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T-Pain - conducted by James Johnson  


October 2005

After years of grinding and working hard, T-Pain has parlayed his position as a producer into a full-on music career. A chance remake on the streets of Akon's hit single, "Locked Up" helped him get a recording contract. Now, debuting as Akon's breakout protege, T-Pain is ready to show the world just how serious he is about his craft. He's been blowing up the charts with his new single, "Sprung", and now he's ready to "spring" his album on the industry. So it's was only fitting that we sit down and talk to this brother about the album and what's to be expected. We also chop it up about the other projects he's been working on as a producer.

MVRemix: Your name T-Pain is short for Tallahassee Pain. What type of pain and struggle did you endure, growing up in Tallahassee Florida?

T-Pain: It was hard, you know, more so with haters, and crabs in the bucket. Trying to get up out the struggle.

MVRemix: What do you feel like you add to the music scene in your area of Tallahassee? Is there really a big scene there to begin with?

T-Pain: It really isn't, but as far as what I add, I feel like I'm just very different from what we do have. I think it's the idea that my music is true, and I'm not afraid to try different things. Just that it comes from my mind. I don't do something just because I think it will help with airplay...

MVRemix: How did you get started with your music, and how did that ultimately lead you to linking up with Akon?

T-Pain: It was all because of a song that I got from him, basically jackin' his beat, and he heard about it. I remade "Locked Up", and it made a lot of noise. He found me from that, and here we are.

MVRemix: When I talked to you last month the single hadn't really started to blow yet. How does it feel now to see that everyone's feeling your vision?

T-Pain: It's cool man. I didn't expect it at all. I didn't think that things would pop off the way that they have. It was all unexpected, but I'm loving it.

MVRemix: The song and video has been number one on 106 & Park. Did you expect so many people to catch on so soon?

T-Pain: It's crazy, because I watch 106 & Park, but I had been on the road so much that I had been missing the show. So I had no idea that the song was even in rotation. It took people calling me and telling me how good it was doing for me to see.

MVRemix: Your vocals on "Sprung" are computerized a bit, just the same way that Roger Troutman used the voice box equipment. What made you go with that sound?

T-Pain: It's not throughout the whole album, but I did use it on selected tracks. I wanted to make my voice more of an instrument.

MVRemix: Besides love and being sprung, what other topics are you exploring on this album?

T-Pain: One of the titles for my album was "Going Though A Lot", and that's basically what it is. It's about my life, and the struggles, choices, and everything. It's more like an R&B type thing. My music is more relative, more reality based.

MVRemix: Who's handling all of your production for the album?

T-Pain: Right now, it's all me.

MVRemix: How long have you been producing?

T-Pain: Man, I've been producing for a long time. I was about eight years old when I first got started.

MVRemix: What do you remember about the first beat you crafted?

T-Pain: Man, the first beat I made was a hip-hop version of "Life Every Voice And Sing". That was like the first thing I learned how to play on the keyboard, so you know, I played it.

MVRemix: As a child when you first got your equipment and what not, was that something you got into consciously, or did you just stumble across it?

T-Pain: It was something, you know, that I fell into. I was playing around with the keyboards and I got pretty good at it.

MVRemix: Who are some of the people that you have produced for, and who are some of the people you're going to be producing for in the near future? Do you have any new projects lined up?

T-Pain: I produced a track for Charlie Wilson's new album, Youngbloodz, Akon, and a few others. I'll be doing some work for 3LW, some stuff for Trillville, Juvenile, Big Boi of Outkast. So it's going down. I just did a hook for E-40 last night.

MVRemix: How long did it take for people to really see your talent and the vision that you have behind the boards?

T-Pain: It didn't take long at all man. It caught me by surprise because it takes a while for a lot of people, but that didn't take long at all.

MVRemix: Well that works for sure man, because now it's like you have a side gig away from being an artist.

T-Pain: Yeah, it is. That's exactly what it is.

MVRemix: Do you feel like you're always going to have time to continue producing other acts now that you've blown up as an artist yourself?

T-Pain: I think I'm just going to have to make time for it. I'll definitely still be doing that.

MVRemix: Have you always been big on R&B? What artists are you listening to outside of yourself?

T-Pain: Oh yeah, definitely. I listened to that more than rap most of the time. As far as what's out there now, I'm not really feeling a lot of it. Shit like what I'm doing, Devin The Dude, Cee-Lo, I'm feeling that. Music with a vision.

MVRemix: Coming into music and entertainment, who were some of your major musical influences? Who inspired you to do this?

T-Pain: Honestly, my primary influence was my father. He was doing music himself, so I would just watch the things that he was doing. He would always take me to the studio, so I was able to see and learn a lot of things.

MVRemix: What was it about R&B though, that made you say, "This Is For Me"?

T-Pain: I couldn't really tell you. It was just something about the style when I first heard it.

MVRemix: Did you do any collaborations at all for the album?

T-Pain: Yea, Akon of course, I got a song with Bonecrusher, one with Styles P, and I'm working with a few others, and we'll see what happens. I definitely don't want the album to be full of features.

MVRemix: Well as far as collaborations, I know you see a lot now where R&B artists feel like they need to have a boatload of rappers on their songs to get their point across. You consciously steered away from so many guest features, but why do you think that it's become such a big thing with R&B/Hip-Hop collaborations?

T-Pain: It's times when the audience is really feeling rap more than R&B. All the best producers are rap producers, or hip-hop producers. I think hip-hop is going to be a part of it either way you go. A lot of the listeners now, they want to hear a rapper on that beat, and sometimes if the artist ain't got one, they'll rap on it themselves.

MVRemix: What else are you doing for promotion of the album? Are you doing shows?

T-Pain: Oh god yes, I'm doing a lot of shows.

MVRemix: So what's it like for you? Are you like the opening act?

T-Pain: No, I haven't had an opportunity to open for anybody yet. It's cool though. I've had really good crowds, and I get good responses from the audience.

MVRemix: You've definitely been working really hard for the past few months. What does leisure time look like? Do you ever really get time to chill for a minute?

T-Pain: The only way I'm getting that is if I run away. That's it, or hide. I tired man. I'm under the covers in the bed right now man.

MVRemix: Where can we hit you up online man? What's the website?

T-Pain: Right now, everybody can check me out at

MVRemix: So tell me man, what else can we look for from you until the album drops?

T-Pain: Just some more fire man. A lot more fire.

MVRemix: Final comments?

T-Pain: The album is out on December 6th so go pick that up. Also, I'm starting a label called Nappy Boy Entertainment, so look out for that has well.

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"It didn't take long at all man. It caught me by surprise because it takes a while for a lot of people, but that didn't take long at all."