Not to be confused, boxed in or known as a Neo soul artist but an R&B artist with soul. Darien Brockington got his voice in the studio by enrolling in the same university as Big Pooh and Phonte of Little Brother. While still working at a bank, D-Brock ran into Big Pooh who was on his way to tour in Japan. When Pooh returned from overseas the next time they would hook up would be in the studio. Now Darien Brockington is out to prove that rhythm and blues still exists as long as you got soul.
MVRemix: What was it like being in the studio with 9th Wonder, Pete Rock and Nicolay?
Darien Brockington: Man I have to be honest with you, the only person I actually got to work with was 9th. You know technology has changed a whole lot of things and the first album which was The Feeling consisted mostly of Nicolay. A lot of those tracks were sent mostly to where I am today. The Pete Rock joints were sent over the internet. But working with 9th heís probably one of the easiest people to work with, heís real laid back. He knows how to get out of you what is needed for the song, so working with 9th was like a real easy thing.
MVRemix: They say your name means he who upholds the good, what do you feel about R&B right now and what is your take on it? Is it doing what it could be doing, or could it be doing more?
Darien Brockington: I think it could be doing more and whatís inclusive in that more is give us options, you know what I mean, like I would never tell you what the next man does is wack or shouldnít be on the radio. Now, I have my own tastes and there are some things I donít like but I donít think I have the right to say this isnít good music because it could be good to somebody else and not me. But at the same time what I do see is good and what other people see as good music we donít hear it on the radio waves it gets overlooked so I think just getting back to a place where you could listen to the radio and hear your favorite joint and somebody elseís favorite joint, and people getting broken in like they used to in the past. Like those days you had a vast selection to select from and we went from there. You would learn who was out there doing what based on that. You have to dig for everything and Iím not really feelin that right now.
MVRemix: You said that you had songs that reminded you of certain points in your life, can you talk about what those songs were and what was happening at those points in your life?
Darien Brockington: You talking about the new project or the old one?
Darien Brockington: Well from the feeling there was a song that I did called Dedication and for the majority of that album and the one thatís out now I was talking about a relationship that I was in. You know and me and the girl were together and everything was at a very good place and it was one of those things where I felt really proud to be with her and have her on my arm like that. So that really triggered me being able to sit down and articulate how I felt about her and our love, and how others perceived our love. Because even in our relationship in our close circles they were rooting for us, I mean it was a really good relationship I mean we still cool we like close friends we just didnít work out for the moment, but you know it is what it is and I was able to grab from that and I was also able to grab from that bad as well. Like when we were contemplating letting go and this was our life and that was on The Feeling as well. And with this current project Somebody To Love and the single Think It Over that talks about how weíve known each other for a while and I have finally gotten to the point where I wanted to be more than just her friend you know what I mean like we were friends first and those experiences are really real and sometimes when I write I need to write to see exactly how I feel about the situation. And thatís usually what I do whether its confusion it kind of gives me clarity and thatís how that applies. I would say 80% of my album is about me and the other is about things Iíve seen or heard.
MVRemix: Did you write most of the album?
Darien Brockington: For Somebody to Love I wrote most of the album. I wrote it in two weeks actually. I really tapped into my past and things I was experiencing around the times and we were knocking it out.
MVRemix: Explain to the viewers or to the fans how you came about. You knew Phonte and Big Pooh from Little Brother in school but you didnít start working with them until they had just started getting on what was that transition like from being a banker to going in the studio?
Darien Brockington: Everything came as a shock I knew who they were but I wasnít into the extent of their success and where they were going it really didnít hit me until I started standing on the stage and the people were in front of us, or when I heard my voice on the radio, it really took me to be with them to think wow this thing is huge. Like I had no idea, really I had no idea.
MVRemix: Do you remember your first performance and what was that like? Did you have any stage fright, because I know you said you were deeply rooted in the church so Iím sure you were performing in front of people as a kid?
Darien Brockington: Man, Iíve been singing in front of people since I was 5 and Iím just now getting over stage fright. Brotha, I did my first show with LB I was in New York right around when Foregin Exchange was about to drop and I performed Come Around and some how the song got leaked and I was literally in a corner just nervous just jacked up B.
MVRemix: So what helped you get over that?
