Bobby V has been in the game long enough to witness how much R&B music has changed. He got his initial break with the group Mista in the mid 1990s, but didn’t see true success as a solo artist until 2005, when his debut Bobby Valentino was released. But even since that time, Valentino has seen a shift in the industry and doesn’t like where the music is currently and is unsure about where it’s heading.
“R&B is in a weird place,” he tells rolling out. “Me being a real singer and playing piano and stuff like that and trying to be one of the forerunners [who are] bringing R&B back; and seeing the business and game where it is now …” he pauses and then adds, “I’m not giving up on it —but I’m just sitting back a little bit and reevaluating things. I’m seeing where urban music is going. Having a record deal and them keeping you in a box as an urban artist, it just opened my eyes to want to do something different and try some different stuff.”
“In 2014, I don’t really think it is R&B,” Bobby continues. “R&B is more of a black market, kind of. It’s [gone] all the way hip-hop. The rappers are singing. So if rap is more popular than R&B and rappers are singing, then it kind of leaves us out the door — those that really do real R&B. Of course, you can make an R&B song degrading women and saying some negative things and that may work. Because it seems like those are the R&B songs that are working now, which is a little sad to me. But I’m not that kind of guy.”
Thinking back to his earliest days as an R&B singer and to the music that inspired him, Bobby V believes that his heart is still tied to the music of the 1990s. During that decade, R&B groups like Boyz II Men and Jodeci dominated urban radio.
“Those are the years when I was really interested in R&B,” he recalls. “The 90s are when I learned a lot … about R&B. I saw it change a lot between 2009 and 2010; it started to change. That’s when the AutoTune got really big which made everybody able to sing. That’s when R&B changed.”
Bobby V says he’s turning his interests more towards acting. Despite the fact that his Peach Moon EP received a warm reception when it was released this past winter, the singer-songwriter just doesn’t know if he wants to deal with the music industry and changing times.
“I think the more you know and the more educated you become, the more you’re put out of the industry,” he says. “Unless you get a job in the industry, being a smart artist is not really what a lot of people want. Once you start to ask questions and start to learn a lot, I don’t think they want that. Now the business is about one hit, maybe two and ‘see you later.’”