Chris Richardson Talks Working With Tyga, Nicki Minaj On “American Idol” & More

April 3, 2013 by Danny M


Chris Richardson Talks Working With Tyga, Nicki Minaj On American Idol & More

Jason Pollak recently caught up with Cash Money’s Chris Richardson for a one on one interview.

They discussed Chris‘ “Joy & Pain” single featuring Tyga, working with Ty on his “Far Away” single, appearing on American Idol a few years back, if he has been watching Nicki Minaj judge on the show, his forthcoming untitled album, how it feels to be signed to YMCMB, his “In The Name Of Love” record, wanting to get a feature from Paramore’s Hayley, upcoming music videos, his “Stateline” hat line, and more.

You can read Jason‘s full interview with Richardson after the jump below.

Jason: Hey whats up man. We last spoke when you released “Far Away” with Tyga. Hope everything has been good. How did everything turn out in the end with that single?
Chris: Hey what’s good dude. Hope everything is well with you too. It was good man. That single really touched a lot of people. It was amazing to see how it affected people when I got the chance to perform it live on the Chris Brown FAME tour. It was cool to watch it grow and see people latch onto it. It’s still cool when I listen to the single today. To me, it was another step in the process of me building my career. That’s kind of what everything is at this moment in time. Everything is sort of a stepping stone into the next process. Making my album has been a process in itself. I’m just really excited to get a chance to get my music out there. This way people can understand who I am as an artist and understand what I’m about it.

Yea, it was definitely a great song. You recently linked up with Tyga again for “Joy & Pain”. How did that come about?
“Joy & Pain” was produced by Detail and will be on the album. That was just something Tyga felt. Ya know, I don’t want to just throw someone on a track. So he got on that and now we’re out here promoting it as the lead single. We went out and did a radio tour for it so it can get out there. It’s just a matter of people accepting and embracing it like they did for “Far Away”. Ya know, that’s part of the process. We have some more videos we’re looking to drop soon as a follow up. There’s also a bunch of documentary and behind the scenes videos we are going to release. I just want to try to show people that you have to be in it to win it. It’s tough to hang on for years and years at a time. You have stay extremely optimistic. It sometimes takes that one song, so you just keep your hope and work as hard as you can.

Yea, I hear you, it’s definitely tough. I actually went back and watched one of your American Idol performances and one of your recent performances at Sky Lounge; it’s crazy how much you have progressed in those 4-5 years. The hard work is definitely paying off.
Thank you. It’s just one of those things. If you continually do something and practice, you’re gonna get better. I actually neeever look back at that show, haha. It was one of those experiences you learn from. It was just a crazy time being on that show. Between the lights and singing in front of millions of people, it’s just really nerve wracking. You’re put on this grand platform out of nowhere, in this humungous spotlight and you’re supposed to somehow act normal. I just remember being extremely nervous every night. I’m such a perfectionist though and when I look back at my time on Idol, I just wish I could have done better. When I started the show, I really wanted to win it and get to the end. It just happens so quickly on the show, you’re not expecting all of that right away. But it definitely helped me out as an artist and boosted my career. Now we have all of these other shows that are kind of saturating the market, but what are you gonna do.

Yea there might be a few too many singing shows now, but have you had any time to watch Idol this year. I only ask because your label mate Nicki Minaj is on the show.
Yea, I’ve been able to watch a little bit of it. I think Nicki has done a good job. Ya know, I like personality, so it’s cool when the producers mix it up a bit and throw someone fresh in there. There’s a little something different about it. So that’s what she brings to it, there’s obviously the cat fights between her and Mariah while Randy Jackson is just kind of sitting back like he has no idea what is going on, haha. It’s cool though, I try to catch up, but I literally consume myself with music all the time. It’s like a blessing and a curse. For me, I feel like if I take time off, which I do occasionally, I won’t be able to get to the level I expect myself to be at. The only way I can get to the point where I want it to be is by giving this everything I got.

