Jason Pollak Interviews Cash Money’s Chris Richardson

December 16, 2011 by Danny M


Jason Pollak Interviews Cash Moneys Chris Richardson

The homie Jason Pollak recently interviewed Cash Money’s Chris Richardson, who is also affiliated with Young Money. You can read the full interview below were Chris speaks on American football, working with Timbaland in the early stages of his career, appearing on American Idol, YMCMB, his recording process, the latest artist to sign to CMB – Busta Rhymes, working with Lil Wayne and other Young Money/Cash Money artists in the studio, Slim, his clothing line, working with Tyga on “Far Away“, his upcoming projects including working on his debut single featuring Weezy, and plenty more! Chris also said Lil Wayne didn’t want Tyga to drop “Far Away” as the first single from Careless World.

Jason Pollak: Hey hows it going?
Chris Richardson: Not too bad. Just getting ready to start the day. Watch some football.

Jason: Oh yea. Who’s your team?
Chris: The Bronco’s. I am pro-Tebow. (laughing)

Jason: Haha, yea. Me too.
Chris: I think he’s a winner. He’s not the most fundamental guy, but in NFL, they take their job very seriously. With the amount of money their being paid. He’s a very dedicated player. It’d be nice if he got a little more graceful throwing ball, but that’s not even my concern. We just need the whole team behind him. It’s cool to have that dynamic. Who’s your team?

Jason: I’m from New York, so Giants, Mets.
Chris: Oh yea I like the Mets, my buddy actually plays for the Mets, David Wright. We went to the same school together. I also am good friends with the Uptons (Justin & B.J.). Mike Cuddyer too, he’s on the Twins. We all sorta grew up together, going to the gym. I’ve played sports my whole life. I was kind of one those, jack-of-all trades guy. I played short stop and third base. I had a knack for short stop. I also played football and basketball. I wound up playing some D-III football. I was going to go to either the University of Virginia or Virginia Tech, but my grades weren’t high enough. They wanted a 4.1 and I had a 3.8. So they were gonna scout me and I was going to transfer to one of those schools my sophomore year.

Jason: What happened after that?
Chris: Well after my first year I came back home and began working in Hooters. Little did I know I would be working there for the next four years (laughs). But anyway, I was performing at this talent show and Teddy Riley picked me up. He’s produced songs for Michael Jackson, Blackstreet. I was with him for about a year and then I ended up working with a different producer when Riley moved to LA. Through my new producer, I met Timbaland and began working for him.

Jason: What was it like working with Timbaland? Around what time was this?
Chris: It was great. I actually didn’t know, but Timbaland’s home was basically right around the corner from me (laughs), so that was cool. It was around the time that Justin Timberlake was working on his FutureSex/LoveSounds album and Nelly Furtado was working on her Promiscuous girl material. I was pretty much trying to get signed as a producer/songwriter/artist…basically, sign me as anything (laughing), I didn’t care. That’s also how you kind of make it in the music business. You have to be pretty diverse.

Jason: Yea, that’s true. So where did it go from there?
Chris: Yea, so while that was going on, I had decided I wanted to try out for American Idol again, this was my third time. I had tried out twice before, but didn’t make. I’m a third times a charm type of guy, so I felt I had to go do it. However, pretty much at the same time, Timbaland asked me if I wanted to be on his Shock Value album, which was a huge deal. I was a huge fan of his (laughs). So I went up to New York and actually wound up making the cut for Hollywood on Idol. When I came back home and told Timbaland, he basically told me I had a decision to make. He was moving from Virginia back to Miami where he lived and I had the choice of either flying down to Miami or going to Hollywood. I already had a record with Timbaland, he just had to finish it up. He wanted me to join his group and push me as an artist. Ultimately I made the decision to go on American Idol and go that route. He already had Ryan Tetter from One Republic and Keri Hilson. That was before Keri came out. Timbaland was still looking for a way to release her.

Jason: Yea, that’s awesome. I remember when she was blowing up and that song with her and Wayne where he goes– “Miss Keri Babyy”.
Chris: Haha, yea that was a great song. Once she finally came out, she really defined her own style. They were worried she had too similar of a sound to Beyonce. I remember talking with her about all of that before she came out and when she finally did I was like, “See you’re nothing like Beyonce at all. You have your own unique style.” And yea, that song with Wayne, it just shows you the crazy power he has. Almost everyone on YMCMB has a track with Wayne as sort of a validation. Sometimes he jumps on so he can push his new artist. They have their own methods and the Wayne method has seems to work pretty well. He’s crazy.

