6Magazine + Kevin McCall conversationJune 7, 2012
Last week, I had the chance to chop it up with rising R&B star Kevin McCall. He’s worked with Chris Brown, Big Sean, Tyga and many more talented entertainers. Check out what Kevin had to say about music and football.
Tell me about your new song and video Naked feat. Big Sean
The song is doing really well. I’m getting great responses from DJ’s. It’s a very international song. It’s not hood or pop the crowd for this song is very diverse. It’s a great party song.
How was it working with Big Sean?
It was great. He’s doing really well right now so it was good to have him on the song.
What made you pick Chris Brown to be the director?
It was actually his idea. I’ve seen his other bodies of work. I was with him on the Dueces set. Even though he didnt’ direct it, he was very vocal on set and real hands on. He’s actually been directing for a while and he’s finally getting credit for it.
Take us back to when you first started songwriting and tell us how you got into it?
I just tried to mimic songs. I started producing because of Pharell. I’m a huge Tyrese fan also, he was a big influence. I got into music by copy people’s songs (laughs). It was basically plagerism but I’d change a few words. I mean, imitation is highest form of flattery. It’s pretty cool because a lot of the people that influenced me, I’m actually getting a chance to work with them now which is a cool way to pay homage.
How did you get into music exactly?
After college, I thought I would get discoverd overnight. That didn’t happen so I was a trainer at 24 hour fitness. The recession was really bad so I couldn’t really find work. It allowed me to focus on my fraternity (Omega Psi Phi) and I just chilled and had fun. They helped me build a fan base because I made a lot of music and party songs that were frat songs. I made several YouTube videos and just built up a fan base.
Tell us about the process that it takes going into writing a song vs. getting ready to perform?
Performing is easier. Once the song is created and you can sit with it, it’s easy to perform it. Kinda like learning parts of a play. The creation part is different. Some people like get drunk or high, but I have to be in a happy place or be sad. I just write off that raw emotion. I also learned to not give a shit about it, not to try to make a great song or write a song for a person. I just make a song that makes sense and figure out who can sing it later. When you try to make a song for a specific person you put urself in a box, don’t worry about that just make great song.
Some people don’t know but you played football at Washington State, tell us about that.
Yeah, I was a running back. I wore #20, so whenever I sign autographs, I #20 with my name.
What running back would you say your game seemed to resemble?
I was like Brian Westbrook. I had power, but didn’t use it as much. I was very fast and elusive.
What was your best memory playing at Washington State?
It was my first touchdown. Before that, I wasn’t playing very much in the first few games so I was frustrated. I finally got to play and on my first carry against the University of Idaho, I took it 50 yards to the house.
Did your teammates know you could sing?
Yeah, they did. I came in a freshman and I didn’t get hazed. The upperclassmen just had me sing to their girlfriends so that kept them off my back. They couldn’t embarrass me because I actually liked to sing and could do it well.
Where would you rather be…where you are now in life? Or a first round NFL draft pick?
I’d take this over being in the NFL. The life span of a running back is only 3 years and after that you’re just gambling. I have a lifelong career in music. After I’m doing singing, I can transition to the business side. I’d definitely take this over football.
What do you think about former NFL players suing the NFL about the new information we’ve found out about concussions?
They know what they signed up for. You cant sue someone. You know what’s going to happen and that should be careful. The head trauma is serious. I still have aches and pains from when I last played in 2008.
Switching back to music, talk about your style.
I have my own style. It’s very eclectic because I have many influences like Musiq Soulchild, Tyrese, Tank and more. I really like barritone singers. I’m starting to love falsettos now. I didn’t get into when I was younger but now I am.
What is that extra thing you have done to be successful in both music and football?
As far as football, go to camps. There are different coaches at the camps that take notice. Any camps, combines or clinics that kids can find they should go there, because college coaches are always there scouting. It’s going to cost you some money, but you’re going to get some good exposure in return so it’s worth it. You also have to be in the 7 on 7 leagues and camps. All of the stuff outside the season is very important because you are building relationships. You can’t just play football anymore you have to do more work in the off-season.
As far as music goes, you have to build up your internet presence. You’ve got to be very visual and create a small fan base on youtube.
Behind the Scenes of Kevin McCall’s Naked video directed by Chris Brown
Kevin McCall Biography