tinashe-joyride-feature-interview
Dennis Leupold

Tinashe’s ‘Joyride’ Is In High-Gear: “What I Want Is What I Need To Do”

The singer spoke to VIBE about her sophomore album, Joyride and more. 

It’s 48 hours until Tinashe releases her highly-anticipated sophomore studio album, Joyride, and the singer-dancer-pop-star has been lounging upstairs in her suite at New York City’s Roxy Hotel. That becomes crystal clear when she waltzes into the Roxy’s picturesque bar and restaurant wearing sweatpants and a beanie over her platinum bob.

Her breezy demeanor and get-up is quite different from the usually curated fashion and electric energy she brings to every live show, but there’s a reason for that. “So busy,” she exhausts in laughter. “I’ve been mentally preparing [for the album to drop]. Tomorrow I have to be up. I have rehearsal all day… I’m not going to sleep for awhile.” On top of the long press run ahead, she just performed on Good Morning America on Apr. 6. Through her weariness, the singer is inviting and ready to speak about the moment she and fans have been waiting three years for.

In 2015, when she first announced her forthcoming project, Tinashe was riding in the passenger seat of her own musical career. Joyride was expected to drop that same year, but it’s due date quickly became muddled by a string of misfortunes, including a cancelled tour and frustrations with her label, RCA. In 2016, she raised brows after accusing the label of prioritizing Zayn Malik’s debut solo album over hers. She kept on the media’s radar with a dreamy collaboration with Britney Spears and a stellar tribute to icon Janet Jackson at the 2015 BET Awards (Jackson requested her personally), but still no album.

Now, rocky road behind her, she’s scooted to the driver’s wheel, and the view looks pretty glorious. “I feel more confident than ever before,” she asserts, sipping her mimosa in a booth in the corner. “I feel like I’m in a really good place mentally, like the universe is going to align with my energy. I’m putting those vibes out there.” Well, the stars are in formation, and Joyride has finally arrived (Apr. 13). Tinashe spoke to VIBE about the method to her madness, navigating her 20s, and the path to self-discovery in her music and self.

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VIBE: First of all, congratulations because you’re in the home stretch! But let’s start with your first single off the album, “No Drama.” Was there a feeling or inkling that you had to choose that track as the lead?

Tinashe: I felt like it had something to say. It was power, in your face. It made sense coming back off of a hiatus. It was important to speak to my situation. It had that crazy energy. It feels so urgent and energetic. When we recorded the song, I was like ‘we need to put this song out this week!’ And when we added Offset, it added more energy to the track.

In an era where rollouts for albums are so rushed and chaotic, you did a nice job of leading up to yours, with the string of singles and visuals. Was having a clean rollout part of the vision?

I have had several rollouts of other singles in the past, that haven’t been as well thought out and planned. It was important when we recorded this music this summer, that it was presented in the right way, to the point that we held things back along the way until everything else was ready. That was really important to the presentation and making it look complete and making it look like everyone on the team was on the same page, as opposed to just throwing something out there and seeing what would stick.

I wanted to do Joyride the justice that I felt like it initially deserved.

So, we finished the album over the course of July, August, and around September and October is when we started curating the art around it, shooting the videos, getting all of the photoshoots and the creative vision together. And then over the course of the next months, it was fine-tuning. I think that was really smart. It felt good.

The album definitely sounds like a solid, cohesive body of work. But in particular, you seem to have the slow-burning club songs down to a T. They’re slow and sultry and unconventional, but still work perfectly in the club.

Maybe that’s just tapping into two sides of me that are both equally important. It’s having that energy, stuff that you can dance too… Dance is such a big part of what I do and how I express myself. So it’s important that a lot of my music has that danceability factor. But then at the same time, historically, I’ve really loved creating vibes and moods and music that feels sensual and dark. So, it’s combining both of those things together.

Are you a perfectionist when it comes to your live performances?

For sure! My live show, it’s such an important aspect or element of who I am as an artist that it’s really critical that the live show is representative of who I am because that dance element and connecting with the fans is so crucial.