Darien Brockington: It was just one of those things you keep doing it and keep doing it, itís one of those things that you work through. Iím pretty secure in myself but there are some things that I get insecure about and its one of those things you have to work through and Iíve been able to stand in front of those people and work through it. I started to realize that the worst I could do is mess up and once I started to realize that then I got over that fear as well.
MVRemix: What is your viewpoint on the whole the media has labeled as Neo Soul movement or period or era would you agree with it would you consider yourself to be a part of it do you want to be a part of it what is your view?
Darien Brockington: Wow, how can I handle this question? This is how I feel about it brother; I feel like the term Neo Soul hurt that whole movement because I feel like before neo soul it was R&B it was just good R&B music because with R&B you could hear Jagged Edge on the same radio station as Erykah Badu just 10 years ago. When it started to be called Neo Soul it started creating boxes inside of R&B but I mean Motown had a sound but nobody was putting Motown in a box you know other stuff was going on during the Motown sound so I think when we did that it kind of hurt our movement. Do I support the movement, I think with the movement we have the responsibility to create good music, I think it becomes a problem when people within that take the responsibility upon themselves to decide what is good music. It could not be a certain way it canít be deemed as soulful and I have a problem with that, and what we inturn end up doing on the soul side is trying to sound like what the commercial side is doing and if it doesnít sound a certain way its not commercial enough. With that said I just decide to go to the beat of my own drum. I feel like soul comes from within, so if I decide I want to do a country album guess what its going to be soulful because itís coming from my soul. No matter what I do its still going to be soul music because itís coming from whatís in the inside of me. So I wonít put myself in that box and say Iím a neo soul dude, I would lean more to say Iím an R&B singer with soul and thatís probably the safest way I can say that. Iím not really in that battle right now Iím just doing what I love to do.
MVRemix: When you said you were working for the bank corporate would try to get more out of you for less money, do you feel like that has happened in the record industry, is there a lot of tug and pull, do you have to compromise any of your art or is it straight Darien Brockington?
Darien Brockington: To answer your first question, yeah I think thatís with anything even though its music at the end of the day music is being run by corporations. So yeah if they can get a whole lot out of you without spending a whole lot of money than yeah thatís what their going to do. And also labels are not selling records like they used to so in terms of me an my approach to that I approached it like what it means if I did certain things and I factored all of that and I thought about how much am I willing to take out of that and at the end of the day I didnít take anything out. I did what I thought was best for me. I donít feel like in anyway I compromised my sound because what folks are gonna hear has always been me. Does it fit with what is going on right now? Yeah it does, but basically what Iím trying to say is that if you are gonna step to the table and you want to play the game, play the game figure out who you are in this game and make sure you do it in a way where you represent yourself right and yet you can get to the masses and I feel like thatís your job, more than what you love to do, its your job so do your job!!!
MVRemix: So who is doing most of the production on the album or do you have a variety of different people?
Darien Brockington: I have a whole lot of people but the main person is E. Jones. I know thatís a new name for a whole lot of people but it wonít be very long. And finally I got 9th Wonder on board so I was blessed to have him play a part. Also Vitamin E, Sheldon Williams, Khrysis, so I have a whole dope line up.
MVRemix: Where is E. Jones out of?
Darien Brockington: He is originally from New Jersey and he also goes to Central so the connection was made from school and that seems to be the reoccurring thing.
MVRemix: You have always been Darien Brockington but since you have become the singer, songwriter, what has been the craziest thing that has happened to you thus far?
Darien Brockington: Well performing wise I was in Atlanta and I got sing on stage with my peers, I was on stage with Jaguar Wright and Trina Broussard, Eric Roberson, and Algebra and I have never done that before and it was just real rewarding to put it a whole lot of work and see that my work is actually paying off. Not only am I doing what their doing but I got a lot of respect from them to and that meant a lot for your peers to see you do what you do and endorse you like that.
MVRemix: What is the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning?
Darien Brockington: I need to pray.
MVRemix: What is the thing you canít stand?
Darien Brockington: I hate to be lied to.
MVRemix: Has that happened in the record industry?
Darien Brockington: Um, yeah it has a few times actually. Be straight up with me and we can keep it moving either it is or it ainít.
MVRemix: What is the thing that gives you the greatest joy about your art?
Darien Brockington: That my job is what I love to do that is rewarding doing my passion.