Former Mindless Behavior Member Princeton Perez on Life After the Group, Becoming a Solo Artist, and Keeping His Faith Strong
Whether you were ripping posters from a Word Up! magazine, wondering how to be his “Mrs. Right”, or dying to say “Hello” at the front of the meet-and-greet line, Princeton Perez has had the “Girls Talkin’ Bout” him for nearly a decade now.
It was at the center of Gym Class Heroes’ music video for “Cupid’s Chokehold” where Perez’s eye-catching knack for the camera catapulted him to be the face of award-winning phenomenon Mindless Behavior.
Officially breaking onto the mainstream scene in 2010, with the release of their highly-successful single “My Girl”, it wasn’t long before the four-member group became a collective heartthrob for teenagers all over the globe. Their debut album, #1 Girl, further stamped their position at the pinnacle of the music industry, soon making them one of the top boy bands of that time period.
It goes without saying that, with their swagged-out dance moves, bigger-than-life personalities, and ageless bops, Mindless Behavior left an impact on the childhoods of many, that won’t ever be forgotten. Sold-out shows, fainting fans, and a chaotic career—their run definitely wasn’t done in vain.
However, for Princeton Perez, though that chapter of his life had closed, there was still more lying within the pages of his book that he had yet to open.
His longtime dream of being an entertainer was unwavering. Whereas the stage had been his home for almost half of his life, the studio was where he found solace. Moving to the melodies and lusting over the lyrics.
A true creative at his core, Perez used his fear to fuel his solo artistry and perfect his sound. Long hours in the booth, working diligently behind the scenes, and maintaining a strong bond with his supporters show that giving up was never an option for him.
The now twenty-three-year-old recently premiered a mid-tempo hit, titled “Perfect World”, which is from his forthcoming EP, Papi Chulo Prelude.
Set to be unveiled July 26th, the anticipated, eight-track project will serve as Perez’s first full-length body of work as a solo artist.
Penned by Dirk Pate and Kevin Ross, “Perfect World” reveals a more personal side of the legend-in-the-making, as it unapologetically delves deeply into the topic of love triangles.
“The track explains the battle between what you want and what you need!” Perez says when speaking of the three-minute, R&B/Pop song. “In a ‘Perfect World’, you can have both and not have any regrets. I feel like it’s a record that everyone can relate to!”
Now, over a million followers later—between Twitter and Instagram, the uber-talented California native continues building his brand… as an exceptional performer, a grown man, and a household name.
From mindless behavior to mature behavior, Princeton Perez, also known as Papi Chulo, is proving that childhood fame and fortune don’t always end in failure.
In fact, for him, this is just the beginning, and it’s only up from here.
Check out our exclusive one-on-one with Princeton Perez below!
Parlé Mag: You recently dropped your new single, “Perfect World”, which is definitely a banger, by the way!
Princeton Perez: Thank you!
Parlé Mag: No problem! Talk to us about the creative process behind coming up with the concept and actually going into the booth to record the song.
Princeton Perez: Well, I had just finished a long [studio] session, and I was driving home. I was like, “You know what? I don’t have my R&B single yet. Like, I need a classic R&B record. My Confessions, my Ice Box, and my Take You Down. I need my record!”
Parlé Mag: Oh, yeah, those were some hits!
Princeton Perez: I got home, and I texted the producer, Dirk. I was like, “Do you have a record?” He said, “Well, I have this beat and a couple of lyrics for this one song. I don’t know if you’ll like it.” He sent it to me, and I was like, “This is amazing! Let’s go in tomorrow, and let’s finish writing it!” I went in, and I recorded it that day. I didn’t really like it, so I went in the next day and re-recorded it. I sent it to the team, and they loved it! It took about two days to record, which is rare for me because usually it only takes like a day to record a record. But I knew that, if I wanted it to be the single, I wanted it to be perfect. I just wanted a song that was about love, but I also wanted people who may not have experienced love, or weren’t going through it, to relate to it. Even if you’re not in a relationship, everybody wants a perfect world. That’s really the concept of “Perfect World”.
Parlé Mag: Since the track debuted, you’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from it. Were there any reservations on your end? Did you expect this type of response?
Princeton Perez: I have a really good relationship with my fans. So, I knew that they would support it. I think the one thing I’m most shocked about is that people who weren’t fans of mine are supporting it. I’m just excited that it charted at #25 on iTunes!
Parlé Mag: The song speaks candidly about balancing the main chick and the side chick, which is certainly a reality for some people. Nowadays, a lot of men tend to want the best of both worlds. They could literally have a good woman at home… but still find the need to seek elsewhere. So, from a male’s perspective, why do you think that is? Why do you think some men have a hard time staying monogamous?
Princeton Perez: [laughs] I think it’s all about being honest. I’m a pretty honest dude, and once we can get past the point of us saying, “You know what? We are selfish,” it will get better. Men are selfish, and I think 2019 is the time for men and everybody else to just start being honest. Even if it may not sound politically correct, or the right thing to say. As long as you’re being honest, that’s the best thing to do.
