When VEDO dropped Mood Swings back in January, one might have thought that was enough; however, after dropping his sixth album and embarking on his first tour in April such was not the case. A few months after that release, he dropped his seventh album, perfectly titled 7. The album took a turn from Mood Swings and was what he describes as a solid R&B album.
Having been on his artistic journey for a number of years. His face may be familiar by way of the Voice USA, where he took part in the competition under the mentorship of Usher. However, since then, he has embarked on an eight-year career, which has resulted in 7 albums. Not to mention, he has had an enriching career as a songwriter, penning songs for the likes of Chris Brown, Usher and August Alisia, to name a few.
This year marks eight years since he dropped his debut album 93 back in 2015, and since then, he has consistently been making music, which has resulted in a catalogue of R&B music, which has resulted in him being among the new R&B artists to be on the look for. His latest offering, 7, is another example of this, as he gives the most solid R&B project to date.
Catching up with Vedo, we spoke to him about everything from his career so far, his new album 7, maintaining mystery as an artist, his relationship with Usher, and so much more.
The album 7 came out a month ago, so what has it been like seeing the reaction?
It’s been amazing, to be honest with you. I’ve been getting a lot of different reviews; most of them are, this is my best album. So I feel really good about it. People are receptive to it. This is true R&B, and it’s a significant number seven, which is my seventh album, so it’s a very special project to me, and to see how people have responded to it has been incredible.
You released another album, Mood Swings, in January, and then followed by 7 . Was that always the plan to drop two albums in the same year?
Honestly, no, it wasn’t; I just went with my gut on this one. I had a bunch of creative juices flowing, and I just had music in my head. I wanted to get it out to share with the world. Once I finished this album, I said I wanted to put this album out before 2024. That was a great thing that I did because it goes against what I usually would do, which is one album a year. And the fans love that; they appreciate that I released another whole second album in the same year to give them new music.
Was there a specific plan for how you made both Mood Swings and then 7, or was it just something that happened organically in how they both came together?
Mood Swings was a planned album. It was one of those things where I sought certain songs and specific sounds. However, for 7, this was just a collection of great music that I had created over the course of a year. It was a compilation of outstanding records. I just wanted this album to feel good. Mood Swings had a different meaning and a more significant message, you know, being human and having different moods and living in your truth. But I wanted 7 to feel beautiful and be a good R&B album.
There is more of a pure R&B feel on 7, whereas Mood Swings has a bit more variation of sound infused to it. How did you craft the specific sound for 7?
With 7, I didn’t want too fast and up-tempo songs that were more mid and slow. I wanted them to have some R&B chord progressions in it, even with the songs that have bridges on them. Bridges are huge in R&B. I did a couple of songs on Mood Swings, which had a bridge, too. But the songs 7, these songs were specifically written and tailored so I could get the authenticity of R&B. I wanted it that when you go back and listen to it, you get a little bit of Usher, a little bit of Marvin Gaye because you know; honestly, these guys influenced it.
With this being your seventh album and the number 7 having very significant meanings, what does this album mean to you?
This album resonates with trusting in myself. That’s something I’ve adapted over my career; I started to trust my gut. Like I said, this was a feeling; it was something I felt like I needed to do. I just wanted to trust my gut; I wanted to drop fire music. This represents growth, and it represents a growth in music itself. The sequence of songs and the solid storyline of an entire album make everything cohesive because this is my seventh album, but this is the most solid R&B as a whole that I’ve released. Not that this is not my best, but it is one of my strongest as a whole.
You introduce more depth to this album and things you haven’t previously touched on. Love is a theme that plays across your catalogue, but with this album, you speak on your faith; Grown @ss Women celebrates female empowerment. So what about opening up more emotionally into speaking on these topics?
People love, and I learned that a minute ago. As an R&B artist, you have this notion that you have to give women and girls this false sense of hope that they can be with you one day, so you try not to sing so much about being in love so much. But then I learned that people love the fact that a person can be committed to somebody or something, and I just said that I was going to put my truth out there and start singing about the woman I love and the things I love and other inspirational things. And some people thought it was corny and said I was a simp and things like that, but that’s just who I am. I like making music like that, and the first time was a little nerve-wracking, especially with 7 being an R&B album. Putting the song on there that’s inspirational borderline gospel because people have their own outlook on things, but a lot of people are very receptive to it. At the end of the day, what I wanted that song to do listeners was to understand that, hey, we all love good R&B, I love music, we love a good time, but we all need God as well. So let’s not get complacent in living and having and doing our thing if God is the reason we’re all here.
So, speaking specifically to that song I Need You, how did that come together with you and Lecrae?