If we were to lay out your discography – Aquarius, Nightride, etc. – it’s pretty easy to find the differences between them in terms of theme and mood, but what would you say is the difference in regards to your artistry and technique?

I created music from a different approach with this last go around. I was more purposeful on how I would finish tracks in determining which elements I could improve and which elements were still missing. This project also has a lot more energy than pretty much every other project that I put out in the past, which was a conscious effort for sure.

You know better than any of us how strenuous this process was, why did you choose to hold onto Joyride as the title?

For a number of reasons. I still felt like it truly represented where I was in my life, what I’m going through. The concept stuck with me as far as the highs and lows, and enjoying the journey and taking it as a young person going on this adventure through life. A lot of it was pride and not wanting to quit on something that I started. I wanted to do Joyride the justice that I felt like it initially deserved. I felt like it would have felt like a really unfinished piece of the puzzle or something that would’ve felt incomplete.

Was there anything that you did distinctly different as far as vocals, techniques, etc?

I used a wider range of vocal stylings on this project. There’s a lot of tracks that are in my lower register. There’s also some tracks that are completely in a higher register, kinda playing with different vocal techniques.

In my career and in the rollout of this project, there were highs and lows. There was super fun times. There was discouraging times, times where I felt like I had to come into my own and be a woman and own my intuition.

There’s belting songs, softer songs. Even a lot of my projects and mixtapes in the past have been more sultry and the vocals come from a softer perspective. These vocals have more body. There’s a lot of usage of things I learned along the way and things I wanted to experiment with.

So, you built a studio in the Hills to work on the project, Right? How did that change the dynamic of your creative process?

Yeah, it really changed everything for me. I feel like it was the really big turning point because I had all of these thoughts and songs… I had been working on the project already for almost two years at that point. So I had a lot of material, but I just felt like it was discombobulated. I needed to focus and hone in on what I was doing to finish it to the best of its ability. So having a home base that was centered around creativity and creating music 24/7 helped organize my thoughts. It made me more purposeful because I had a better understanding of what I was working with, what I needed, where I wanted to go.

Did you ever feel like it was hard to separate the artist from the regular girl because you were essentially eating, breathing, and sleeping out of the same place you were creating?

I don’t know if it’s separating it necessarily, but there’s something to be said for recording songs with lots of different people in lots of different studios and locations and you have bits and pieces of things that you like, but not full songs that you really love. You can feel sometimes that it gets a little out of hand and you need to reel it back in and focus on the pieces that you love. How can you make them better? For me, I’m much more comfortable working in a home studio environment. Even if I get something that I really like, when I bring it back into my own personal space, I can elevate it even more.

What was the best memory from working in the Hills?

It was the summer house. We called it the “Hollywood House.” My friends would come over all the time. We would have Taco Tuesday parties. I would cook tacos and invite everyone over, and we would have a really great energy. We’d wake up in the morning, and we’d go down to the Chateau Marmont and have mimosas and then come back and work all day. Go out to dinner, then come back and work all night. Everyone was so positive, and we were having so much fun there. I gained a sense of confidence knowing that I did this. I can get this awesome house and live this cool lifestyle and make music.

Did you find parallels between the process of finally dropping this album to being in your 20-somethings and navigating your own life?

Absolutely. That’s why the concept is so important to me. In your early 20s, there so much uncertainty as far as what’s going to happen next and where’s my life going to go. ‘Where am I gonna live? Who are my friends?’ There’s so much newness that happens all the time. There’s highs, there’s lows. You’re able to have so much fun, but then you’re juggling responsibilities. All of that, is reflective in the music.

At the end of the day, I don’t feel like I fit into any of these genres perfectly, and that’s truly what makes me the most fulfilled as an artists is to dabble in different things and have different influence, and not have to stick to one sound all the time.

In my career and in the rollout of this project, there were highs and lows. There was super fun times. There was discouraging times, times where I felt like I had to come into my own and be a woman and own my intuition.

When you say “be a woman” and “come into my own” do you mean as far as speaking up for yourself and voicing your opinion?