Parlé Mag: Being that you are sort of like this sex symbol for ladies, and you have so many women who are honestly wanting to be chosen by you, has that made getting into a serious relationship harder for you? I would imagine that it’s difficult to decipher who’s really for you and who’s only out for what you have.
Princeton Perez: I’m actually pretty good at trusting the right people. So, I don’t think it’s kind of hard to deal with that. The last relationship I was in was like four years ago, so I’m not even in that space. I’m just trying to make my music and do this tour. I feel like, at this point in my life, if it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’m not really looking for a relationship. Definitely, when I’m looking for a relationship, I’ll say that I’m looking for a relationship. [laughs]
Parlé Mag: I feel you!
Princeton Perez: I’m not really focused on that right now.
Parlé Mag: So, when you do get to that point, what character traits do you value in a lady enough to make her your “main” chick? Like, is there something, in particular, that you always look for?
Princeton Perez: Ooooh, if she’s funny!
Parlé Mag: Really? Okay, okay!
Princeton Perez: Yeah! Somebody who’s funny, loves to laugh. Laughter is the best thing you could give to somebody. Naturally funny, though! Not like trying too hard to be funny.
Parlé Mag: [laughs] Right.
Princeton Perez: [laughs]
Parlé Mag: A few years ago, you released a song called “Don’t Believe in Love”, where fans got the opportunity to hear more of you, vocally.
Princeton Perez: Oh, my God!
Parlé Mag: Yup, I remember that! [laughs] Musically, how do you feel “Perfect World” depicts your growth and maturity as an artist… from then up until now?
Princeton Perez: Oh, it’s completely different! I recorded “Don’t Believe in Love” in like one take, and it was my first time recording by myself. I was still in the group, so I didn’t really put too much thought into it. But, “Perfect World”, honestly, it’s funny because it’s probably the most vocally-challenging record on the whole EP! And we chose it to be the first single. I was like, “Damn!”
Parlé Mag: [laughs]
Princeton Perez: But I think this was the best way to get people to say, “Whoa! Okay! He can really sing!” You know, I worked really hard, so I knew that, vocally, people were going to hear me.
Parlé Mag: True! Well, it definitely showed. I listened to it, and I was like, “Wait a minute! This is awesome!”
Princeton Perez: Thank you! That means a lot.
Parlé Mag: No problem! Let’s talk about your forthcoming EP, Papi Chulo Prelude, which is set to make its entrance later this month. For you, what does this body of work signify?
Princeton Perez: This body of work signifies not giving up, and growth. Those are the two things. I stayed persistent with my dreams. Oh, and patience! Patience! This EP, if I had to give it one word, it would be patience. My fans have been patient; I’ve been patient. I wasn’t going to put anything out that I didn’t believe in. It’s funny because when I first started recording it, I said, “I’ll wait two years if I have to!” And it’s really been those two years. [laughs] I wasn’t kidding. It took me a long time to record it. I just had my last session last night. That was like the official last time I would be in the studio recording something for the EP.
Parlé Mag: Oh, wow! Congratulations.
Princeton Perez: Thank you! My confidence in the studio last night showed the most growth. I remember going in the studio when I first started recording, not knowing what I wanted to say, what beat, nothing. I was going in the studio last night like I was a pro! [laughs] It just shows [the type of] growth that you could have in ten years. I’m really proud of myself!
Parlé Mag: As you should be! So, what can fans look forward to with this project? What side of Princeton Perez does it showcase?
Princeton Perez: It definitely showcases the grown side of me and my vocal talent. People are not really going to expect the type of songs I’m doing and the type of harmonies I’m doing—the energy and the writing. Those are going to be the things that are going to make my fans, and the people who aren’t even fans of me, say, “Wow!” Like, basically, “Perfect World” but ten times bigger.
Parlé Mag: Coming from hit boy band Mindless Behavior to now a breakout solo artist, what has that transition been like? Has it been challenging?
Princeton Perez: It was challenging in the beginning. It still is a little challenging, just for people to take me seriously, but I knew that if the music was good, then everything else would fall into place. And people are starting to take me seriously… as a solo artist! I just can’t wait to start performing now. They hear the music, and they know, “Okay, he can sing by himself; he can make a record by himself. But, now, can he perform it without a group?” In Mindless Behavior, we were so big on performing and dancing. Now, I just have to hit the stage and show people that not only can I make a record by myself but I can also perform it!
Parlé Mag: Exactly!
Princeton Perez: So, I just can’t wait for that! You know?
Parlé Mag: How does it feel to still have so many people rooting for you, even after the group’s departure from the music scene?
Princeton Perez: It feels amazing! I’m so blessed. I know a lot of artists grow apart from their fans, but I never grew apart from my fans. That’s the benefit of having social media. Within those two years of me recording music, I wasn’t telling anybody! I wasn’t posting it on social media. Like, I would literally be in the studio for fifteen hours, then be on Snapchat, a day later, and act like I didn’t do anything. [My fans] were like, “Ooookay!” [laughs] I didn’t want them to know, but I was still engaged with them. I was still posting and going live, showing them my growth. So, I never really lost touch with my fans, and then on top of that, I dropped music! It was kind of just a big surprise.
