Kevin McCall is a man of many titles. Singer/Songwriter/Rapper/Producer… the word talented is easily an understatement for this dude. Many of us were introduced to him when he came on the scene in 2010 with Chris Brown on the #1 smash hit “Deuces”. Since then, he’s penned multiple hit records and has been on his grind hard as an artist. MCP’s Terrell caught up with Kevin to talk about his journey thus far, his new music, and some misconceptions people may have about who he is. Check out what he had to say!
Terrell: What’s up Kevin?
Kevin McCall: Terrell…what’s up sir?
Terrell: Let’s get right into it. So, of course, the world was pretty much introduced to you by “Deuces”, the #1 song you wrote and did with Chris Brown. Since then, you and Chris have made several hit records together. How would you describe your journey up to this point?
Kevin McCall: It’s really been a learning experience. “Deuces” really was my first everything. It was my first #1 song. It was my first single, so it was my first everything. The song gathered a lot of attention. So, with the song coming out and doing so well and so quickly, I wasn’t exactly prepared for that kind of success so soon at the time. I had to learn the game and learn the business, which is cool because I learn pretty fast and I’m able to learn from people like Chris Brown. Also, meeting people like Swizz Beatz, 2 Chainz and Sean Garrett who have pretty much become like my mentors in the industry, it’s been a blessing. Swizz Beatz, he helps me with the production side of things. Sean Garrett teaches me a lot about the writing. And 2 Chainz gives me a lot of motivation on the artist side of things. So having people like that in my life, I became a student of the game and I’m learning more now. But it’s been fun!
Terrell: You pretty much came out the gate as a triple threat. We all pretty much immediately knew you as the rapper/singer/songwriter. Is there one talent that you’d prefer to be known for more so than the other?
Kevin McCall: I really just want to be known as an artist. Similar to Pharrell, he was a producer, but he would still sing and rap sometimes. Everyone knows him from The Neptunes though. So I honestly want all of those titles to work for me as one. I really don’t want to have to choose between being a songwriter, singer, or rapper. I wanna do it all.
Terrell: I’m not mad at that at all…..
Kevin McCall: Yeah, man. But as far as what I really love doing? I love singing. But the other stuff is fun too because it gets people going.
Terrell: Right. Now I’m really excited about your fellow CBE label mate Sevyn and her solo album that’s coming out soon. I know you work closely with her, will you be working on her album and how is it collaborating with her?
Kevin McCall: Oh yeah, I love Sevyn. When she first started working with me and Chris she would always throw out different ideas and me and Chris would shoot them down because me and him were so used to doing things our own way. But she didn’t let that stop her. She just kept on giving us ideas and coming up with different concepts and before we knew it, we had come to realize how dope this girl was. She picked up stuff from the both of us and we started picking up stuff from her and we had built this creative connection. We created our own sound. That’s when we started writing stuff like “Yeah 3x” and “She Ain’t You” and some other joints we all did together. So yeah, I’m excited about her project too. She just finalized her deal with Atlantic Records. There’s not a lot of real singers out right now and I think she’s gonna kill the game from that aspect. Plus, she’s a classy young lady and I think that’s what women need to see. They need that example. It’s a lot ratchetness going on right now.
Terrell: (laughs) You aint lying. One of my favorite songs from Chris’s last album “Fortune” was a song called “2012″ and I know you wrote that song and it’s become a fan favorite from that album. Give me a little insight of how that song came about.
Kevin McCall: Well, it seemed like everyone was saying the world was gonna end in 2012. So we thought about it and said, if you know it’s your last night, you’re gonna give everything your all…even if we make love. If the world is about to end, we need to make this an incredible experience. So the song came together and I took it to Chris. He actually was already done with the album, so it barely made it on there. Nothing else was supposed to be on the album, but I told him I had something he needed to hear before he closed it. I just felt like the album had a great mixture of R&B, Hip Hop and Pop elements, but needed just a little bit more R&B flavor on it…that 90′s sounding R&B. So Chris loved the song and he knocked it out.