Yeah. It’s not even necessarily speaking up but coming to your own conclusions yourself and owning your own instincts and trusting in yourself and creative power. I think that’s something that is always important to continue to maintain. It’s easy for that sometimes to get derailed, and it’s important to come back to that.

Do you think that it’s particularly hard to navigate that as a female artist?

Yeah, absolutely. And when you’re coming into your sophomore album, it’s a completely different set up than the first project. You have all the expectations of the public, people inserting their opinions – from the media to the fans and the label – about which direction you should take. That can definitely play into how you view your own music and path. I think it took some time for me to truly understand what I want is what I need to do. I need to follow that gut instinct.

Do feel like your fans’ impatience clouded your judgement in terms of creating your vision?

For sure. I’m the type of person that doesn’t like being told what to do. Fans are like, do this, put out the album, make it sound like this. And then I’m like, ‘Screw you guys! I’m going to do what I want. And sometimes that’s not even what I want. It’s just a reaction to feeling like people are trying to control me or box me in.

In interviews, people always seem to ask you whether you’d categorize yourself as a pop star or and R&B singer. Do you ever think people don’t understand what a pop star is?

Yeah, there’s a categorization issue. Being a black woman adds to the confusion. Coming from a place that’s “urban” or rhythmic, confused people initially. To me, the pop stars that I always look up to, were the Britney Spears’, the Christina Aguilera’s, the Beyonce’s. That’s what I viewed as a pop star. So when people started to minimize me and make me an R&B or this or that, it would just rub me the wrong way. Now, I just try to brush off all titles and do me. At the end of the day, I don’t feel like I fit into any of these genres perfectly, and that’s truly what makes me the most fulfilled as an artists is to dabble in different things and have different influence, and not have to stick to one sound all the time. It’s super boring.

What advice or words of wisdom would you have given yourself before jumping into this journey?

Be patient. I would always get so excited about the new music. I’m like, ‘It has to come out now!’ That at the time felt like the best case scenario. But in hindsight, it’s like you see the time that it did take was important for my creative evolution. So, appreciate the time that it takes, appreciate the stuff that you go through. I think the other thing that I’d tell myself is that nothing is really going to go according to your plan, and that’s alright. When things don’t happen the way that you expected them to happen, it’s not the end of the world. Just re-evaluate and keeping pushing forward. That’s life. And also, none of this stuff matters as much. At the end of the day, it’s just about the fact that I’m still able to create my music, maintain my business, travel, and play shows. That’s really the dream. I’m in it, so enjoy it.

What’s the vision behind the album art?

I wanted it to be all from a futuristic perspective. I wanted to take the Joyride concept even further, to say it wasn’t just a ride through this world, but a ride through time and space. You’re creating your own universe. I’m creating my own destiny, and Joyride universe, and taking that out of this world in a sense. Say, we’re on this crazy adventure, and I wanted the art to represent strength, power, and confidence from a body perspective. I also wanted to mirror Nightride in the sense that they both have this silhouette. And then adding the element of cyborg robot is representative of me creating myself and being the master of my own universe. It’s really out there.

As an artist the journey is probably never finished, but as Tinashe, when do you think you’ll reach your full journey of self-discovery?

I don’t know if that ever stops. That’s probably what always keeps me going, is that I have this hunger and drive to improve upon myself, not even as an artist but a personal level. Just to become a more well-rounded person, more confident, and more happy and calm and centered. All of those things play into how I go about creating my music. I feel more confident than ever before. I feel like I’m in a really good place mentally, like the universe is going to align itself with my energy. I’m putting those vibes out there. I’m still growing and evolving and looking to forward to how I will continue to do that in the future.

What do you want your fan base to take away from this album as far as you and your growth as an artist, and what do you want them to take away for themselves?