It was wild because I had connected with Lecrae some years ago, and we both had already agreed we should do something and, you know, merge our two styles. I didn’t have the right record at the time. So I said, let’s wait until I get the right record, and so I finally got I Need You, which was produced by my brother Keyz. Then I hit Lecrae, and I was like, I’ve got a record, and he was receptive and was like, okay, great, send it to me, and it just happened organically. It really wouldn’t. It wasn’t a hard thing to do; it just happened organically.
You are a talented songwriter, not only for yourself but also other artists too. How have you sharpened your song writing skills for this new album?
Anything you do for a long time or over a while you get good at, sometimes I have good years, I have bad years, Some months, I’ll write, you know, I write ten songs, and only one of them, you know, stands out to me. The process is amazing. As long as I’m living and experiencing new things and meeting new people, I only grow from there. And I think the main thing is to have to study, don’t just study the greats, don’t just study people who have 10 Grammys or whatever. Just study every facet of music, whether it’s somebody that has 100 followers or it’s like to have 100 million followers; study everything because you never know what’s going to be next. Especially with, you know, this TikTok era, it’s good to just what is happening, see what sort of trends you see, what people are listening to. It’s just all the process; everything nowadays goes hand in hand.
Its been eight years since you dropped youer debut album 93 back in 2015, what big changes have you noticed in the indusrty since then?
Everything, the way people digest music, the duration of a song. Even things like the structure, as I said, you have to adapt and go with the time. Songs went from being five minutes to being three minutes. Now you got to try to get your thoughts out in three minutes. The music in the music matters, but it started not to matter as much. It’s more about your popularity, whether you can entertain people outside of music, whether you are funny on Instagram and things like that, or just being personable. Many of these things back in the day, when there wasn’t Instagram or TikTok, artists would drop music, and you would have to go to the concert to see them. That was the mysterious aspect, but there is no more mysterious aspect to music. It’s like you drop music and then go live on Instagram so that they can see you and you can tell them what it’s about. So yeah, a lot of those things have changed.
How have you been able to maintain that momentum to keep people interested?
First and foremost, be true to yourself as a person. Don’t try to drop music that you think people want to hear; drop music that you love; drop music that is true to you. Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself and not become a different person, but try something new. Try something new to try to keep people entertained. You know, you’re going on tour, touching the fans, talking to them. That speaks for fans. And I get, you know, fans like this authenticity aspect of their favourite artists. So, for me, that’s how I do it, and it’s how I’ve been able to stay engaged and connected with my fans.
Through appearing on The Voice you met Usher, who was your mentor. What has it been like having someone like Usher as mentor you throughout your career?
It’s been amazing. One can only imagine having a living legend like Usher in your corner. We learned so much from him, especially about music, about ways to stay relevant and things like that. Usher has done an outstanding job at transitioning with the times as far as using social media to stay relevant. He still has that urge for people to want to hear what’s next from him. Eric and I, doing his Tiny Desk, were soaking up the knowledge man, soaking up the knowledge for him. But you know, it’s just amazing. I mean, having him in a big brother aspect, anything goes wrong, call him and get his advice and things like that.
For this time and this moment in your career, with everything that you’ve achieved and even the albums this year and the tour, what would you say has been a highlight for you?
Oh, man, a bunch of highlights, I mean both my albums that I’ve dropped this year went number one. The Tiny Desk with Eric Bellinger and Usher was a moment. Mood Swings is considered for a GRAMMY, as is my single Forever. These are milestones that I’ve always been trying to reach, and in just a short time I’ve done all these things. Back in April, I did my first tour ever in my whole career, and now I’m doing my second tour this year. So yeah, everything I’ve been doing throughout my career was preparation for this moment.
We’ve spoken a lot about music, but what do you tend to do or other aspects of entertainment that feed and maintain your creativity and keep you going?
Family. I hang out a lot with my friends. I talk to people about their problems. I do therapy, and I do a lot of different things to keep just to keep me on the up and up. I don’t go to church as much as I should, but you know, I pray every day, all day; my relationship with God is significant to me and is a very special one to me. I try to keep my sanity; I try to remain human, regardless of how much success I’ve gained, because it’s very, very easy to lose yourself in all of the lights and the glitz and glamour, so I just try to stay as human as possible.
What advice would you give to new artists starting?
The main thing is staying true to yourself and knowing this will not happen overnight. You know, this will take a lot of sacrifice and dedication, a lot of time spent away from family and friends. This will sometimes be isolating; you have to isolate yourself to find out things about you that you didn’t know. You should stick to your guns and remain creative. Keep working, regardless of whether you have one person listening to your songs or you have a million people listening to your songs. You know, your goal should be to do songs because you love it, and then people will love it. You don’t do songs. After all, you don’t do songs because you want people to love you. You do the music because you love music.
7 is out now, follow Vedo via @vedothesinger
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