Reggie Becton doesn’t simply endure uncomfortable conditions; he thrives in them.
“I’m actually huge on discomfort and the way it means that you can push previous your personal limitations,” Becton tells Rated R&B on a sunny April afternoon over Zoom. He’s reminiscing on his daring determination to relocate from Prince George’s County, Maryland, to Los Angeles, California, to pursue his music profession.
“For me, it was extra in order that I knew that if I went again house, I’d’ve had distractions. It was actually a choice to be like, ‘All proper, if I need to go for it, I’ll have to be in the most effective space to go for it, which is LA; there’ll be much less distractions there. If I’m a thousand miles from house, I’ve no alternative however to grind,’” he shares.
Becton grew up in Fort Washington, Maryland, and attended college in Washington, D.C. Coming from a close-knit household, music from numerous genres was all the time enjoying in the home.
His sister, an enormous Brandy fan, regularly performed songs from different ‘90s R&B stars, corresponding to Usher and Future’s Little one. “I bear in mind my sister enjoying Future’s Little one’s The Writing’s on the Wall album all day, every single day. Now, I’ve it on CD — I acquired it from a document retailer — and have it in my automotive and take heed to it usually.”
His mother and father additionally had their very own distinct musical tastes: “My mother was very a lot into gospel, like Trin-i-Tee 5:7 and artists like that. My dad was very a lot into rock and soul.”
When requested about his largest affect, Becton cites go-go music, a subgenre of funk that originated in Washington, D.C., as an important element of his sonic identification. “I feel with go-go being so multifaceted and a melting pot of various genres — it’s rock, it’s jazz, it’s soul, it’s hip-hop — that type of opened my eyes to all sorts of music,” he explains.
Becton’s eclectic musical palette shines brightly on his newest EP, Sadboy, Vol. 1, out now. With R&B at its core, Becton masterfully blends of drill (“Streets”), reggae (“Life”) and acoustic soul (“Lettin’ Go”), amongst different stylings, to create a multidimensional world the place he explores and unpacks the depths of unhappiness, because it pertains to love.
Sadboy, Vol. 1 is the primary of a two-part EP sequence, serving as an middleman challenge earlier than the discharge of his sophomore album, the follow-up to his debut album, California, launched in 2021. Becton says Sadboy was initially going to be a rock-inspired challenge, which took place throughout jam periods within the studio.
“I didn’t know what I used to be making on the time. We simply began making music. I needed to attend to make a second album. I didn’t need to go immediately into that, however I used to be having fun with a few of the music we had been creating. Then, me and my government producer Aidan Carroll began to speak about some issues. Sadboy was virtually gonna be like this rock album, just like how Summer season Walker does CLEAR, the place it’s an EP with 4 songs. We began to work on it, and I used to be identical to, ‘I don’t know if that is the place my coronary heart is true now.’ So we mentioned, ‘F*ck it, let’s simply document and make what we make.’”
As Becton continued to document extra music, he gained a greater understanding of the path he needed to take. “It grew to become clear that that is the music I need individuals to really feel. After I began conceptualizing the challenge, I selected the songs that evoke nice emotions for me.”
In Rated R&B’s interview with Reggie Becton, the singer/songwriter talks extra about Sadboy, Vol.1, managing his psychological well being, his expertise working with Alex Vaughn and Rodney Jerkins, and extra.
At what level do you know that you just needed to pursue a profession in music?
I all the time knew that I really like music. Singing was my old flame. Round center college, I began songwriting, and that’s what actually opened my eyes to a unique a part of music. That intrigued me extra to actually work out the way to assemble songs. By highschool, I knew for certain that I needed to be an artist.
Your SoundCloud bio states that you just discovered your sound in Philadelphia. In what means?
I say I discovered my sound there as a result of at Temple [University],and made music for myself. I wasn’t releasing music or something. I feel that allowed me to seek out my means as an artist, who I needed to be and what my sound was.
What’s the inspiration behind Sadboy ,Vol. 1?
