T-Pain and the joy
R&B artiste and producer T-Pain on growing up in Tallahassee, the new album, and why he uses Auto-Tune
MUSICAL TO A T T-Pain
A Grammy Award can never be a bad thing. T-Pain has two — one with Kanye West for the single ‘Good Life' in the Best Rap Song category in 2008 and another in 2010 with Jamie Foxx for ‘Blame It' for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group. T-Pain's other collaborations include those with Ludacris, Ciara, DJ Khaled, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Taylor Swift and Benny Benassi. The singer/rapper/producer who draws his stage name from his hometown of Tallahassee in Florida was in New Delhi recently to perform as part of the Delhi leg of Tuborg Vh1 Hip Hop Hustle.
Poised on the brink of the release of his fourth album, rEVOLVEr, with two of the singles already out on airwaves, T-Pain in an email interview talks about his music and his well-publicised, albeit controversial, use of pitch-correcting audio processor Auto-Tune.
Musically, how was it growing up in Tallahassee?
My parents are from Miami and they moved to Tallahassee before I was born. There aren't many record executives that come through Tallahassee, so you really have to make a lot of noise to get recognised.
The artistes who have inspired you.
I was inspired (and still am) by Cee Lo and Busta Rhymes. They are very talented and paved their own way, which I respect.
You started by being part of the rap group Nappy Headz. It was before Akon heard your cover of his single ‘Locked up' and signed you on to his label Konvict Muzik. After that you've been singing more actively than rapping. Why?
I love singing. But not just rap and hip hop. I love all music and have a different appreciation for all the genres.
You are widely known for your use of Auto-Tune. iPhone even released an application called ‘I Am T-Pain', which allowed fans to record and modify their voice using an auto-tuner to sing along with instrumental versions of your songs. How do you react to criticism of your use of Auto-Tune?
I started using it because I liked the sound and it was different. People are entitled to their opinions and I respect that. It doesn't bother me.
You've produced the animation musical “Freaknik: The Musical” for Cartoon Network, which featured you as the voice of the ghost , besides featuring other artistes such as Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne. How was it to be a part of it?
I'm into cartoons and watch Adult Swim whenever I can. I started doing voiceover work for them a few years ago and we started kicking around the concept of Freaknik. It was a lot of hard work, but I had fun doing it and the show was a big success. Stay tuned for more on Freaknik soon.
On future albums and collaborations...
I'm getting ready to release my fourth album rEVOLVEr this fall and currently have ‘Best Love Song' (featuring Chris Brown) and ‘Booty Wurk' (One Cheek at a Time) on radio. There are some expected features and some not so expected, so you'll have to check it out.
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