True. Is there a name yet for an album?
I’m toying around with a couple of different titles right now. At the moment it’s self titled because it’s my debut album. Ya know, it’s my introduction to the world. But I’m not sure yet, we might come up with something a little bit different that resembles how the album feels. There are interludes, extended plays, it’s really kind of like a story. So we’ll see once we put together the track listing. I like making decisions spontaneously because it takes you in a different direction you might not have gone.

A little spontaneity never hurts. Just to go back to what you were saying before about working hard. Ya know, I look at Lil Wayne, who even after his first ten years in the music business, wanted to be at a different level. To get to where he got when he put out The Carter III took even more hard work. It’s kind of reminiscent to your work ethic and where you are now. Do you feel like you two share that quality?
It definitely is. It has it’s similarities. Granted, I haven’t put out 365 songs in a year and all of that, but as for my personal catalog and working with other artists, I do. Going into a studio session, you always want that track to be the one. However, sometimes that best song you’re looking to make, would actually be better suited with someone else singing it. So ya know, when you’re songwriting, as long as you’re continuously making music, it will come eventually. So that’s what we’re working on now. Just continually expanding and growing the fan base. I want to be out there on tour overseas, getting people interested, it just takes time to get there. And I think back to American Idol, it made you give up a lot of your personal life. And when you’re off the show, all these people know so much about you already. So I’ve learned I have to tell people about myself, I just wanted it to be at the right time when we have the material. That’s why there hasn’t been this constant stream of music over the last five years. I didn’t just want to release random songs or a random album. I wanted it to be right and have the right family behind me when I put it out there.

Right that makes sense. You want to put out material that’s going to have an impact.
Yea, exactly, something that can create a buzz. If I put something out after Idol, I’d have some buzz from the show, but I wasn’t signed to any label. It was just the situation I was in. Notoriety from the show doesn’t mean you’re going to be a platinum selling artist. It doesn’t mean you’ll get your music to the masses. But I’ve been taking everything in stride. Work ethic is big to me. I try to just stay healthy and be ready for the moment.

Yea, well you can definitely feel like the days closing in.
Yea, absolutely, I feel it. The optimism is there. In all of the interviews I do, everyone is very positive. So that’s always a driving factor when people like your material and believe you can reach a certain point in your career. I’m not there yet, but it amazes me that I have been able to make some great fans and have accomplished this much. Once that next big buzz comes along, we’re going to have plenty of content to put out and capitalize on the momentum. I’ve been putting together all of this material. It was just a matter of when I was ready and I think I’m ready to do it this year.

I hear you. Maybe you have to call up Nicki and the American Idol producers about doing a guest spot somewhere down the road!
Haha, yea right. That’d be pretty awesome!

Haha, but you have a great team behind you. Baby, Slim and Wayne are probably three of the smartest men in music. And if you’re looking to build your career through a grassroots approach, they’ve done it already. That must be extremely helpful.
Yea, that’s crazy because I have a very similar approach with the whole grassroots movement. It’s great to have a label backing me that has already done it and gotten to that level. It’s inspiring and encouraging to me. I just think it’s real cool that I am at this point in my life where I can create music freely and have a label as big as Cash Money to support it. I feel blessed to have that. Not to harp back to Idol, but if you go back, some people don’t even do music anymore. They just went back to the jobs they were doing before. For some people, they realized they didn’t want to be on that big of a stage. For me, the fame and attention was never my favorite part, I always enjoyed it because it was reminiscent of when I sang in front of smaller crowds and they would get excited over the music I would do. It’s kind of like playing sports. Ya know, people cheering for you when you make a good pass. That’s how I looked at it. It’s just a feeling I strive for. Not for acceptance, but for people to genuinely love what I put out.

