After more than 15 years in the game, Ginuwine is definitely not the same ol’ G. Now an older and more distinguished R&B gent, the singer—whose seventh album drops later this year—speaks on taking his career international while still bustin’ a dance move or two. —John Kennedy
VIBE: So with this new record, this is album number…
Ginuwine: Seven. I’m going to go up to 10. Soon as I hit 10, I’m good. I’m going to move on and manage people.
Really? What kind of artists are you looking to manage?
Artists like myself. People who have worldwide appeal, not just around the block. I want to go to Japan and Austrailia, Africa, you know, people that’s thinking big, not just keeping themselves boxed in.
Where do you see this album going as opposed to A Man’s Thoughts?
Well, this is a new foundation. I’d been off for like four years prior to me coming out last time. So people know I’m still here, still got it. With this one, the expectations are a little higher, because you want to go higher. So we let Bryan Michael-Cox executive produce, we have four songs on it by him, we worked with Diane Warren, because we want that crossover appeal, we want to start thinking about how we can be bigger on that side. I’ve never really had any crossover success; all my success has come within the urban community. I’m not complaining, but in order to be a worldwide artist you have to venture out and do other things. But I definitely wanted to make sure my base was taken care of first. Can’t lose that.
There was some confusion a little while back about a music video leak…
[Laughs] Yeah, that was something that we actually didn’t plan. We actually just did it—sometimes you shouldn’t do things unless you want them to come out. And people have other things on their mind to mess you up sometimes. I don’t know how [the “Touch Me” video] got leaked, only people that had it was the label that I’m no longer on. But anybody who follows me knows that the song was on the last CD, so of course it’s not my new single. To me it was sabotage. Someone or some company or something is trying to mess things up. But it’s all good. When it comes to a video that we’re going to put out, we don’t play around. But every artist has an archive of things that they don’t put out, whether it be videos, singles. They’re not released for a reason.
What was the reason you didn’t want to release it?
I didn’t have the right people that I needed to do the video. So we just did something experimental, a one-shot thing. But again, if you don’t want nothing to be seen and in today’s times, you can’t do nothing. It’s alright, though. Today’s news is tomorrow’s nothing. So I’m not trippin, but I just want to let everybody know that’s not my single. When I come out with my new single, you’ll know.
“You don’t want to see Charlie Wilson backspinning. [Laughs] I’ll leave all that stuff to Chris [Brown] and Trey and Omarion. But if you go back and compare, they’ll be like, OK, he used to put it down.”
One of your illest videos of your was “None Of UR Friends Business,” where you were dancing with the broom. Can you still move like that?
[Laughs] I started that stuff, boy. They expect it all the time. The dancing is still here. [But] in order to move forward and get out of the bubblegum type of vibe, you can’t always do that. I’m trying to move forward, and I’m a little bit older now, so I don’t want to be flipping and all that kind of stuff. I’m more cool, trying to keep it sexy—not doing all the flips, spinning on my head and windmill. I laid that foundation and they know I can do it if I really want to do it, but you gotta move on. If you stay the same person, they get tired of you. So the people that’s grown with my music, I want to cater to them most, because we’re all getting older. You don’t want to see Charlie Wilson backspinning. [Laughs] You just don’t. So you just move forward and I’ll leave all that stuff to Chris and Trey and Omarion. I’ll leave that to them. But if you go back and you compare, they’ll be like, OK, he used to put it down. So it’s cool, but that’s just not where I’m at. But when you come to my shows, they definitely see that I still do that.
In your prime, could Omarion and Chris Brown hang with you?
I’m my prime? Nah. [Laughs] I would be shooting myself in the foot if I said “yeah.” When I did it, I thought I was the best at it, as I’m pretty sure they do. Whatever you do you have to believe first in yourself that you are the best. I still say even in this time that no one can see me in a full show. I’m pretty sure there’s people that can dance better than me, but I’m talking about a show that people come to see and they leave saying, “that was great, man.” I don’t believe there is no one that can touch me in that. No one now. The one that could touch me is dead; his name is Michael Jackson. Anybody else, no.
Nas caught a lot of flack for your collaboration, “You Owe Me,” on Nastradamus. Jay-Z questioned his artistic integrity (on 2002’s “Blueprint 2”), and some hardcore fans considered him a sellout. What are your feelings on the song?
I think you can be versatile. You don’t have to stay on one thing all the time. People have fun and they experiment and that’s what he might’ve been doing. And everyone wants to appeal to the masses; you want your voice to be heard. With him and what he stands for, if he reached millions of other people, he could change those millions of other people. So you don’t want to just keep yourself in a box, you want to get out there and experiment and do whatever it is that’s going to make you huge. And that’s song was probably one of the biggest songs of his career. People still give me love when I do it on my shows. So I think it’s healthy for someone to go out and experiment. You can’t stay the same all the time. You get bored.
How’s that played a part in your career?
It’s important for artists to grow, because we don’t want to continue to talk about the same things. That’s where you get stuck in one place. Of course I’m getting a little bit older, so things come with wisdom. My perspective on life is different now than what it once was. I’m a dad, I’m a husband, so things that are coming to my life now, I always make sure that I think about my family first. Back in the days, it was all about me. Now I think about the future. I’m not as carefree. I’m very in tuned with the future and what it holds.
Let’s look back for a second. Do you still keep in touch with Missy?
Every so often. I’ll page her and be like, “What’s up, baby? How are you?” She’ll say, “Hey, what’s up, I’m cool.” And that’s it. But hanging out, nah. I don’t really hang out with no one anyway. But she’s still doing her thing. I think she’s working on something right now. She does a lot of production and writing, like she always has. But she actually was on my last CD with me. We did a song called “Get Involved” and we did David Letterman together, so whenever I need her she’s definitely there for me. And vice versa.