It has been quite a decade for Calvin Richardson. The southern-born singer got his start in the music industry at a young age and since has been on a steady ascent.
In addition to releasing four solo albums over his 10-year span, the native North Carolinian has penned a collection of many well-known songs for other artists including the Grammy-nominated hit, “There Goes My Baby” by legendary R&B singer Charlie Wilson.
Now in preparation for the release of his latest effort, America’s Most Wanted, Richardson spoke to the AFRO about his growth in the industry as well as his plans for the future.
AFRO: How did you get your start in singing?
CR: I started off singing in a gospel quartet in church with my brothers. After that, I went to high school and got in a group with K-Ci and Jo Jo before they formed Jodeci. Then, I put a group together and we were signed to Tommy Boy Records. After the group dismantled, Heavy D signed me to Uptown Records and my first project, Country Boy, came out in 1999.
AFRO: Explain your growth as an artist starting from your first album, to “America’s Most Wanted.”
CR: Country Boy was obviously my first solo project in the industry and I was on a major label and you don’t have as much creative control when you first start out. I did a lot of writing on Country Boy, but they brought other people in for the production. Now, I’ve grown pretty much as a writer and a producer. This new project that I have, I pretty much produced and wrote the whole thing.
AFRO: What do you enjoy the most, writing or singing/performing?
CR: I’m a performer and a singer first. I think writing was second for me and I had to develop that. I love writing music and hearing other people [sing my songs] is great, but singing is really my first love.
AFRO: Can you explain your process when you’re about to write a new song?
CR: I have a writing room in my house and that’s where I do all my recordings and vocals. But I’m inspired every day by different things I go through or different things that people close to me deal with that I feel is worthy of being spoken about. There’s no real process, it’s just whatever the creative vibe is when I go into the studio.
AFRO: You’ve been in the industry for over a decade. Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
CR: In the next few upcoming years, leading up to those 10 years, I will definitely be putting out a couple more albums, I’m sure. [Also], I want to be responsible for other artists that are coming up that share the same type of ideas and the creative spirit that I have. I want to be responsible for putting music out there and being the voice of music with substance—real soul and good music. That’s what I want to do.
“America’s Most Wanted” will be released on Aug. 31 on Shanachie Records. For more information on Calvin Richardson, visit: Iamcalvinrichardson.com.