A chat with Calvin Richardson

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R&B singer Calvin Richardson has seen the ups and downs of the music industry.

The North Carolina native sold 100,000 records 10 years ago but was still dropped from Uptown Records. His second album, on the other hand, went certified gold earlier this year. But through all that, he never forgot where he came from.

So when it came time to shoot a video for his new record, Charlotte was the first place that came to mind. Richardson sat down with CL at his "Woman's Got To Have It" video premiere party at the Sunset Club on Monday night to talk about his new album Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack, that dropped on Tuesday.

Creative Loafing: So where are you from in North Carolina?

Calvin Richardson: Well originally I’m from Monroe, North Carolina but I’ve been in Charlotte for so long so that’s what I’m claiming; that’s home for me now.

So you’re not new to this, everybody knows you sold 100,000 10 years ago ...

Yeah, I sold 100,000 10 years ago and my second album just went gold, officially, in February. I dropped another one that’s out there last year, and it’s still out there working. But I got another one getting ready to drop ...

Lets talk about the journey real fast, from ‘99 to 2009, how did everything go? Explain that trip.

From '99 to 2009, it was just a lot of hard work. A lot of set ups and set backs to me, it was a learning lesson for me. I grew a lot in the business. Now, I just feel like I’m more seasoned as far as the business goes.

Do you appreciate it more with the struggles you went through?

Oh, I definitely appreciate it, everyday, like I said, I don’t take nothing for granted anymore. When you come into the music business, it's easy for you to have a perception of the game like you’re going to be an overnight success and for some people that’s true. Like you can get on American Idol, but I didn’t have those outlets and stuff like that … but you cant build no house without no foundation that’s going to stand, so that’s what I am.

So you’re as much apart of N.C.’s soul roots — what can you say about the state and the kinds of artists we put out? You got Anthony Hamilton, you got Jodeci, you got people like that and you fit right in with them. How do you feel to be among that crew?

I mean it feels good. They are the keepers of real music ... WE are the keepers of real music, not just they, but that’s what we do. You know I grew up with K-Ci and Jo-Jo. And you know Anthony — he’s doing his thing, and he’s keeping it real as well, so it’s all good man to be a part of that elite crew from North Carolina.

So what can people look forward to on the album coming out tomorrow?

Tomorrow I have 11 songs on there, that were some of Bobby Womack’s greatest hits that I felt like, you know, he had some many, so I picked 11 songs that I felt like would really make a statement and introduce people that don’t know anything about Bobby Womack to who he is, to his music, to his greatness and so that’s what you’re going to get. You’re gonna get "110th Street," "Stop On By," "I’m Through Trying to Prove My Love to You," "Hairy Hippy," "Love Has Finally Come At Last," "American Dream" ... did I say "Daylight"? (laughing) I can go on and on, until I get to 11 of course, but that’s basically what you’re going to get.

Why Bobby Womack?

I say, why not? I mean Bobby Womack is the greatest storyteller of my time, our time, that I know of and my style is just so similar to Bobby Womack’s. My first album that I recorded 10 years ago, I did a cover of “I Wish You Didn’t Trust Me So Much” and who would know 10 years later I’d go back and do a whole cover of Bobby Womack’s songs man just to pay homage and tribute because that’s who’s shoulders I’ve been standing on for the last 10 years.

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