Wrap Up And Watch Out: Rotimi
With a critically-acclaimed debut mixtape and appearances on BET’s 106 & Park and VH1 Soul already under his belt for 2011, Rotimi is now ready to make his mark in the ever-evolving world of R&B. As he gears up to release his sophomore mixtape, 'While You Wait', The Wrap Up caught up with the singer-songwriter to find out about his journey so far...
The Wrap Up: Rotimi! How are you? For our readers who may not have heard of you, please tell us who you are and what you’re about…
Rotimi: I’m a singer-songwriter and actor from New Jersey. I recently graduated from Northwestern University. I’ve been singing since I was 6 years old and haven’t stopped since!
TWU: Describe your artistic style/sound…
Rotimi: My musical style is your classic R&B-infused pop/soul. I’m known for ballads, with songs like ‘Beautiful Music’ and ‘Forever’, but I’m still learning about my sound so I experiment with different sounds.
TWU: You recently premiered your latest video for ‘Hello’, which features Mikey Factz, on MTVu. How has the reception been so far?
Rotimi: The reception has been great! A lot of my female fans fell in love with the concept and visuals, and we have received so much support from MTV, MTV2, MTVU and VH1. To now be featured on MTV UK’s The Wrap Up, it’s a wonderful blessing.
TWU: So, how did ‘Hello’ come about?
Rotimi: Well, I have always been a fan of Mickey Factz. My publicist worked with him in the past and we had a record we thought he would be great on. While I was in New York, we all met up for dinner, I played him the track and he immediately loved it.
TWU: We hear it’s off of your forthcoming mixtape, ‘While You Wait’. Can you tell us what to expect from the mixtape?
Rotimi: I think my fans will notice the growth in writing and storytelling. I’m starting to find myself as an artist on ‘While You Wait’, whereas ‘The Resume’ was me still learning about myself. Now I feel like I’m starting to figure out what sound I want as an R&B artist.
TWU: Speaking of ‘The Resume’, which you released back in March, can you tell us how that entire project came about?
Rotimi: I started working on the mixtape while I was at Northwestern University. I wanted to create the perfect compilation of songs at that time. I wanted my debut to represent my versatility as an artist. While working on the collaborations with Dawn Richards and Gucci Mane, I got my first glimpse of how the major recording artists work behind in the booth.
TWU: The reception to your debut project has been pretty massive, with support from the likes of MTV Base Africa, Singer’s Room, BET’s 106 & Park and VH1 Soul, to name but a few. How does it feel to see your first piece of work being embraced like that?
Rotimi: It was a blessing. It showed that hard work and prayer works! It gave me motivation to continue to build off this first success.
TWU: For a new artist, you’ve already had the privilege of working with the likes of Dawn Richards and Gucci Mane and now Mickey Factz. How did these collaborations come about, though?
Rotimi: Dawn Richards is a talented artist. My team, at the time, reached out to her team to collaborate on ‘You Already Know’, which I wrote for her. She listened to the track and wanted to record it. It was sort of the same thing with Gucci Mane. The producer I work with in Atlanta requested for him to play ‘Bottles’ to Gucci and, when he did, he loved it and wanted to record his verse right away.
TWU: Okay, we have to ask you this question. What was it like meeting Jay-Z?
Rotimi: Meeting Jay-Z was a wonderful experience so early on in my career. I was 17 and in a group with two rappers who happen to be Jay-Z’s nephews. From time to time we would get the opportunity to rehearse in his living room in New Jersey. However, a few times he would be in the room and on the phone or not paying too much attention. One time, he sat down and took a listen to our group and gave me great advice and complemented me on my voice. He said that I was a talented singer and that I would be ready for the business by the time I hit 22/23.
TWU: You’ve recently landed a re-occurring role in Kelsey Grammar’s new Television series, ‘Boss’ – which begins airing later in the year. Tell us about that…
Rotimi: Well, acting is still pretty new thing for me. I started five months ago with my first ever audition for the show and I landed it. We will see where this ride takes me! I’m so blessed and honoured to be on this show. It’s a wonderful show with a great cast and I have learned so much on set.
Words: Ayodele Adepoju (@WePlugGoodMusic)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)