So, I would like them to take away from me, that you don’t give up on something. This project really did come out. That I’m a real artist. I feel like there’s this weird misconception that if something feels more mainstream that it’s less artistic or less respectable, which is not true. The same energy or thought is going into these as well. So, I would like people to respect the art. And then from their own perspective, I think the music itself speaks to this level of confidence. It’s important for me to give people a sense of escapism. When they listen to this project [I hope] it makes them feel good regardless of factors in their life. I want them to empowered, sexy, like they can have fun. Even the more vulnerable songs, they still come from a place of power.

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Courtesy of DubShot Records

Boomshots: The Unstoppable Rise Of Dre Island

"We rise to the top," Dre Island sings on "We Pray," his massive collab with Popcaan, "cause we know what it takes."

Building on that theme of musical and spiritual elevation, the multi-talented musician—singer, deejay, songwriter, producer, and pianist—has just released his debut album Now I Rise. The project features the aforementioned "We Pray" as well as crucial collaborations with the likes of Jesse Royal and Chronixx. "Ah mi family dem deh," says Dre Island, who has toured Europe backed by Chronixx's band Zincfence Redemption. A graduate of Kingston’s Calabar high school—alma mater of both Jr. Gong and Vybz Kartel—Andre Johnson aka Dre Island is a living link between the vaunted “roots revival” movement and the sound of the Jamaican streets.

“The revival is really within the people," he says. "Reggae music never stop. Reggae artists always been touring. So it’s just the people’s awareness.” During a time when reggae and dancehall stand at a crossroads, Dre Island has emerged as one of the few artists capable of bringing together dancehall vibes and the ancient roots traditions—not to mention outernational connections like "People" his collaboration with UK talents Cadenza and Jorja Smith. “An island is a small land mass surrounded by water,” the artist told Boomshots correspondent Reshma B in their first interview. “But if you read further it’s also a place where you go to find yourself.”

Released through a joint-venture partnership with New York-based DubShot Records and the artist's own Kingston Hills Entertainment imprint, Now I Rise is a 13-track set that includes the hit single “We Pray” featuring Popcaan, “My City,” as well as the recently released “Be Okay” feat Jesse Royal. Never-before-heard tracks include “Days of Stone” featuring Chronixx and “Run to Me” featuring Alandon as well as tracks produced by the likes of Jam2, Anju Blaxx, Teetimus, Winta James, Dretegs Music and Barkley Productions. The artist is now managed by Sharon Burke, founder of the Solid Agency in Kingston, Jamaica. Earlier this month, Dre Island premiered the official music video (directed by Fernando Hevetia) for the last song on the album, “Still Remain.”

“This album speaks of arising, growth, new beginnings and emerging from the ashes," Dre Island states. "At this time, these are all the things we need based on what is happening right now. The truth is, since 2015 I have been advertising that the album is coming. It has been five years and the time is right. As an artist and person Dre Island move different. I embrace Rasta and this way of life, but I am not part of any group like Boboshanti or Twelve Tribes. Everything I do is inspired by the father. I am moved to drop this album at this time because I am divinely inspired to do so. When you look at a song like “We Pray” I can take no credit for a song like that. Yes I wrote the lyrics and built the rhythm and I voice the track, but it's a prayer, not just a song so how a man fi tek credit for something that come from above.”

Dre Island and Boomshots have been linking up from early in his musical journey. During a recent trip to New York City, he sat down with Reshma B to speak about the new project and his unstoppable rise. Check the reasoning:

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Carlos Perez

Anuel AA Breaks Free

In 2015, an entourage of close to 30 men drew guns among one another during a traditional Christmas parranda in Puerto Rico. The scene turned into something straight out of a movie when a pair of gangsters clandestinely attempted to kidnap local rapper Anuel AA. After a brief scuffle and flagrant shouting match, however, the man born Emmanuel Gazmey Santiago went on to finish the evening’s holiday spree in the boisterous company of his loyal posse.

Months later, after ushering in the new year on a promising note by featuring on one of Latin trap’s first global hits – De La Ghetto’s sex anthem “La Ocasion” with Arcangel and Ozuna – someone delivered Anuel AA a divine premonition of sorts: “If you keep talking about this stuff in your songs, something really ugly is going to happen to you.”