Definitely and I feel like that’s the case for all of the artists signed to YMCMB. You know, it’s not just people latching on for one hot single. They genuinely feel and love the artist. The fan base has already been built by touring through clubs, bars and all of these other venues.
Yea, that’s very true. That’s the model. It’s crazy because people have many different formulas to grow and reach the state they are at now. I’ve kinda got to witness it happen. Tyga just did all of that. Being on the pop/urban side, it really is a hustle. It’s setting up shows here and there. For me, it’s inspiring to watch the hustle. Even when I was on the FAME tour, it’s interesting to hear everyone’s back story to how they got to where they are. It reminds me of what I’m doing at the current moment… pretty much just doing anything I can to establish my name. You begin implementing different ideas, so it’s something to feed off of.

Yea, well everything you have been putting out is definitely sounding good. I really liked “In The Name Of Love”. It was a little more on the ballad side.
Thank you. Yea that one was a definitely more of a ballad type song. I really love that song. I might get a feature on that song actually. But yea, like I said, it’s sort of reminiscent to what I was saying before. I just want to put out work that resembles me. That’s what we’re trying to do with the videos we’re funneling out now. It’s introducing people to me. It’s also something fans can latch on to. The radio is great, but fans love videos, so we try to give them a little extra something. It’s a chance to see the process, the humor, the realness and all of the little tidbits you can’t get from the audio.

Yea definitely. It also sounds like you’re figuring out what sound you want to go for.
Yea thank you man. Ya know, as you get older and spend 12-13 years creating music, putting your heart into it…I think you learn a lot from that. I think I’m at a point in my life where I am ready to tell people my story and I’m looking forward to people relating to it. That’s kind of the biggest thing for me in creating this album. I want to make something cohesive and lyrical. It feels as though there aren’t many stories being told today in music and that’s what I’m trying to bring to what I do. I’m an urban junkie though and I like to fuse together different sounds. I love the stories in hip-hop and I think you can hear some of that in my music. It’s sort of a cool vibe.

Yea man, it’s something soulful. Is that the type of material we should expect on the album. Where are you looking to take it? How do you want to piece it together?
The album is really going to be a roller coaster. It’s going to be uptempo, soulful, there’s some electro R & B, there will be a couple features…just a whole bunch of stuff. I’d really like to get Hayley from Paramore featured on one of these tracks. For me, I built this album around how I want to perform it live. Ya know, I want there to be that song that makes people come alive. That’s why I kind have spread out the type of material I have done. When people ask what my style is, I’m pretty sure I’ve given them a different answer every time. It’s kind of whatever music tip I’m on at the moment. You don’t sit around making the same music for five years. You go through different phases in your life and your album evolves along with it.

That makes sense. So, will there be any more videos coming soon?
We just shot a video for a song I did called “Collecting”. It’s a mid-tempo, very sexy type of video which we filmed down in Virginia. So that’s the next one. We’re also in the process of shooting something for “Why You Mad” and I believe there should be another two songs that I still have to pick off the album. I’d love to have a whole album of videos. I’m just really looking forward to putting this album out. There’s just so much that has happened and I look forward to sharing my story with people.

That all sounds dope. But before you get out of here, you also mentioned last time you had a hat line called “Stateline” coming out. What’s the status of that? Can people pick those up yet?
Oh man, I don’t know why I didn’t mention that! Thanks for asking. Yea, we actually have 14 new designs being mocked up right now. The pre-order site should be up in the next month. I’m still into that heavy, so we’re just balancing that with the music. I think we’ll try to get that going as we start releasing the new videos and get a little closer to the album release. That’s about it man. Thanx for talking and be good!

You too! Be good!

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3 Responses to “Chris Richardson Talks Working With Tyga, Nicki Minaj On “American Idol” & More”

  1. Friendz Says:

    Tyga’s hairline is tooo crazy


  2. Ms. Richi Says:

    Far Away is my fav Tyga song of all time. Chris killed the hook as well. I just wish Tyga did more of those type of songs instead of these club banger songs….



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