In an industry where talentless artists come a dime a dozen, R&B vocalist V. Rich is definitely in the minority. After being exposed to music at a young age, the Michigan native fashioned himself into a full-fledged singer, songwriter, arranger and producer.
Originally trained under a classical music curriculum, V. Rich used his innate musical skills and became a piano wiz. After relocating to D.C., he founded a band and later began singing back-up for artists Amel Larrieux. Through this experience, he later went on to work with a handful of other artists including Raheem DeVaughn, Mya and Lauryn Hill.
Now, fresh off the release of his Extended Play (EP) album, Songs from the Album Addicted, the AFRO spoke to V. Rich about his multifaceted musical style, his current work and his future projects in the making.
AFRO: How did you get you get started in music?
V Rich: I started singing in the church at 3 years old and then I started taking piano lessons at 5. Then, from 5 on, I played up until and I went to Carnegie Mellon University and then transferred to Howard. The funny thing about piano is that I really didn’t like playing when I first started. I actually hated it, but it was a requirement in my family to do it you could only quit once you got to a certain age or a certain level. Once I got to that level, I didn’t want to quit.
AFRO: Since you spent a lot of your formative years studying classical music, do you infuse that into your tracks?
V Rich: I’m always infusing classical music in my songs, more so during my live shows than in my recordings. But you can still hear elements of my classical background.
AFRO: Talk about your extended play (EP) album, ‘Songs from Addicted.’
V Rich: It’s a five-song EP. I put it out to get a feel of what people like and get my feet wet in the industry. I got a great response from it, and it’s just to lead up to my actual LP release. I just recently released my mixtape entitled Before the Addiction.
AFRO: When can listeners expect the full album?
V Rich: It’ll be released in the fall.
AFRO: Will it have any notable features?
V Rich: Yes. Singer Eric Roberson will be on there and so will Rapper Big Pooh from Little Brother. I have a few other artists but they’re not solidified yet so I can’t really mention them. .
AFRO: Often, some might complain that R&B music is not the same as it used to be. What are your thoughts on that claim and how do plan to go against it?
V Rich: I think now, genres are starting to mix together so much that most artists that are out, don’t even fit into the boxes . I personally don’t like boxes in music because some of my songs are R&B, some of them are soul and some of them are alternative. I even have some tracks on my mixtape that are basically smooth jazz. So, I think the lines of genres are starting cross, especially in the R&B, pop and hip hop worlds. I think everybody has their lane. So, is different from the past? Of course it is–everything is always changing. But, there are elements of in music today as well.
AFRO: What’s up next for you?
V Rich: The mixtape and the EP are out, so now I’m working on the full album. I also have a few other projects that I’m working on under my label. I’m doing an album with my father who’s putting out a prayer CD. I’m working with artist Jay Hayden and he’s putting out another album. I did a song with him last year that hit Billboard. I’m also doing a score for a movie called The Talented. So, I’m working.