R&B artist Bobby Valentino was in the District recently to promote his new album "Fly on the Wall." The singer celebrated its release at Bar 7 (1015 1/2 Seventh St. N.W.) and held a record signing at urban fashion retailer DTLR (902 H St. N.E.).
Niteside caught up with Valentino to discuss his new music, being counted out, and building the R&B brand.
Tell me about your new album and what makes it stand out from those that came albums before it.
I named it "Fly on the Wall" because I've been in the industry for quite some time. I'm allowing my fans to be a fly on the wall with me. I think besides it being a great album, the features with artists like Lloyd Banks, Fifty Cent [and] Twista... make it stand out. Also, we had some of the best producers working on it, like Los and Bryan Michael Cox. Not to mention it has 18 songs, not common at all.
You've been through a lot in the last few years, transitioning to different record labels, being at the top of the charts and then completely off. How challenging was all of that for you?
It was definitely an uphill battle. However, with adversity, if you can overcome it, it can make you stronger. A lot of people counted me out, but I turned all that negativity into something positive.
How hard is it to stay on top in this industry?
You're always going to have competition. I have a lot of artists who are my friends but they're also my competitors. It's a grind; you have to really work hard to stay on top.
R&B is a hard genre of music to stand out in. Do you find yourself being compared to Chris Brown, Trey Songz, and other well-known artists?
[I] stay in my own lane. Other people make the comparisons. They're good artists, but I just happen to be better.
What do you want people to take away from the album?
I want them to take away that I do quality R&B music. My sound is going to stay consistent; I plan to be around for a long time. It's a musical experience.
What advice can you give to rising artists?
You have to be confident; you have to believe in yourself. Have to walk like you know that you're the best. You can't just be talking the talk and not walking the walk.
What do you want your legacy to be?
Rhythm and Blues. I want to help build the R&B brand, to stay true to it, and be one who was known for making quality music.