R&B and dance music performer Chris Brown, a Grammy Award winner, rose to fame with R&B and pop singles including “Run It!,” “Kiss Kiss,” and “Forever.”
Brown’s love of music and dance was significantly impacted by the multi-talented “King of Pop” Michael Jackson, who ruled the music charts and generated worldwide attention.
The singer’s potential was recognized at the age of 13, and by the time he was 16, he had already written and produced his debut album, reaching the second spot on the Billboard charts. His fourth album, “F.A.M.E.,” which debuted at the top of the Billboard charts, won the 2011 Grammy for Best R&B Album.
That demonstrates Brown’s musical ability and talent, and given that he was just 23 at the time, it is remarkable that he received almost the same number of honors from musicians who were more successful than him.
Behind-the-scenes life of Chris Brown
At such a young age, Chris Brown has undoubtedly received several accolades and gained notoriety on a global scale, but away from the spotlight and cameras, he was just a person looking to inspire others through his talent. Even the singer admits that he hopes people will see his art and be moved by it.
“As a 23-year-old young entertainer, I want the world to see my art and hopefully be inspired by it, promote positivity with what I do now – with painting, with fashion, with directing, with creativity as far as videos and cinema. I want to have people admire that and hopefully have people follow in my footsteps,” he said.
Speaking about being out of the spotlight, he claims that living an everyday life free from cameras and the attention that his music has brought him is the most enjoyable thing for him.
“Honestly, my day-to-day life is the most fun right now because I get a chance to not focus on “the artist” Chris Brown. Going through the regular things, like going to the grocery store. I’m also running a label right now, so I have different artists, four or five different acts, shooting videos that I’m directing and coming together.”
And whenever he wanted to get some time off, he could easily request for one without getting hassled.
“I kind of have that luxury of being able to hand off my schedule and say, ‘I need a day off. I don’t want to do this; let’s cancel, reschedule.’ I’m more of a C.E.O. with my team. My days off, I hang out with my homeboys and play basketball. I paint, go to parties, listen to music, dance. I just bought a bike, so I like to ride. The cardio is good. Just to ride on the street on the bike, beating the traffic.”
When asked if he could really do that, he answered: “Yeah, I do. Then maybe a couple of minutes later, someone in a car turns around and realizes it’s me. ‘Hey, that’s Chris Brown. What’s Chris Brown doing on a bike?’”
Chris Brown’s passion for painting and his acting profession
Aside from singing, Chris Brown can also do other things as well such as acting and painting. He shared that he had been painting since he was a kid but secretly.
“I’ve been painting secretly since I was a kid. A lot of people didn’t know that it was my hobby. I focused on doing the bad stuff at first with graffiti and vandalizing as a kid. But as you get older, you start studying art books and sketchbooks in the libraries. I started getting better, like maybe three or four years ago. I met Ron English and Kid Zoom [Ian Strange], and they were just teaching me different techniques for painting. So my art started growing, and I started doing it on my own. I finally got people to recognize it, and I did a couple of art galleries – one in L.A. and one in New York – and I sold four out of my seven paintings. You know, I’m new. But my feet are in the water, and that’s all it takes. I don’t think I want to conquer painting. It’s just something I love to do.”
Speaking about other talents outside singing, Brown mentioned acting as one of them, adding that acting is something that comes naturally to him.
“Acting is just something that comes natural. I used to look in the mirror all the time, make funny faces, trying get my face right. Looking at Jim Carrey, looking at a lot of different movies. The key is that you pick up what you see all the time. That’s kind of where I got my Michael Jackson inspiration, my charisma. I did a couple of acting lessons, but when it comes down to it, I learned more from the actors on set, their energy, and timing.”
“I really want to get into more action and sci-fi because that’s where I do a lot of my own music videos,” he added. “And seeing as how I do most of my stunts, people get to see my capabilities. For me, it’s like, ‘Hey, whatever movie you’ve got, let’s go!’ I really want to be able to pull my weight, and when you see the movie – the part when I cry – that you believe me. I really want you to know who the character is and really take that seriously.”
