An exclusive interview with Atlantic Records B.o.B in town promoting his new album at the Hard Rock Cafe Chicago.
Let’s talk about the new album Strange Clouds.
Strange Clouds is everything that I have wanted my album to be since I’ve been making music. I finally feel like I’ve executed on this album and it’s really just as exciting as the first album. I feel like it has better production and I’m actually doing a lot more production myself-displaying a lot more of my musical passions from playing the piano to guitar to producing a song.
Producing a song isn’t just about beating some pads and looping it. It’s about having a vision and manifesting that vision sonically. And I feel I made an even more organic statement with this album. It’s a transcendental project when you really look beyond it-but if not it’s just as enjoyable.
So you were actually playing instruments on the tracks?
Absolutely, like the song “So Hard to Breathe” I produced this with my band. It’s a song I wrote on a guitar-for some years now. I had started writing it before the ‘Adventures of Bobby Ray’ came out. So it kind of manifested in a collaboration with Sean Garrett and he helped bring new life to complete it.
I also have a guitar solo on the album. This album has many different things that really capture everything that I do and everything I bring to the table.
When did you get the inspiration learn to play live instruments?
Well you know-it’s crazy-my brother actually told me to play the guitar. He’s not a guitar player-and I guess he saw that I wanted to do it and said “you should just play the guitar”. And I was like all right.
You can pick up things from other guitar players-but essentially you have to apply yourself and do it. You have to teach yourself how to play it. And playing a guitar and performing with it are entirely two different things. Sitting down and playing and then performing with it I had to learn how to do.
Typically, as an artist you stick to what you were doing as a kid. But for me I didn’t care-I was fine picking the guitar up to play and go for it. It really felt natural to me. I guest it was meant to happen I just started playing it late.
What the story behind the track “So Good”-did you come up with the melody?
Me and Ryan Tetter created “So Good” out in Denver. And that is one of 3 songs that we collaborated on the album. It was chemistry that made it work-you can’t force chemistry-it just happens and that was one of the songs we worked on-it came out amazing and there you have it.
We ended up shooting the video in a couple of spots in Europe and wrapped up in Buenos Aires Argentina. It was good chance to go and see different places and get a good video out of the experience.
When writing a song are you concerned about whether it will be a hit?
I never really let the burden of radio burden me during the recording process. I don’t think any artist should let that burden the process.
Sometimes when you are in the studio and are thinking I want this to be a hit-it’s not productive as it could be. It’s certain things that have to flow and come out. You can edit it later but it has to come out. Taking what just flows and knowing what to do with it is most important.
These are definitely words of wisdom from a still rising superstar who’s sure to find many silver linings in these Strange Clouds. Be sure to download it on iTunes it rocks!