The R&B crooner talks to BET.com about being a lover, an activist and a musician — all in a day’s work.
The life of a player isn’t all romance and pretty women. For Vaughn Anthony, it includes community service, fatherhood and a budding career as a musician. The man responsible for this summer’s Life of a Player, which featured appearances from Rick Ross, Prodigy and Anthony’s brother John Legend, spoke with BET.com between delivering a motivational speech at an Ohio performing arts school and a live performance later that night. Still riding the momentum of Life of a Player, VA is already working on a new five-track EP. Similar to his Renaissance man older brother, he also has plans to dabble in acting, dancing and to continue touring intimate hotspots across the country. Here, Anthony speaks on his work in the community, the feedback he’s received for Life of a Player and how his big brother John gave him his first big break.
BET.com: You just left a school where you spoke to kids about their futures. Do you make a point of staying involved in the community?
Vaughn Anthony: I’m real big in the community, especially in my community in Springfield, Ohio. I try to take kids to play basketball, just try to encourage them to stay out the streets and find something resourceful to do that will help benefit them later in life. In every city that I go to, I try to stop at a school and speak positive words to the future. I've always been a people person and it’s always been a passion of mine, but now that I’m in the position I’m in to where I can get my singing to bring my other desires to fruition, I use that. I’ve been doing that strong for about four or five years.
How did you become a back-up singer for John Legend?
He happens to be one of my brothers. So I let him know that I wanted to sing. I didn’t use to sing around the house and things like that, so he was kind of skeptical. He was like, “Man, you gotta show me something.” So, I showed him, he liked what he saw, and he gave me the opportunity to sing background for him. So that’s how I got into the music business. And from there I started writing songs and recording and became an artist at the same time.
How did the experiences you had working with your brother shape your career today?
It was the best tool ever to be given to me because it gives you the opportunity to expand on the road, on a TV show, all those things. And my brother’s such a professional, so just watching him and being able to take that and put it upon who I am is a blessing because now I understand what to do. But the first time I went out on tour, I wasn’t prepared. I was just out there having fun, taking care of my job and that was it. I didn’t really fully maximize the opportunity. But now I can say I’ve went through that, I’ve grown, and now it’s time to maximize the full opportunity of being in that position.
What is the feedback you've gotten for Life of a Player?
I think the title kind of shies people away from it and they won’t give it a chance because of the title, but I’ve been getting great feedback from it for those people who’ve listened to it.
What message were you trying to get across to people?
Basically, man, Life of a Player is just being transparent with people; the ups and downs of going through a relationship with a woman, or several women, and I just depicted it. I just told it how it was. From the opening track, I was transparent and straight up and blunt. I’ma let you know what I’m thinking, how other guys think, and some women probably think like this, too. It just goes on down from one thing on my mind, just thinking about women, and then the player starts to think about the woman’s feelings. It’s basically just life, life as a player, man, and I put it down in TV and song form.
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(Photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)