A Puerto Rican music legend, Hector “El Father” of reggaeton-turned-son of God, paid Anuel a visit to share his foreboding message. “He and I did not know each other,” explained Anuel, who prides himself on waxing poetics about the real-life experiences Hector was concerned with, “but God spoke to him and Hector felt he needed to reach out to me. When he warned me, he said it with so much conviction that he even cried.”

Having forged a legacy of his own as one of the key trailblazing reggaeton entertainers of the ‘90s who later signed a deal with JAY-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records, Hector – now a devoted Christian – understood life imitated art when it came to Anuel’s lyrics.

“My lyrics talked a lot about God and the devil, so when he told me that,” Anuel continued, “I knew I needed to make some changes. Those themes, good versus evil, they were my mark and what separated me from the rest.”

On April 3, 2016, just two weeks after meeting with Hector, Anuel was arrested and held in Guaynabo’s correctional institution on charges of illegal gun possession. Following his biggest musical break yet, just as he was touching the cusp of international stardom, a court judge sentenced Anuel to 30 months in federal prison without bail.

Raised east of San Juan, in the Puerto Rican city of Carolina, Anuel AA has a lot in common with many of my favorite MCs: he’s charming, resolute, and lyrically gifted, yet marred by a criminal past, complicit misogyny and the constant struggle between right and wrong. “I had no choice but to carry those weapons with me, because of the issues I had on the street,” the rapper said to VIBE Viva over the phone, while quarantined in Miami. “I thought to myself I’d rather be locked up than found dead.”

Indeed, Anuel had evaded his probable demise when he was nearly abducted and landed right behind bars months later, fulfilling a prophecy that cost him both his freedom and a flourishing start at the tipping point of trap music en Español. “I was being forced to reckon with all the bad things I had done for money in the past,” Anuel expressed, regretfully. “I started reading the Bible for the first time and realized that my talent and blessings came from God, not anywhere else.”

Anuel had begun to take music seriously around the same time his father, José Gazmey, was laid off from his coveted A&R position at Sony Music. With his back against the wall, a scrappy Anuel left home at 15 and began to engage in felonious activity to help provide for his family and finance his music endeavors.

Like many rappers on the island, Anuel was influenced by popular culture and trends on the mainland, most discernibly by contemporary trap. Anuel understood the genre’s synonymy with street life and the drug enterprise and immediately took to Messiah El Artista, a Dominican-American rapper VIBE profiled for championing Spanish-language trap music all over New York.

“I figured if Latin trap was doing well in New York, it was for sure going to pop in Puerto Rico,” said Anuel, who had signed with the Latino division of Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group the year prior to his arrest. “I spent about a month in New York before I returned to Puerto Rico. Then I started to release all the songs I had, one by one, and they began to gain popularity.”

While artists like J. Balvin helped breathe new life into the reggaeton genre in Colombia, Anuel wanted to spearhead a movement in Puerto Rico with a sound all their own. “I recorded the ‘Esclava’ remix with Bryant Myers and it might not have taken off worldwide, but it became a huge trap song in Puerto Rico.”

Akin to the heydays of reggaeton, an Afro-Caribbean genre-fusing hip-hop and reggae that originated in Puerto Rico, trap music was considered lowbrow and was heavily criticized for its vulgarity, violence, and explicit lyrics. Puerto Rican critics and artists alike had very little faith in the music’s potential and therefore denounced it. “DJ Luian, who is like a brother to me, couldn’t understand why I wanted to put all my energy into music that none of our artists wanted to sing.”

“Reggaeton went dormant for years,” he continued. “It was necessary to make trap music, because it felt like reggaeton was stuck in another era.” A self-described student of the late and oft-controversial Tupac Shakur, Anuel thought reggaeton had reached its pinnacle and believed Latin trap would be its successor.