There’s all the time this operating joke about my music on social media or after reveals. One fan got here as much as me and mentioned, ‘It was actually painful to look at as a result of the way in which you write about love is so heartbreaking and unhappy.’ That go with all the time stayed with me as a result of I loved the truth that my music struck a chord along with her, even when it was unhappiness. As we began writing it, one of many traces in “Streets” is: “I’m bored with feeling unhappy.” So it was this unhappiness theme, and I used to be like, “Okay, what if I name this Sadboy?” I’m an enormous fan of Marvel and comedian books, so I felt prefer it was a time after I may construct a world out. We got here up with this concept to do a brief sequence/movie to pair this challenge, impressed by TV and movies like Kill Invoice and The Darkish Knight. That closely dictated how Sadboy and its sound got here to be.
Whenever you had been creating this Sadboy world, how simple was it so that you can be extra open and permit others in?
With each challenge, I need to turn into extra weak [and] get to that house of final vulnerability. Prince and Marvin Gaye, two of my largest inspirations, had been very weak. Prince was weak on each degree — from his look to his sound to his performances. His authenticity, his rawness and being unapologetically himself — that’s the place I’m making an attempt to make music for, particularly males, to get us in a extra weak house and confront our feelings. After I strategy it from a songwriter standpoint or perhaps a vocal supply standpoint, it’s all the time like, “What’s the intentionality behind these phrases? What am I making an attempt to get throughout? How do I need my viewers to really feel when listening to this?” It must be trustworthy. I feel with Sadboy, I reached a spot the place I used to be having enjoyable [and] that made me extra comfy and expressive of the whole lot I used to be feeling on the time in a few of these songs.
You open Sadboy with the title observe. What’s the importance behind that tune because you named the challenge after it?
The title observe looks like a theme tune. I feel that’s why we titled this Sadboy. Going again to this Marvel-type universe, it feels just like the villain’s origin story. It’s what has made me unhappy. The tune is that this melting pot of each relationship I’ve ever been in, the place it all the time looks like we get thus far, and it simply all goes unhealthy. I feel that’s why “Sadboy” encompassed the entire challenge. Once we had been making it, we all the time performed round with the time period like, “Oh, we’re making R&B for Gotham Metropolis.” I really feel we nailed it.
You’ve all the time launched your initiatives within the fall. What impressed the change of season?
Fall has all the time been the season for a Reggie Becton challenge. We needed [Sadboy] to return out within the fall, however it simply didn’t really feel proper. I needed to vary some songs, so we delayed it. We additionally needed to shoot the brief movie earlier than it got here out. Spring made essentially the most sense as a result of the brief sequence is type of in that place of summertime. We began to consider the timing of it. I all the time felt like darker music was made for the autumn. However I used to be like, “Hmm, let’s put darker music out whereas everyone is making an attempt to make summer season jams [and] social gathering anthems. Why indirectly communicate to the individuals who could also be going by means of some shit within the spring or summer season?” Typically these may be essentially the most miserable occasions for individuals.
The duvet artwork of Sadboy is an inverted photograph of you smiling. What’s the inspiration behind that?
I really like a very good juxtaposition. I really feel like feelings are these items that we attempt to make a lot into one factor. We attempt to make them so fixed. Unhappiness reveals up in our lives in so many alternative methods. Typically you’re unhappy due to a breakup; generally you’re unhappy since you had nice intercourse with somebody and you may’t get that feeling again. It’s not all the time a unhappiness the place you’re moping on the sofa; it’s a unhappiness you are feeling. For Sadboy, I needed to redefine unhappiness in a means that seems in my life.
Sadboy, Vol. 1 is the primary of two components. How would you evaluate Vol. 1 to Vol. 2?
Vol. 1 is concerning the unhappiness you are feeling from all of your previous relationships and making an attempt to make use of these relationships to higher your self. Vol. 2 is you’ve labored by means of a few of your feelings, and now you are feeling you’re in a spot to present like to somebody and entice love, however you’re unable to seek out somebody to present that like to. I’m hoping the sound of Vol. 2 will probably be somewhat lighter.
