Multi-talented entertainer, Roshon Fegan has been making his rounds as an actor since 2004, working on his craft and shining in roles whenever the opportunity would present itself. Throughout it all he has also released several singles as well, developing into a talented music artist as well. All these years later the biggest opportunity of his career thus far has presented itself by way of the role of Bobby DeBarge in TV One’s biopic, The Bobby DeBarge Story.
The film highlights the pitfalls of Bobby DeBarge’s tumultuous career, but is also full of flashbacks from what appeared to be a terribly abusive childhood growing up in Detroit with an abusive father. Music lovers may know Bobby’s music, particularly as the lead singer of Switch and later as a member of DeBarge, but they may not have known about how influential he was in getting Debarge their record deal and guiding them early in their career.
Roshon steps in as the perfect actor to play Bobby DeBarge. While Roshon may not have the falsetto range that made Bobby famous, he definitely has the looks and the charm to deliver in the role. He’s most known for his role in Disney’s ‘Shake It Up’, but after appearing in OWN’s ‘Greenleaf‘ the past couple of seasons he has cemented himself as a force, which assisted in securing this role.
We caught up with Roshon Fegan to talk about playing Bobby DeBarge and being able to embody the man, as well as making the movie and much more. Check out the full interview below:
Parlé Mag: You’ve already been in the entertainment industry for quite some time now. Talk to me about this journey you been on and what it means for you to finally be getting this lead role in a film.
Roshon Fegan: Its been a crazy wave since I came up, doing stuff for the Disney Channel. I started with Camp Rock the musical, then I did ‘Shake It Up’. I did about 6-7 years at Disney. Since then I’ve been trying to keep it alive with roles that involved singing and acting. I finally got my role on ‘Greenleaf’, which got me a lot of good love and I think that’s kind of what transpired into this role now.
Parlé Mag: How did you first find out about the role, did you audition, did you get the script first?
Roshon: I found out about the role through my agent. Once I got the script and found out it was a film about Bobby DeBarge I already knew I had a chance because I already got the look, light skin going on (laughs). So it was really exciting to get into the script and go in there. Thankfully, I’ve known the casting director, Leah Daniels Butler since I was a kid, she’s known my father since I was a baby. When I went in, her and I had good energy, so it just worked out. And now I’m here.
Parlé Mag: Were you familiar with Bobby DeBarge’s music prior to the role?
Roshon: Yeah, my mom and dad were big Motown fans, so they always played Switch in the house. My mom always liked those light skin boys, so she used to play their stuff (laughs). I was always in tune with the sound, but I will say, I did not know Bobby specifically was the mastermind behind it all. He was kind of a visionary that tied it all together. So it was interesting to find that out.
Parlé Mag: So you mentioned one of the things you learned, but what would you say was the most surprising thing you learned about Bobby and the DeBarge family while leading up to this role and playing him?
Roshon: One of the major keys to the movie is the relationship with his family and his relationship with his dad. I did not know that relationship was so bad, past a Michael Jackson and a Joe Jackson level, to a sickening and evil level of abuse. That was something really, really interesting to find out about the family and about Bobby, who was so strong and successful, and at the same time, he made it out of it.
Parlé Mag: For you, embodying that role and really transforming into Bobby DeBarge in this film, how was that process and who did you talk to in order to really complete your transformation?
Roshon: I did a bunch of research and I talked a lot with Russ Parr, the director, and Teri DeBarge is an executive producer on the movie so I talked to her a lot as well. Ultimately, I really had to be empathetic and put myself in his shoes and fall in love with the music, and become one with the man, in order to pull it off. He’s such an iconic story and has a legendary voice, I didn’t want to mess it up. He still has a lot of fans and a lot of family out here, I just wanted to make sure I served justice to him and his legacy!
Parlé Mag: Playing that lead role, what do you hope people to get from the film when they see it?
Roshon: Definitely that there is always more to the story and that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, because you think one thing, that’s not what it always is. Most people just have the impression that these artists and entertainers have a lot of money and they just spun out of control, but you can’t be so quick to judge, because these people oftentimes deal with a lot. You also got to know the truth about how the Debarge’s came about, I think that’s important. There would be no El, no Chico, no James, if it wasn’t for Bobby getting in the game and putting his family on; putting the work in to create this wave and this sound that his iconic falsetto created in the first place. I think it’s really important for people to know.
Parlé Mag: There’s not a lot of music in the film, but for the couple of Bobby songs that are featured, did you do any singing in the film, performance wise or anything?
Roshon: Naw man, I can’t hit those high notes like Bobby man (LAUGHS). But if I could, I would. That guy got a crazy voice!
Parlé Mag: For those who might not know, you definitely are an incredible singer as well. Most recently you released an EP titled, Alien in December. Do you have a first love when it comes to singing and acting?
Roshon: I love doing them all together like i been doing honestly. I like bringing them together into one project when i can, whether its in film or television, anything that helps me showcase all my talents is dope. I’m into that!
Parlé Mag: What’s next for you? What else do you have coming up in the pipeline?
Roshon: Well, Hopefully, I would love to do some more films. Until then, me and my boy StillTech are working on some music, with this new wave called EVO, which is a lifestyle and a fashion brand. We’re working on some videos and songs, so we’re just really excited to start rolling out this new wave, which we think is really going to change the game.
Parlé Mag: How did the name EVO come about?
Roshon: It stands for Elevated Vizionares Only. My record label is called Elevated, its been around for a while. The clothing line was called Vizionare, that’s been around for a while. We just decided to bring it all together.
Parlé Mag: You’re reaching new heights in your career now, but two or three years down the line, what do you hope people are saying about Roshon Fegan?
Roshon: I just hope that they say I am unstoppable. I been in the game for a minute, lots of twists and turns. Many of the people I came in the game with are no longer in this business. Some changed their occupations, others just didn’t want to do it anymore and others have just been booted out. Me though, I’m never giving up. I’m doing everything I can to stay in the mix with music, acting and whatever else I can do. So I hope I get that respect and people just saying, ‘he’s one of the real ones in the game that sticks around’.
Parlé Mag: What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned in the business so far?
Roshon: My biggest lesson is that you have to stay true to yourself at all times. It’s so easy to get caught up in everyone else’s ideas and everybody else’s direction, that you can go down a path that will alter you and your life forever, if you don’t stay true to yourself. So many of your life decisions are being made by so many other people, teammates and managers, that you can literally end up with a stigma or a stamp that will follow you around because of other people’s decisions. So my biggest lesson is that you have to do whatever you want to for you in this business.
Parlé Mag: Any advice you have for young actors, and young singers coming up in their industries?
Roshon: Just stick to it. It can be a long haul, but just realize it only takes one win. You can take a million losses, but all you need is one win. Just keep swinging until you get a hit.
Parlé Mag: Final words sir, movie premieres Saturday June 29th, why should people watch it?
Roshon: You should watch The Bobby DeBarge Story because its a story about truth, its a story about family loyalty and its a story about music. If you love music, you need to watch it movie!
Parlé Mag: Thank you for the time, so appreciated!
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