Terrell: One thing I really like about your work is the fact that you don’t seem to be afraid of diversity with your music. I think that’s really needed, especially in R&B right now. So I think its dope how you can go from creating records like “Yeah 3x” to “Deuces”, etc…..
Kevin McCall: Yeah, it’s funny you say that because the first time that I experienced that type of diversity and versatility and stuff was Chris Brown. When he did “Forever” and I heard it, I was like “We as African-Americans, we can do Pop music too and it’s ok….” you know? I’m just thinking this as a writer and as a producer, not an artist. But it’s a lot of money to be made in so many other markets and other countries that people are closing their minds to. There’s money in Japan, Korea, and the UK. Chris was the first person to tell me that and I think it’s important to not be so closed minded musically.
Terrell: I couldn’t agree more. So, I know you have a new mixtape about to drop pretty soon. I liked your first mixtape, but I was pretty late checking out your last one “The Eargasm”, but I finally listened to it a couple months ago and was mad at myself that it took me so long to listen to it. But you had some really good stuff on there man…
Kevin McCall: Thanks man, I appreciate that. The reason this last mixtape was the way that it was is just the fact many people thought I was a rapper because I rapped on “Deuces” and that’s how I was introduced to the world. Most people don’t know that the only reason I rapped on Deuces was because when I wrote the song I wrote a singing verse and a rap verse. So since I gave the song to Chris and he was doing the singing, it’s only right I do the rapping. of course, Tyga did his thing on the track too eventually. But with “The Eargasm” I just wanted to show people that I’m a real singer and that’s why that mixtape was all singing. This new mixtape I have coming out is called “Definition”. This one is really gonna show both sides of Kevin McCall, the singer and the rapper because I have fans that love me doing both and I have fans that prefer one more than the other. So I feel like it’s my job to please everybody and have something for them all. I got some features with 2 Chainz. We did a joint that’s crazy. I have this weakness of wanting respect from the streets because that’s where I came from and I gotta make sure they know that I’m never gonna leave them or forget them. Then I have a song with Tank that I’m sure the ladies are gonna respect….
Terrell: …..I love the song “Crazy” that you did with him on his last album. That joint was ill…..
Kevin McCall: Thanks man. You know, Tank really likes my rapping. He loves my singing too, but secretly Tank wants to be a rapper. He told me that. Like, he claims he used to rap, but I don’t believe it…
Terrell: Right, because he’s so respected in the game as a singer. It’s kinda crazy to hear that.
Kevin McCall: Yeah, because I know myself, Chris Brown, Tank and Trey Songz, sometimes we feel like people think that just because we sing some people might think we soft or something, you know? So whenever we rap, it’s just our way of venting and letting thoughts out that we can’t necessarily put in the R&B records, you know? It’s like, yeah I’m a singer, but I’m still real with it. My style is more soulful, but at the same time, pretty rough around the edges. I like making music that people can relate to. Yeah, I’ll curse….just to get your attention real quick. But at the same time, I can write a love song that you’ll wanna play at your wedding. That’s the stuff that’s more classic and timeless. I feel like there’s no sense in making music if it’s not gonna last. The fads are good for quick checks, but you gotta make sure you’re making those timeless classic songs that can last forever too.
Terrell: Exactly. So who are some of the artists you’re working with and writing for right now?
Kevin McCall: I did some stuff for Mindless Behaviors new project. Got a joint with Gucci Mane. I’m doing some stuff for Omarion’s new album. Also gonna be working on the new TGT album (Tyrese, Ginuwine & Tank). Ne-Yo & Robin Thicke as well. They asked me to send them some stuff, so we’ll be
hitting the studio soon too. I’m just staying busy man.
Stay tuned for part 2 of our Kevin McCall feature where we’ll discuss his new mixtape “Definition” in detail. Look out for “Definition” dropping on Halloween….