What would you do if you saw Tyrese wandering through the mall? Life gets a little crazy when you’re a celebrity. I had Tyrese on the phone, but the fans had him surrounded.
How’s it going?
(Tyrese starts talking to a fan, ‘What’s your name, sweetie?’)
What are you doing at the mall?
I’m about to pick me up a few things. I tried to dip through in peace, but I had to walk through a big crowd.
It’s got to be good though.
It’s always love. I can never get used to it.
It is weird?
It isn’t like I’m Michael Jackson or nothing. (laughs) They going crazy, but they ain’t going buck ass crazy. Buck ass crazy is when you can’t do nothing. I don’t want to be that big. I still want to be able to go to the mall and get recognized and they let me keep on going.
Life has to be crazy.
It gets hectic. I’m just trying to maintain my sanity.
How long did you work on the album?
It was a three-year process, ongoing, nonstop. I was trying to get in the studio as much as I could between modeling and Mtv and everything else.
You were in the studio doing something last week, right?
Yeah, I was working on my single doing a remix.
So the album in a way is still ongoing?
Yeah, it is.
You went in wanting the best songs and producers. Was that tough?
It’s a question of what is a good song to you and what soothes your soul. When I’m in the studio, I let them in on what I’m after. The fact that I’m being honest and straight up, I think they respect it because some people are so desperate to work with big people that they’ll take anything they give them. I told them straight up I was looking for the goodies and please deliver because I want to pay them what they are worth, but I want to walk out of here with something. I want you to contribute to my history like I’m contributing to the history of your pockets.
Do you get really involved in the studio?
Yeah. I’m not just a voice who wants to sing on anything. I co-produce, I want to select who comes in and plays on what songs, who to duet with and all of it.
Is singing the easy part?
Singing is the easy part. Putting everything together is the challenge.
With so much in your basket, it’s got to be hard to find time to do shows.
I’ve been doing some shows. I’m just doing gigs here and there, trying to keep my face out there.
Do you want to do more shows?
When I get onstage I become somebody. I don’t know who I am on the stage, but I just go off.
Are you a different person when you are the singer, the actor, and the person?
Yeah. I’m different people. You’ve got to get through different situations different ways, especially when I do things like go to the mall without security. There is a certain way you’ve got to go about doing it. I couldn’t believe anybody would recognize me today because I’m so covered up. I’m as incognito as possible.
Do you think about how people perceive you and does that ever bother you, either good or bad?
I’m not worried. I just know one thing. Seems like the world is waiting on the opportunity to have something on me. I try to keep my slate as clean as possible. It’s not something I do on purpose, but my slate is clean. I think everybody has a bad reputation of something, somehow, and I’ve been lucky enough to avoid a lot of different situations. Even though I’ve been at some levels of being in trouble, it’s never went anywhere. I’ve been fortunate to make many first time mistakes and not cause a fuss in a major way. I’m already anticipating the day when I have sleepless nights because of something I do or say. It’s just going to be everywhere and I won’t be able to go anywhere without someone saying ‘Did you really say that?’ or ‘Did you really do that?’
Is it hard because you can’t just do things without the scrutiny? I mean, you go to the mall and everyone is watching you whereas I can just do whatever and nobody would even care a bit.
It happens. I can’t say this is the downside of my life. Things happen, and I think throughout life there is one thing to want a situation and another to be prepared for the situation. Singing is what I’ve always wanted to do. I was really happy that it happened.
Who were you pretending to be in your bedroom or walking down the street when you were singing?
Same old me.
Did you ever dream you’d be in this position?
No. I was a late bloomer as a singer. I started singing at fourteen and got my break at sixteen. I knew I wanted to be a singer when I was fourteen, versus me thinking I wanted to be a star or huge, I was just happy I had a shot.
Is there anyone that if you saw them in the mall it would stop you in your tracks?
Shit, anyone. I still get star struck. That is why I don’t hang out with stars, because I get too caught up. If I see a star, whether they huge or not, I’ll be like, ‘Damn, they on tv!’ (we both laugh) I get so caught up in who they are that I don’t even pay attention to who I am.
When you meet anybody like that, do you find them acting a certain way?
Celebrities are usually pretty cordial and respectful to other celebrities. That’s one of the perks that come with it. You can’t really tell when somebody is an asshole when you are famous and you meet them.
What is the plan? Are you going to continue to juggle your many careers?
Everything I do I focus on it while I do it. I don’t believe in being one-dimensional. I can’t do that. I put my hand in and let the one hand wash the other. I can’t rely on one hand.
Do you believe in the saying that hard work pays off in the end?
Of course, of course. I also believe that if you are going to complain about anything, you’ve got to do something about it. As much as I can get pissed off about this or that, I’d still rather have my problems than anybody else’s. I remember my old problems compared to my new problems and there ain’t anything like it. I mean, if I have a photo shoot coming up and you are like, ‘Why the hell is it taking so long for the stylist to get here?’ Well, at least I have a stylist. You know? Shit. ‘I missed my flight and I’m going to miss my show when I land.’ Well, at least I had a show to miss. It’s about perspective. I just can’t find myself getting cocky or arrogant over who I am. Because everything I have, everybody else has it to.
+ charlie craine