How do you address unhappiness as an artist?
That’s one thing I’m engaged on now; it’s a large number of issues. Typically it’s consuming chocolate, going to a bar, rolling some weed, or calling my managers to look at a film or one thing. Typically, I simply have to get out exterior. Recently, that’s been the treatment for me. An enormous a part of the unhappiness that I’ve been feeling is simply unhappiness from new ranges, new devils. There’s plenty of issues coming my means — all good issues that I’m enthusiastic about — however I’m getting harassed. I nonetheless work a 9-5, so there’s duality of me making an attempt to seem and do my greatest there, but additionally making an attempt to make my exit. My boss is sweet, and I do know they want me, however I want to depart them. All these items at play actually acquired me in a bit a funk. What’s been useful is getting much more relaxation. I actually worth my relaxation now.
What’s the inspiration behind “Lettin’ Go”?
The difficult factor about “Lettin’ Go” is it places you on this vibe of solar shining and enjoyable. However once we wrote that tune, we had been like, “Let’s craft essentially the most lovely breakup tune ever.” So if you happen to take heed to the phrases, it’s most likely one of many sadder songs on the challenge. We needed to create one thing that didn’t really feel unhappy, however, lyrically, was one of the gut-wrenching songs.
You co-wrote three songs on Alex Vaughn’s The Hurtbook EP, together with the Darkchild-produced tracks “So Be It” and “Do You Ever” and “Demon Time.” How did you two DMV natives join?
We met on set of my “Points” video by means of a mutual buddy. We’ve identified one another from simply seeing one another out. We by no means noticed one another in PG County, however we’re from PG County. We’ve all the time had this mutual respect for one another. When she got here to the “Points” video shoot, we acquired time to cut it up and have become cool. After that, I acquired a name to go write some songs with Rodney Jerkins from my A&R at Common [Music Group], Lauren Kennedy — and it was for Alex Vaughn.
What was your expertise like working with the legendary Rodney Jerkins?
He’s like my all-time favourite producer as a result of [Brandy’s] Full Moon is my favourite album of all time. He embraces all creativity. He gave us the freedom to create. It was cool as a result of he additionally guided us each step of the way in which. He additionally offered trustworthy suggestions. It was like a grasp class. It was additionally cool to see somebody nonetheless carry out of their highest regard of music after which prioritize household. There have been days the place he was like, “I’m leaving presently to hold with my household.” It was cool to see that you may attain a spot the place when you’ve paid your dues and constructed your title, you may attain some extent the place it’s like, “All proper, I can do music from 9 to 5, after which can go house, be with my household and have that steadiness.”
Was there something out of your expertise working with Rodney Jerkins that you just utilized going ahead along with your music?
He by no means was formulaic within the course of. A variety of occasions when individuals are making an attempt to make successful or sturdy information, they get very formulaic. What he truthfully needed each time was, “Y’all have to be having conversations. Earlier than you write any of those songs, have the dialog, and speak about it.” Like, “Take a dive deep into the psyche of the whole lot you guys are going by means of.” For “So Be It,” we talked for possibly two or three hours earlier than we even began writing that tune. “So Be It” was the tune we wrote on the primary day.
Do you intend on writing extra songs with different artists?
I’ve been doing rather a lot. I wrote rather a lot for Tone [Stith], so hopefully one thing makes it on that challenge. I did some stuff with Eli [Derby], and different people who I’m not gonna say but. I’m excited that I get to do this extra.
What would you like listeners to remove from Sadboy?
I need individuals to turn into extra comfy with their feelings and embrace them. With unhappiness being such an enormous theme of this challenge, I need individuals to appreciate that unhappiness is not only this darkish emotion. Unhappiness is colourful like every emotion, and it’s okay to be unhappy. I need individuals to really feel like these songs are soundtracks of their lives. I needed to create music for males going by means of breakups, heartbreaks [or] having a tough time looking for love. I really feel like plenty of males out listed here are dying to be cherished, however simply too afraid to say it.
Stream Reggie Becton’s Sadboy, Vol. 1 EP under.
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