Songs like “Nunca Sapo,” where Anuel channels Rick Ross’ Teflon Don ethos and spits a grimy slow-tempo flow over a sinister 808-laden instrumental, helped put a face to Anuel’s little-known name in the US. On cuts like Farruko’s “Liberace,” Anuel speeds up his delivery for fun and plays on the “Versace” rhythm popularized by Migos, who all hail from Atlanta—the widely credited birthplace of trap music.

For Anuel, whose life mantra “real hasta la muerte” is now a famous hashtag, music aspirations had little to do with radio play. Anuel, 27, was largely concerned with dominating the digital space, especially while incarcerated. Despite his arrest, he continued to release music from behind prison walls while his team fed his massive following up-to-date content.

Hear This Music CEO, DJ Luian heeded what Anuel was trying to accomplish and began to work with Bad Bunny, the Latin Grammy-winning artist and star voice of the current Latin trap movement. “When I was locked up, Luian helped develop Bad Bunny and he basically became in charge of keeping trap alive while I was away,” said Anuel, who ironically came under fire recently and was accused of throwing shade at Bad Bunny for the video treatment of “Yo Perreo Sola,” in which the rapper-singer dresses in drag as a stance against toxic masculinity.

“I couldn’t believe something like this was going viral,” Anuel interrupted anxiously before I could expound on a question concerning their relationship. “It looked like it was something that was edited or put together to make my Instagram posts read that way. I immediately texted Bad Bunny about it and he was like, ‘Don’t worry, people are always going to be talking sh*t.’”

Anuel considers Bad Bunny a genius at what he does and maintains that despite not knowing each other very well, he and his fellow compatriot are friendly collaborators with a working rapport: “When he and I do a new song together, what will people say then?”

Today, the collective jury will reach a verdict upon listening to Anuel’s newly-released sophomore studio album Emmanuel, where fans will find a track titled “Hasta Que Dios Diga,” a sultry, mid-tempo reggaeton number. Fans can expect to hear a star-studded project riddled with guest features, including Tego Calderón, Daddy Yankee, Enrique Iglesias, J. Balvin, Ozuna, and Karol G, to name a few.

Discussing life during a global pandemic, Anuel spoke fondly of his partner-in-rhyme, Colombian singer-songwriter Karol G. “She’s the love of my life. She’s been there with me through the good and bad. People who really love you are the ones who stand firm by you when things are bleak. In my toughest moments, Karol was there. She’s shown me how to be a better man,” he gushed.

“Karol comes off as super feminine—which she is, but Karol also has a really tough masculine side,” Anuel laughed heartily on the other end of the line. “She rides motorcycles and likes taking them up these crazy hills. She rides jet skis too! She’s like a dude, haha. We work well together and we give each other advice all the time.”

The pair are making the most of quarantine life in South Florida, releasing a self-directed and self-shot music video for their joint single “Follow,” a reference to flirting over social media in the era of social-distancing, the idea that shooting one’s proverbial shot can lead to a budding romance.

On July 17, 2018, Anuel dropped his debut studio album, Real Hasta La Muerte, hours before he was released from jail. By September, the RIAA certified his introduction to the game platinum, garnering the attention of Roc Nation artist Meek Mill. When the Philly wordsmith released his fourth studio LP in November of the same year, followers were geeked to learn Anuel had earned himself a place on Meek’s highly anticipated Championships album with “Uptown Vibes.”

I always wanted you and anuel aa to make a track together bc i feel like he’s the meek mill of spanish trap , how was it working with him ?

— Nagga (@naggareports) December 17, 2018

“Recording with Meek Mill for me was like when Allen Iverson played with Michael Jordan for the first time,” Anuel said, singing praises about their first-ever partnership. “I’m a huge fan of Meek; when his music took off I was still in the streets, so I related and identified with a lot of the things he was saying.”

“Meek doesn’t understand a lick of Spanish,” he mused in jest, “but he’s always with a bunch of Latinos. When I speak to him he says, ‘I don’t know what you’re saying, but my Spanish [speaking] ni**as tell me you be talking that sh*t!’”

Anuel leveraged his knack for storytelling and released “3 de Abril” earlier this year, an emotional freestyle about the day he was arrested and a graphic snapshot of his trials and tribulations.