Jason: Yea it definitely has. So back to American Idol for a second. What was the whole American Idol experience like?
Chris: It was really great. They give you the opportunity to become a star, but it’s all about what you make of it. That’s why you see so many of these Idol star’s, kind of stalling in their careers. You still have to work very hard in order to build success after the show. The show is basically a great platform. They show you what life is like as a celebrity and musician. It’s just a taste. You know, we do the concert shows once the season ends and they are all sold out. We did sixty something shows and every single show is sold out. It’s crazy.

Jason: Yea, it seems like a great learning experience.
Chris: Yea, but the fame can go away as quickly as it comes. You know, one day I walk outside and I can’t move. There are girls and fans everywhere. Then, once it’s over, so is that. The four years in between doing Idol and being signed to Cash Money was kind of weird because you go from being so popular, back to being a nobody sorta. It’s kind of a reality check. It made me question whether or not I’d ever make it. Like after all of that and still no record deal. But I just kept working extremely hard, performing every chance I got- I don’t think there’s a single place in VA that I haven’t performed in- and I eventually got what I had been working so hard for. And the fame isn’t necessarily what I wanted. I wanted an everlasting career. The show isn’t meant for that. It’s a seasonal thing. If you don’t work hard to maintain your music career after the show, it’ll never happen.

Jason: Yea that’s definitely true. So now you’re signed to Cash Money. You guys are pretty much directly affiliated with Young Money, correct?
Chris: Yea, like when people ask who I’m signed to, I say YMCMB. It’s basically the same thing. It’s just like, you rep the squad. Only difference is that Slim and Baby sign artists to Cash Money and Lil Wayne handles the signing of his artists to Young Money. It’s really great to be signed to a label like this. On the Cash Money side there’s myself, Kevin Rudolph, Jay Sean and a few other artists, but we’re all like a family. I don’t think I see too many labels travel around together the way they do. Ya know, there’s a family camaraderie. Things are a bit different with us because we are a more in house record label. We roll through award shows together, do shows and events together. We just held the turkey give-a-way in New Orleans. It’s almost like a high school clique. It’s great to have the whole crew there, supporting you at all these events as opposed to just your inner circle or publicist. It can get boring that way. There is an age difference amongst some of us, but as long as we keep that medium of making great music together, age doesn’t really get in the way.

Jason: Yea definitely. What was it like before you signed to Cash Money and were looking for a label?
Chris: It was a bit difficult because labels wanted to sign me to a production deal where I would just do songs for other artists. They wanted to buy the music I had made for other artists and all the catalogs I had organized and kept together. I had been writing so much I had like a catalog for Rihanna, a catalog for Justin, a folder for Wayne. And that just isn’t what I wanted. I wanted someone to push my own music too. So I went back to Virginia for a little while and I signed to a manager who didn’t have my best interests in mind. Then I met my current manager Josh Berkman. We were just out one night and I played him some music. He liked it and he invited me down to Miami where everyone else was. I chilled there for 6 months, just getting to know everybody.

Jason: Yea I see. So how do you go about making music? What are some of your methods?
Chris: I like to stay late. Sometimes til after Wayne even leaves. My whole theory was that if I consume myself with just music, I will make the best music. So I usually get into the studio around 7 AM, and leave at 8 o’clock the next morning. After I make my first album or two, I’ll take a break then. I make it an effort because you see all of these other people that are successful using these methods. It’s a little different for me because they do rap, I’m in different genre of music. I’m in there cutting 30 sets of vocals while they cut 4 records in that amount of time. I’m only recording two line at a time and stacking harmonies on top of it. (laughs) It’s a longer process. Also, with my music, I want to do it in different ways. I want to kinda be all out there. You know, instead of getting your typical guest feature, I want to get Flee from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to play bass.

Jason: Yea that’s funny because I was thinking the same thing the other day. It’d be great to feature Anthony Kiedis or someone like Slash on a record.
Chris: Man, haha, that’s weird stuff. Yea, I completely agree because the way I am looking at it, music now and just in general, everyone is always featured on everyone else’s records.

Jason: Right, and it’s almost become a universal sound, where everyone can collaborate together.
Chris: Yea, exactly. The consensus is you team up with other great talents in the music industry and everyone does songs together. You know, I see it all the time. All the big people from Cash Money, all the big artists from other labels out there- their always teaming up, well, because they make money.

Jason: Yea definitely. You guys also recently signed Busta Rhymes as well.
Chris: Yea, I knew about Busta. He is always in the studio working heavy with us. He’s always around talking to us and Baby.

