Bertell is skyrocketing on the music scene with a unique vocal talent. The Houston native hearkens his songs to that of nineties R & B with an urbane and powerful sound. Parlé Magazine sat down with him recently for a Bertell interview and to discuss his soaring success in the music business.
Parlé: What were your first thoughts on getting a recording deal with Capitol Records?
Bertell: My first thoughts were it’s finally here. I finally get to showcase my talent to the world. I thank God, this is only the beginning. I can accomplish anything.
Parlé: Tell us about the upcoming album.
Bertell: Going Hard comes out in March – this spring. I worked with Bryan Michael Cox who produced songs for Usher, Monica, and many other artists. He was the co-executive producer on the album. I also worked with Johnta Austin whose written many songs, Adonis Shropshire who produced Alicia Keys’ “My Boo,” and Jermaine Dupri; there are a whole lot of producers on there. I worked with a lot of people.
Parlé: How did you come to meet Bryan Michael Cox?
Bertell: I met him back in ’06. He said he heard me on the radio in Houston on a Dem Franchize Boyz record. He respected my hustle. He said he had never met anyone like me.
Parlé: You released a mixtape recently. How would you say the mixtape is different from the upcoming album or similar?
Bertell: The mixtape is basically the introduction to the book. I was trying to introduce the audience to my sound. There’s a lot of urban lifestyle stuff on it like chilling with your girl, how you feel when a woman tells you she’s pregnant, all out urban. The album is better. The quality of the vocals is better because it was produced in the studio. The mixtape was made in my basement. I released my first exclusive on MySpace off of the mixtape, “She’s Bad.” That’s the first single off the mixtape. It’s been blowing up in the urban neighborhoods. I tried to keep the material close to that of the album.
Parlé: Do you have any music videos in the works?
Bertell: The “She’s Bad” video comes out this month featuring Bun B. We’re giving MySpace the exclusive. I’m also shooting a video for the main one “Beat It Up.” That’s the single that Capitol is gonna go hard with. That’s the main single. “She’s Bad” is the one I wanted to gain street buzz with, but “Beat It Up,” I feel like it’s gonna be nice. I feel like it’s gonna blow up. This is the one that will show people what I’m about. I feel like it’s a cozy ride song, especially with it being the wintertime.
Parlé: I read that you have your own company. What’s it called?
Bertell: The Upscale Music Group. It’s my label – my thing. I formed it while I was recording Street Therapy.
Parlé: What would you say distinguishes you from other artists?
Bertell: That I write my own music. I pour my heart into it. Most of Going Hard is written by me. That’s not against anyone who doesn’t write, but sometimes when you sing what others write you don’t necessarily feel it. I feel like if I feel it so will you. I always say that artists should feel it. I’m not just an instrument. Like with Eminem for example, I ain’t been through none of the stuff Eminem been through, but I feel everything he’s talking about. It’s his pain. It’s real for him. All my music is real to me. Some people can just sing anything anybody writes. I feel what I’m talking about. Anytime anyone hears one of my songs, they tell me they were really into it. I’m just trying to go back to the 90’s R & B. When you heard Case, Joe, Avant, you felt it. That’s what I’m trying to take it back to.
Parlé: What advice do you have for aspiring artists trying to get into the industry?
Bertell: It starts and ends with you – bottom line. You can have managers and lawyers all around you, but the ultimate thing is you have to believe. We have to sell our records as artists. No matter how many big names you have around you, you have to believe, once you do; everybody else will. If one person believes at a time, then someone else will. That’s what I am trying to do. I’m not trying to convince people off of one record. It starts and ends with you. I appreciate feedback. I play my records for people to get their feedback. Tailor what you do, so you can soothe somebody’s ear. Always be you at the end of the day.
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