“I did things without caring about the consequences. I thought I was a man because I was street smart. Now I know what it’s like to lose everything, so I wanted to talk more about my life and the experiences of me and my family,” Anuel described the inspiration behind the song.

Following the release of “3 de Abril,” Anuel again turned hip-hop heads when he and Lil Pump shared a fiery audiovisual for their collaborative effort “Illuminati,” stamping Pump's first new song since summer 2019. This year, Anuel also has songs with Colombian pop empress Shakira (“Me Gusta”) and with the late Juice WRLD (“No Me Ames”).

Albeit Anuel and Juice WRLD never got to meet in person, Anuel learned about the Chicago rapper from listening to his singles on the radio in jail. “The same year I won Billboard Latin’s Artist of The Year award, Juice WRLD won New Artist at the American Billboard Awards. We ended up recording the song after that but held off on releasing it for a bit because he and I had respective singles coming out at the same time,” Anuel explained.

“By the time we were finally ready to premiere it, Juice WRLD had passed away. We were never able to record together in person, but at least we got to feature him on the video. I know the tribute gave his fans and family some needed strength.”

Less than 30 minutes have gone by and already I am forced to wrap my conversation with Boricua’s burgeoning superstar:

Anuel, explain “real hasta la muerte” for me. Why exactly is this mantra of yours so important? 

“I can’t betray anyone. I don’t know what it’s like to really betray someone. I’m very loyal to my circle, my family, and those I hold close to me. Being real is what keeps me humble. It doesn’t matter how much money I make or how much I accomplish. What’s critical is staying real to myself and keeping my feet on the ground. That’s what helps keep me going.”

This interview was translated from Spanish to English and has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Exclusive: BBD's Mike Bivins And Ricky Bell Speak On Funk Fest 'Garage Concert Series' And George Floyd's Murder

The early '90s wouldn't be the same without Bell Biv DeVoe's style of hip-hop, smoothed out on the R&B tip with a pop feel appeal to it. Even as a stark departure sound and style-wise from their New Edition group days, BBD  literally ushered in a new tint to the already hot sounds of Teddy Riley's "New Jack Swing" of the mid to late '80s. Their universal party anthem single, "Poison," cures any wack wallflower growing jam and will forever be the barbeque favorite of your aunt and uncle to sprain an ankle to while dancing.

So today, May 28th at 9 pm EST on FunkFestTV.com, it's only right that the crew known as BBD brings that same energy to the comfort of our homes, with "The Garage Concert Series" during these quarantine times via a streaming deal with the 19-year-old urban music festival, Funk Fest. The series is billed as a jam session that comes to you with the flavor of a bare-bones home garage performance that gets to the organic feel of the music. Joining BBD in this landmark event will be recent Verzuz social media battle stars, Jagged Edge.

Tonight's festivities will be in honor of aiding those in need through the newly created charity by the trio named BBD Cares. This community initiative focuses on the seniors of Laurel Ridge Rehabilitation Care Center in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Proceeds from the moderately priced pay-per-view performance will go to those impacted by the grip of Covid-19. "We’re proud to launch the Garage Concert Series and our BBD Cares effort to raise money and awareness during a time when our communities, our culture, and our society need healing," said Ricky Bell.

Both Mike Bivins and Bell spoke to R&B Spotlight founder, Cory Taylor for VIBE on ZOOM to detail the idea and plans for the Funk Fest and Garage Concert series, as well as expound on the turbulent times we are currently experiencing in society. While explaining how hard things are to bare, music being an outlet helps in healing and this digital event looks to continue to flourish in expanding that notion. “The Garage Concert Series, which we conceptualized and named after other culture-shifting brands like Amazon and Microsoft that started in their garage, is our contribution to the global community,” states Bivens.

Be sure to watch their interview with us and log on to FunkfFestTV.com at 9 pm EST for a blast to the past of good music for a great cause. Ronnie DeVoe sums it up best, “our goal is to continue to spread the love while raising money for those who are most in need.”

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