Musiq Soulchild: ‘Nobody Is Thinking Long-Term’

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Musiq Soulchild was in the D.C. this past week promoting his new album "MusiqInTheMagiq." He talks exclusively with Niteside about how he's grown as an artist and longevity in the music industry.

Your album was released on May 3 and has already generated a lot of positive feedback. The Roots even gave your album praise. How does that feel to be recognized positively by your listeners and your peers? 

It's definitely nothing less than an honor. I'm not the type of dude that likes to talk big stuff about myself; I'd rather do the work and let people talk about it that way -- that would be confirmation for me. I guess it was something that I have done right on this project, it's something that's happening and people are really impressed by it. 

In the past you've mentioned your love of collaborating with other artists, but this album has no collaborations. Why did you decide to keep it clean and feature just Musiq Soulchild?

I have one collaboration with Swizz [Beatz]. I like to keep it eclectic and very different too. Just Swizz for now, [but] I'm definitely looking forward to working with anybody who is willing to work with me. I'm not really that kind of dude that is not going to work with other artists. If I could work with like Wiz Khalifa... I'll do it.

I'm willing with work with anybody that is willing to work with me as long as it makes sense, because it's not really about each individual artist. It's about you guys as long as it's something that the listeners can be entertained by. And I just picked Wiz because that is one of the first people that come to mind, and he is definitely on the up and on the up-rise, so shouts out to Wiz.

Regarding the new class of singers coming onto the scene, a lot of them seem to be "one-hit wonders" and disappear as fast as they appeared. How were you able to keep your fan base and gain new fans in the process?

I think that my track record is what you could use. I think it has a lot to do with my work ethic. I choose to take a realistic approach and therefore more people can identify with it on a realistic basis. I like to think the legacy of music I'm contributing to is something everybody can identify with.

Everybody is trying to get that quick money and nobody is thinking about that long-term contribution because with the money or not, what's the point if you can't stick around?

I can do something right now for a couple of dollars, but five years later you are not gonna care. I would rather do something that might not get the same attention of what is poppin' hard these days, but I know 10 years from now, you will still be checking for me because it will be my investment. I am greatful that I have been able to maintain some sense of credibility and relevancy. The fact that there is still room for me and someone like me to do what I do -- that is definitely a blessing. 

You definitely have longevity in the music industry because this is your sixth studio album. How do you continue to reinvent yourself?

I don't think about it, and even more so, I think you guys dictate whether or not I'm reinventing myself. I'm just naturally becoming what I'm becoming. I felt like cutting my hair off and getting a mohawk, it wasn't no real mythodical plan or method behind it or strategic plot, I just felt like doing it. I thought it was fresh, I did it, I liked it and I kept it.

That's pretty much how my process is with everything. I don't dig too deep into anything. I let my track record and my history dictate whether or not I have reinvented myself or whether or not I stood the test of time. 

Ultimately, what have you most anticipated about the debut of your new album?

I'm anticipating that people still care. I don't take those things lightly. I recognize that this is a very competitive game, especially making soul music in a world where hip-hop and pop music is getting a lot of attention, it's cool, I'm just saying the fact that people still care, the fact that people are still asking for me, the fact that I'm still considered as relevant and credible, that right there is enough for me.

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