Jason: So, I gotta ask, what’s it like working with Wayne in the studio?
Chris: With Wayne, it’s really just an inspiration to witness him and how he works. There are also some similarities between himself and myself, which is cool. It might be an age thing, but I don’t know, I feel like I’ve become wiser over the last two years. Wayne and I think in the realm of being persistent and consuming yourself in it. You make the most out of it and when your finished, make sure you have enough to take care of yourself. But plain and simple, he’s just a humbling person. He’s just a great person to be around. It’s the same with everyone that is there all the time. Baby’s always there, Slim’s always there. We have certain in-house producers that are always there such as Detail. We’re keeping it family, so that’s cool to me because you can always just call them right up. There’s almost no need to go searching when you have such a team environment around. It’s just a different way of doing it. It’s unorthodox the way they do it sometimes and I think the Young Money Cash Money fans really like that. There’s a good vibe here. I definitely wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Jason: Yea definitely. So what is Slim like? You really never hear too much about him.
Chris: Yea, well both Birdman and Slim are really intelligent people. Ya know Baby tells me everyday (imitates Baby’s voice), “You’re gonna be a star Chris. You’re gonna be a star”. (laughing) So that’s always good to hear. You don’t see Slim too much because he is mostly behind the scenes. Slim’s a mastermind, ya know. He’s the guy that analyzes everything and is making sure everything is put together and going out. He’s the one that fills the voids and picks the records. He picked “Lollipop” because no one at Universal liked it. That’s how Slim bases his choices. If they don’t like it at Universal, that’s the record he picks. If they do like it, he goes back and picks another that they didn’t. A lot of the records you hear on the radio came about that way. (laughing) He’s crazy. He’s also always reading books. He’s very smart. Slim’s basically a mastermind of strategy. He applies that to building this mega-mogul company. And behind the scenes, is kinda more of his thing, but he’s there every night at the studio. I’ll be working upstairs and he’ll be downstairs working with everyone.

Jason: What about the rest of the Young Money crew? How is it working with them?
Chris: It’s great because I can just bounce around from studio to studio seeing if anyone wants to catch a vibe. Like I’ll help them out if they need a hook or some production work done for their mixtape. It’s really all about building an opportunity. I think that was the point of me kind of being this freelance writer/musician within the camp. I think I have gained a lot of respect amongst them with out really having a smash #1 single out at the moment. It also shows that I have the ability to work on any genre of music, while my own album. I’m really trying to shake the whole American Idol thing and have people appreciate me for my own music. And now that I’m signed, when it happens, it happens.

Jason: Has there been anybody in particular you have gravitated towards more?
Chris: Yea, me and Tyga got pretty close. We have the single out called “Far Away”. I got to perform that with him when he was opening for Chris Brown on the Fame Tour. We did about 20 shows in arena’s and fairs, all sold out. I’m a bit used to the whole arena concert scene mostly because I had the experience of American Idol and those sixty shows under my belt. Like when we walked into the Staples Center it was reminiscent of Idol and everything. It was pretty cool, so I wasn’t too overwhelmed by it, but it still was a terrific experience. There was a different dynamic about it. Instead of singing cover songs, I’m singing my own songs. That’s something the show doesn’t allow you to do too much, so that was really great.

Jason: How did that song come about with Tyga?
Chris: It’s the first song off his album “Careless World”. It came together in a cool way. His producer was in LA and he was like we should work together. And Tyga, not only is he a great rapper, but he’s great song writer and musician. I feel inside every rapper, they want to be a singer. He’s even admitted it (laughing). But he’s written a lot of songs for artists that sing. He puts together the melody, words and everything. So basically his manager said he had a record for me. It was a rough record, kind of unfinished. I really liked it though and I took it back to my condo and layed down the hook. Wayne initially didn’t want it to be the single. He wanted more of a street sounding type of song, but Tyga didn’t come with one, so we went with this and it’s done really well. They pushed it to more rhythmic and urban radio before they pushed it to more of the pop sorta radios. So they were a little confused as to how to push it at first, because it wasn’t as hardcore as the other songs they play. But it it did great. That’s also part of being an artist. You can’t just make songs and be like, “Okay, now tell me what to do.” You have to pay attention to the radio charts and how to promote yourself as an artist as well.

Jason: What do you think is important to building a long, successful career?
Chris: I think being established. If you look at the success’s from the label, they all have a strong foundation. Nicki, Drake, they built that bottom layer to further build off of. If an artist is established, the label will make more money. You will get more endorsement’s and more feature’s. That’s definitely one of the things they have figured out here. They let their artists grow and develop. Like I said before, it’s a unique label. It is almost like freelance music making. You show up and kind of do whatever your feeling. The studio is your office. Through that, you get stronger and make songs that will eventually carry your career. And here at Cash Money, you know, they just got that edge. Their hustler’s. They grind like no other and their almost billionaire’s by now. It’s still the same, hasn’t changed.

