Photo: Getty Images
By Marc Inocencio
The past couple of years have been a media circus for R&B sensation Chris Brown. Now, after the Fortune artist was released from incarceration in June, he’s putting on a new public image for the rebirth of his career. -
“For me I had a lot of issues with my anger, a lot of issues with not knowing how to cope with certain situations, public scrutiny, the whole nine,” he tells On Air with Ryan Seacrest. “But I think overtime — me being able to talk a therapist, and finding out how to deal with even my stint, and the whole rehab thing and jail — made me have a different outlook on life and really focus on a more positive scale of what I needed to be doing. So I think with my music and everything else, it always was on a positive front, you know, happier level. But I just wanted to make sure that now it’s more me walking the walk instead of talking the talk.”
The 25-year-old, who broke out with the release of his 2005 hit single “Run It!” off his self-titled debut studio album, also admits to uncovering a new revelation after growing up under the public eye for a decade.
“I think my frontal lobe, my cognition is more receptive now,” he laughs. “Taking time off to be more responsible and having to grow up, everybody has to go through it. Everybody is going to have their wild times and do the most as they’re younger, but I think as time progresses, there’s not enough time for all that. It’s more of a positive outlook to figure out what I’m trying to do with my life. I got a lot of family members, I got a lot of people, and a lot of fans that look up to me, so it’s only right that I continuously give them something to be inspired by instead of something to be disappointed in.”
The time he spent behind bars unfolded as a blessing in disguise. The “Forever” singer’s four-plus months in custody served as time for him to reflect on his issues and to focus on his reinvention.
“The time that I did spend in there was all the way reflection time. You know, being able to look in the mirror at myself and kind of just understand myself, but also love myself,” he shares. “Cause you know, a lot of insecurities come with being an artist and also dealing with your own issues. Especially when you almost have to do it alone.
“Everybody’s situation is different, but at one point I just felt like I was alone,” he continues. “So being able to realize that I have people who love me and support me and the right people that want to see me succeed, and you know, just my life in general, the mistakes I had made. I had a lot of time to reflect on that and really focus on moving forward and trying to change the perception of myself.”
After his life-altering experience in jail, Chris — who uploaded an Instagram photo of himself in an orange jumpsuit with a reflective caption — is ready to rebound with his sixth studio album, X, which was postponed due to his incarceration.
“My biggest inspiration, my biggest thing I want people to see is just my visual creativity. Especially when you hear these songs, just the subject matter — a lot of these songs have a lot more substance than my younger albums,” the “Kiss Kiss” singer says. “But I think now, I just want people to be able to visually see the change, see creativity.
“When I’m doing my videos, directing my videos, being able to evolve as an artist and also reinvent myself, so to speak,” he continues. “So I think with these new songs, I think they have the right caliber of star quality when you hear them and I think people can relate to them. So I just want people to be able to see the growth and understand like, ‘Oh man this young cat has been consistent for 10 years musically.’ I want my talent to kind of shine.”
The now-redemption album features collaborations with Ariana Grande (“Don’t Be Gone Too Long“), R&B new comer Jhené Aiko (“Drunk Texting“), Kendrick Lamar (“Autumn Leaves“), and more. The “Fine China” singer, who shot down bad blood rumors between him and Drake, tells Ryan and Ellen K. which song off the LP is his favorite.
“From my album, I think so many songs mean so many things to me, but I know ‘Autumn Leaves‘ was one of my most favorites,” he reveals. “Because ‘Autumn Leaves,’ you know Kendrick, I got a chance to really do one of those heartfelt records and the music was just so different from anything I’ve done before. Also ‘X.’ When I did ‘X,’ Diplo had produced a beat, and it was just one of those songs that were different. I didn’t sound like anything else that I’ve heard on the radio or didn’t sound like anything that I’ve even done, so I was just excited about those kinds of records.”
With nearly a decade in the industry under his belt and the release of his sixth studio album, Chris views this as a humbling experience, and expects more lessons in the upcoming years.
“It’s just a blessing because I look at it like, I could’ve been maybe a two-album kind of guy or one-album kind of guy,” the “Yeah 3X” singer says. “I just have to thank my fans for all their support over the years. It’s been 10 years so I can kind of say I’m a veteran, but I’m still young and I’m still learning as I go.”
After a tumultuous year, Chris will celebrate the release of his long-overdue album by touring with “Na Na” singer Trey Songz.
“Me and Trey Songz are going to actually do a tour I want to say the end of fall?” he reveals. “But I’m trying to figure it out as of now as far as like the creative side, what we’re going to do production-wise. So we’re just talking and getting everything setup right now. So we’ll have things for ya’ll like soon, but I don’t know the exact time.”
Until the collaboration tour with Trey is announced, fans can treat themselves to Chris’ X album on iTunes by clicking here.