Parlé Mag: That’s amazing! Because, like you said, a lot of artists, once the group breaks up or something, they sort of like die down themselves. So, it’s good that you were able to maintain that connection with your fans.
Princeton Perez: Yeah!
Parlé Mag: What would you say was the hardest part about growing up in the public eye? Was it mentally overwhelming to always have the spotlight on everything that you did?
Princeton Perez: It was definitely mentally draining sometimes. Being away from family and friends was the hardest, because Mindless Behavior was a performing group, and we toured a lot. On tour, you would be gone from home, so I think that was the hardest part for me. Just being away from my loved ones.
Parlé Mag: As we know, at the height of Mindless Behavior’s career, you guys were topping the charts, touring the world, and living the American Dream. However, the lead singer’s decision to leave put a halt on you guys’ success. So, was there a part of you that felt disappointed or betrayed when the first set of members started to go their separate ways? Seeing as though you all were one of the biggest acts of that era, did you ever see that coming?
Princeton Perez: To be honest, the boys and I are still close. We’ve always been communicating with each other, so it wasn’t that much of a shock. It really just made us grow some tough skin and grow up. A lot of changes happened unexpectedly, so if I can go through that and still be cool, I feel like I can really go through anything.
Parlé Mag: Even after that, you continued on with the group, bringing in members Mike River and Elijah J for a short while. When did you know, this time around, that you were finally ready to go off and do your own thing?
Princeton Perez: When I started going into the studio by myself. I had never done that before; I was too nervous to do that. But when I began going in there for fun, I started feeling like, “Okay, you know what? If I’m coming in here just for fun, maybe I could really do this if I start taking it seriously.” So, that’s when I knew.
Parlé Mag: What mark do you hope to make on the world through your music?
Princeton Perez: I just want people to, when they think of me, say, “Dang, man. He was a performer. He performed his ass off. He was no joke. He was the shit!” [laughs]
Parlé Mag: [laughs]
Princeton Perez: That’s all I want!
Parlé Mag: You talk a lot about God and your spirituality. How important is your faith, and how has that helped you get to where you are today?
Princeton Perez: Man, faith is probably the biggest thing that I have in my life. One of my best friends just passed away last month.
Parlé Mag: I’m so sorry to hear that.
Princeton Perez: His Instagram name was @faithinmyfuture. Honestly, this is the complete truth, when I’m going through the worst of the worst, if I just have that faith in it, I’m cool. I literally may not know the outcome; I may not even know how I’m going to get there. But I just say, “Have faith,” and somehow—
Parlé Mag: You always get through it!
Princeton Perez: Yeah! Or something switches up, in a good way! It kind of just makes you not want to question it. So, faith is the biggest thing I have in my life. That’s the only thing to really have because sometimes you can’t do anything to change some things.
Parlé Mag: What would you say is the biggest misconception about yourself?
Princeton Perez: Well, I don’t know because I don’t care what people think about me! [laughs]
Parlé Mag: That’s a good way to put it!
Princeton Perez: A lot of the misconceptions [that I know of] were that I couldn’t sing. I wasn’t really singing in the group.
Parlé Mag: Well, you proved them wrong!
Princeton Perez: [laughs] Thank you! That’s probably the only misconception I know of that’s like bad. If there are any others, I don’t know.
Parlé Mag: If you could say something to the younger you, what would it be?
Princeton Perez: I would just say to not stress too much about school. School was really hard for me. I was backed up on a lot of credits because I was touring so much. I didn’t think I was going to graduate, but I did! On time! So, I would tell myself, “Don’t worry. You’re going to graduate!” Another thing I would say is, “Enjoy being in Mindless Behavior.” There are a lot of things that I don’t really remember, especially now. I’m re-meeting a lot of people. They tell me we have these memories, and I just don’t even remember being in that state, meeting them or nothing. That’s because life was so quick back then. So, I also would tell the younger Princeton, “Take a deep breath. Enjoy. Look around.”
Parlé Mag: How do you want the world to remember Princeton Perez, as an individual and a musician?
Princeton Perez: As an individual, I want people to remember me as the dude who was all about peace. He spread peace; he brought peace. Whenever you were around him, he was peaceful. There was literally no drama with him. As a musician, I just want people to remember me as a great entertainer. Somebody who really put in work. He could sing, he could dance, he could act, he could dress. He was just very smart at what he did.
Parlé Mag: What’s next? When can we expect a tour?
Princeton Perez: For tour, I’m looking toward this summer.
Parlé Mag: Okay!
Princeton Perez: I just dropped the “Perfect World” dance lyric video. Now, I’m about to drop the EP!
Parlé Mag: Awesome! Any final remarks to your fans out there?
Princeton Perez: That I can’t for them to hear the EP! I can’t wait to start doing meet and greets again so that I can take pictures with them and stuff! And I love them!
Catch up with Princeton Perez on social media!
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