blood, sweat and tears into my projects. And I do that because I want to be better. But people don’t see it. When you’re up under the microscope and when you’re a celebrity people are going to be extra critical about everything you do. So that's a tough pill to swallow.