SMH. And in a story titled “Introducing The ‘New’ Chris Brown?” no less. EBONY had the opportunity to interview Breezy and preview some of the new songs from his upcoming album X — while the story seems poised as a chance for Chris to be given a fair trial. Except it’s clear the folks at EBONY are already jaded…
They start by saying:
When I first learned I would be interviewing Chris Brown I didn’t know what to expect. One friend joked that I should “bring a facemask” to our chat, and my 78-year-old grandmother wondered why I was interviewing “that boy who beat up that girl.”
Then introduce the whole — who is the real Chris Brown, is this the new Chris Brown concept. Peep the excerpts below:
Who is the real Chris Brown?
Recently, Brown invited EBONY.com into the studio to hear an exclusive sneak peek of his upcoming album, X (due out later this summer), and if the music is any indication of where the chart-topping singer is headed next, then this new and improved Chris Brown just might convert a few haters into bona fide fans.
Unlike his edgy (and sometimes explicit), pop-infused music of late, the five tracks I sampled (“Fine China,” “X,” “Autumn Leaves,” “Add Me In,” and “Lady in a Glass Dress”) were soulful, introspective, and revealed an emotional maturity and vulnerability we’re certainly not used to hearing from Breezy.
EBONY.com: It seems like you’re more introspective this time around. You’re talking about love. Are you in love? What is the inspiration for this album?
Chris Brown: The title of the album is called X. So basically, it’s defining who I am as a 24-year-old male trying to grow up. But also X is also a release. X is almost like the forbidden sign, or caution, So it kind of demonstrates not always being the good guy all the time, but identifying with the people who don’t have a voice, or never had a chance, or never had that yes in their life. So with X that kind of defines who I am, being able to have that voice through my music.
[With his legs propped up and arms crossed tightly across his chest, Chris smiled but was clearly guarded. It was also clear he wanted to keep the conversation on his music and little else, he clearly avoided the love question.]
EBONY.com: I went back to listen to all of your albums and it seems like you grew up a lot on [F.A.M.E. and Fortune]. So what have you learned about yourself personally and musically over these last few years?
CB:It’s just been a growing process for me in general. I think everybody is expected to grow. I think me being 15 [when I came out], I wouldn’t want to have the same mentality I had back then, now. So just me going through different personal experiences and life lessons and dealing with relationships and love.
My album kind of brings my interpretation of everything that I’ve been through in my life—and everything that I’m going through. You really hear it from the horse’s mouth when you get a chance to hear this album. You get a chance to take a journey with me and kinda see my growth as a young man, not a full-grown man, but a young man.
[He says the last part, “not a full-grown man,” with a sly smile and I’m reminded that despite being in the business for the last 8 years, Chris is only 23.]
EBONY.com: Do you think sometimes people treat you differently because they don’t really grasp that you are so young?
CB: I kind of struggled with that myself to try to find out why people put me on their pedestal. But you know what it is? It’s a responsibility. For me, the responsibility I have to be an idol or to be looked upon as talented or creative or an inspiration–that comes with the territory.
People will automatically bring you into their life because you’re almost a part of it. Being on the radio all the time or being in a video, you’re always accessible and your life is for display. With me it’s just about the responsibility I have to take in and being able to learn from my actions and being able to show people the good isht.
EBONY.com: Because if you leave it up to the media…
CB: If you leave it up to them you’ll be the worst dude in the world [laughs].
But for me, I’m not trying to woo the naysayers–there’s always going to be people with opinions all the time—for me it’s just being able to put the music out and letting it speak for itself.
EBONY.com: How have you negotiated the whole social media thing? You want to let your music speak for itself, but you also speak for yourself…
CB: Used to [cracks a knowing smile]. I detached myself from social media only because it just takes away the magic. Twitter is a good outlet for certain people, but I think for me and the message I’m trying to portray, it’s all about the music, the magic, and the creativity of what I’m doing.
If you show somebody how to do a magic trick, it’s not a magic trick anymore.
[I wonder if Chris also detached himself from Twitter because of his memorable tweet beefs. He insists it’s about preserving the mystery, but I’m not so sure.]
EBONY.com: Until now, you haven’t been doing interviews; so are you ready to get back out there and talk to people when they’re probably going to press you about things from the past?
CB: I think I’m more in a comfortable spot. I’ll also try to make the right choices, but it’s always going to be that one journalist or someone who wants to make their career off of the slip up. So I just have to be cognizant of it and realize that everybody has an opinion, everybody has a view on how they view things. I can’t judge or blame them for how they view anything. I just have to be myself the best I can and hopefully their perception won’t be as negative as what people say.
[Despite claiming that the opinions of others don’t bother him, it’s clear that it does. He’s brought it up several times during our chat, so it’s clearly on his mind. Perhaps this explains why he’s been mum toward the media, but he seems ready to open up—just a little bit—now.]
EBONY.com: So it sounds like you’re embracing the whole role model label…
CB: Loosely. I would say, loosely.
I do a lot of charitable stuff that I don’t try to put out there to get a pat on the back for; I do my own thing. But in the process, everything I do is positive. I don’t have a negative focus. I don’t want to influence [my fans] to do the wrong thing or promote anything that’s negative. So with my music, responsibility is the key. It’s a big responsibility to excite people, to make people love my music, to make people happy, smile, whatever the case may be. So with that responsibility it’s almost like hmm I can’t do too much, but as a young man I’m going to live my life and have diversity and have obstacles that come and I have to overcome them.
A role model is something I can aspire to be.
[Call me crazy, but I start to believe him…]
EBONY.com: What else do you wish people knew about you?
CB: Umm….[Chris exhales loudly and takes a long pause]. That’s a good question.
I mean…I don’t have an ambition of them knowing, or having to know…because I feel like a naysayer or a person with an opinion is just that, a person with an opinion. I respect it; constructive criticism is great all of the time. I really would want them to identify with the music, and identify with the different aspects of my creativity. That’s it. And I’m not just saying, “Give me a pat on the back and say I’m doing good,” but actually just see it and honestly appreciate it for what it is. Instead of personal situations they might blame me for, or a life experience that you wish you took back when you was young. [Nervous laughter.]
But as of now, it’s just about moving forward and fully being able to do that with my music.
So much to say about this one! First off — the parenthetical editorial notes were super DISTRACTING. Why didn’t EBONY let Breezy speak for himself before adding their final assessment? Did that irk you too? Also — the writer points out that at 23 Chris is so young — almost giving him an excuse for his constant juvenile behavior. If anything the fact that he’s been in the business for eight years makes his age even LESS of an excuse. He should be more mature — not less. Don’t you think?
We definitely want to hear your thoughts.
Is this really a new Chris Brown? And do you think his failure to mention Rihanna is any indication that they’re on the outs again right now?