It’s always good to have options. With the music business currently treading on unstable terrain, singer/actor Tyrese Gibson has found a source of stability in a successful career in film. Now, after the commercial disappointment of his 2006 album, Alter Ego, the triple threat actor/singer/author has returned with the recent release of his fifth studio album, Open Invitation.
During a recent visit to BET’s 106 & Park to premiere his new video, “Too Easy,” featuring Ludacris, the veteran R&B crooner told BET.com that this project is his best work to date.
“It’s my proudest album to date," Tyrese confessed. "I know everybody says that about their albums, but when the fans finally get a hold of the music and they listen to it and put their heads and hearts and spirits around it, trust me when I tell you this album will not let you down.”
In his absence from music he has since released a bestselling book, How to Get Out of Your Own Way, and enjoyed huge success at the box office starring in the latest installments of blockbuster films Fast Five and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
The Watts, California native says his break from the music world was well warranted.
“I don’t have to do music to pay my bills,” he explains. “A lot of artists are out here pumping out these albums and they’re dropping one every year and the motivation for some is ‘I got to pay these bills’, which is understandable, but the fact that I was able to take my time and do this and I wasn’t motivated by the money, I feel like that’s why this is my best album.”
Opting to release his latest opus independently via Voltron Records, the seasoned actor/singer says a more hands-on approach was needed this time around. Joining the seemingly endless list of artists who've taken their brand and hardcore following of fans on the independent route, Tyrese admits the decision was solely based on not wanting to deal with the political crossfire that some artists succumb to when dealing with major labels.
“I walked away from the music for various reasons: politics, drama, various different opinions and things that went down on my last album run that made me walk away from it,” Tyrese admits.
Moving independent hasn’t prevented the R&B crooner from enlisting the help of industry A-listers T.I. Rick Ross, R. Kelly and newcomer Jay Rock.
Happy to be back and with a renewed vigor, Tyrese has no plans on slowing up his Hollywood takeover. The much-anticipated Teddy Pendergrass biopic, in which he’ll portray the late R&B legend, is also in the works.
“It’s in motion, man, and we’re just excited to be working directly with the [Pendergrass] family,” Tyrese admits. “He took me under his wing during the last three or four years of his life and we bonded and connected.
While the biopic is still in the pre-production stages, Tyrese says he’s fully prepared to deliver one of the best performances of his career, thanks to spending plenty of time with Pendergrass before the music legend passed in January 2010.
“He let me in on a lot of secrets, a lot of insight and information on his story,” Tyrese recalls. “Where he came from and the different challenges and obstacles that he had to overcome, and I’m going to hold on to all of that and you’ll see it show up on camera.”
Open Invitation is in stores now.
(Photo: John Ricard / BET)