Jason: How do you think you have matured over the last couple years?
Chris: Well I’ve been working my ass off to get into this business. It has become more of a goal now than it was when I was younger. You see all the glamour and fame that come along with it. Now that I’m older, I see it’s more about the business. Now it’s like- How do I maintain this and build a career so I can take care of my family. When you’re younger, it’s like, “Lets go party!” (laughs) Now my mindset is different. I have my hands in a lot of baskets. I want to make my own label, production company, I have my own publishing company. I want to make hats and clothes.

Jason: Yea that’d be awesome. Do you have a name yet for your clothing line?
Chris: Yea it’s called Stateline. My publishing company has the same name. We started with hats. We do snapbacks, trucker hats, fedoras, fitteds. We have some of that have a militant vibe. A lot of them are in prototype stages. We are going to try to get into the extreme sports scene. Pretty much anything X-Games oriented. Being from VA, I have always been riding bikes around and stuff like that. We want to spread it out to any demographic that pretty much wears hats. Once I get established, I can begin to ask my friends in other business’s to help rep the line.

Jason: Yea, maybe you should call up David Wright, have him throw a hat on during a press conference.
Chris: (laughing) Yea I know right, but he’s the type of person that would do it. He’s a really nice guy. A lot of people from VA have a good upbringing and are genuine, humble people. And it’s funny because a lot of people from Cash Money remind me of people from VA. Their from the South too. When I met them, I was like, this is a done deal. They were very similar to my friends and family back home.

Jason: Cool man. Aright, so that brings us to my last question. What’s coming in the future? Can you tell me a little bit more about your album and any other projects?
Chris: Yea, well he had the debut single for my album about seven times now (laughs). We have the song and we’re like, “This is it!” Then it isn’t (laughing) and I’ll do another record and their like, “That’s the one!” Haha, so it’s pretty much been like that, but I’m completely okay with that. I’ll make a whole albums worth of singles (laughing). These days you can make a lot of money from singles. I think Drake is a pretty big reason for that. We all remember “Best I Ever Had” and his numerous other singles. He was already making good money and establishing himself way before “Thank Me Later” even came out. But we’re really looking for that one track for Wayne to jump on. When we finally got it, that’ll be it. That’ll be the one. But you know, I’m happy doing what I’m doing now. Like I said before, there’s a method, and it works. I’ve seen how successful Nicki and Drake have become and it’s awesome watching their careers develop. Wayne basically took them in and taught them the whole music business. He really molded them. Anyone that says they would have had this success at other labels…just really isn’t right. They would have had their success, but Wayne gave them that foundation. What they didn’t know about the music business, he was basically like, “Here ya go,” and it’s been really inspirational to watch them take off like they have. I can’t wait to drop my own single and album. I am extremely happy to have found Cash Money. Their the only label that wanted to push me as an artist and thought I was a different. Ya know, there are millions of white dudes that can sing, it’s now my job to add my own twist. So, as I mentioned before, I want to add unique features and create a nice vibe on my album. We already have Travie McCoy, I would like to get Tyga, I would love Flee. Slash would be awesome. I am actually friends with Slash through Ellen DeGeneris. I met Ellen through Idol and we became friends, so she invites me to her birthday party every year. That’s where I met Slash and that’s how you make those weird connections. Its through these random events and people you know. So that’d be great if I can get some of them. I also like searching through the vast amount of talent in the industry. There are tons of producers that out there, that are really good, it doesn’t always have to be a big name. But yea, that’s pretty much it and I guess keep your ears peeled for my debut single and album!

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12 Responses to “Jason Pollak Interviews Cash Money’s Chris Richardson”

  1. Gambino Says:

    Great Post…!


  2. Gaha Says:

    Guy seems to be a pretty too full of himself
    There is a line between humble ans arrogance
    And he just crossed thr second one

    I hate it how new guys like him think they invented music or doing something new when you just had a little record

    But thats the way it gos when a lable signs you
    Its like mind control you turn intro a arrogant prick whos to full of himself


  3. lilweezyfan1 Says:

    ymcmb 🙂 great interview 🙂


  4. Deb Says:

    Great interview from a talented artist Chris Rich! ymcmb and #stateline


  5. Meamesy Says:

    GREAT interview…Chris is and always has been a humble, genuine, talented artist. Can’t wait to hear his debut album!


  6. Kim Says:

    Awesome interview! Chris is so humble and talented! Can’t wait for all his hard work to pay off!


  7. Madeliene Says:

    I don’t think he seems full of himself at all. He seems super humble and he always has been. He deserves some street cred. I loved this interview! I can’t wait to hear his debut single and full album!! Been waiting so long.


  8. joker Says:

    chris is va yea another from va but this kid got swag


  9. im_ill Says:



  10. nolan Says:

    he has a great voice cant wait until he drops a single


  11. aaron Says:

    coolest white guy next to robin thicke hahaha


  12. Dearbee Says:

    His really humble And has a great voice.


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