For his best acting experience so far, the singer explained: “My best acting experience? I can’t say. Every movie, I’ve learned something, whether it be directing, whether it being editing, even learning the lines.”
“Learning from different people. But I can definitely say one of my favorite movies is the one I just did – Battle of the Year. I had a crying scene. Most of the guys on the set were goofballs. Everyone was like 23 or younger. So they were sitting around and laughing the whole time; the camera was not on them, and they were trying to make you laugh the whole time. But you’ve got to stay in character, so that was probably the most challenging thing I had to do, and also being able to do more serious scenes with more established actors. You want to show them that you’re serious, don’t want to come off like, this is fake.”
Brown also talked about his film “Battle of the Year,” claiming that it’s not “your average dance movie.”
“You’ve got basically 10 to 15 of the best guys in America competing to be on one team, and this is an actual contest that happens, called B.C. We actually go and battle for real against teams from Russia, Germany, and other places. So it’s like a sports movie. It’s really technical moves. People can get hurt. I remember being super ripped on stage and super in shape. That’s the best shape I’ve ever been in.”
Chris Brown’s involvement in the process of his studio album “Fortune”
Chris Brown’s fifth studio album, “Fortune,” was produced by a variety of musicians, including the Underdogs, Polow da Don, Brian Kennedy, the Runners, the Messengers, H-Money, Danja, and Benny Benassi.
In addition to them, the Grammy-winning musician got engaged in the song’s production from its video. He claims that despite performing songs from many genres, the album’s MO was something he integrated.
“Definitely with Fortune, that’s the direction I wanted to go, but even with the F.A.M.E. album. What I wanted to do was not set the bar with a certain kind of style. I didn’t want people to say. ‘He’s just R&B.’ Yes, I will sing an R&B song. But then I’ll do a pop song, then I’ll do a song with a country kind of feel, a reggae feel. I always want to be eclectic with my music. I don’t think music has a race. I think music has a soul, and it’s just a feeling. What evokes the set of emotions from you is what I try to bring out; whatever flows, whatever I feel, I just write.”
In terms of working with the music video for “Fortune,” he said: “With the comedy videos like ‘Till I Die’ – which I did with Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean – it was like, cool. Let’s have fun with it. Make a crazy video.”
“Being able to direct by myself and have full creative focus and being able to know the cameras – that was the easiest part. The vision is the hard part. Whenever you’re sleeping, you have that dream or that nightmare, and that’s your video. That’s how I kind of interpret it. Or whatever I see when I hear the music, whatever vision I see, I put it right onto paper and put it out on the video. Like the video for ‘Don’t Judge Me’ – it was me going into a spaceship. Not to be arrogant when I say it, but I want to be the Steven Spielberg of music videos, to be innovative and young, not to put a bar on it just because of budgetary issues or certain capabilities.”
Furthermore, Brown discloses the reason why his fifth studio album’s videos are mini-movies. “Back in the day, what inspired me as a teenager growing up was Fred Astaire, James Brown, Michael Jackson.”
“Not their personal life or what they do when they go home, but the movies they made that took you to a land they made up when you saw them. Gene Kelly, too. A lot of different people. And a crazy, crazy amount of Broadway-like theatre stuff. When you can incorporate that, it intrigues the mind, lets you focus in on another place like when you watch a movie. It takes you somewhere where it’s not real life. That’s what I focus on in all my videos, why they’re like mini movies.”
Chris Brown’s charity work and his love for children
Outside his professional career, Chris Brown has been doing a lot of charity work behind the camera, and this stems from his love for children. He would devote his charitable efforts to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Best Buddies.
“I’ve been involved with [those] since I was 15, 16. It’s not about recognition because that’s not what satisfies me. The satisfaction is people that are getting helped or are benefitting from whatever I donate, whatever I contribute to their lives. I don’t like it to be publicized. If there are cameras around, it’s cool. But I do it from the heart. When I go on T.V. and do my videos, that’s the artist Chris Brown. But when I go and do [charity work], it’s just me – it’s just Christopher.”
He continued his statement by saying how much he loved working with children, stating, “My nostalgic feeling of working with kids is because of my mom working in daycare. I was in daycare when I was three weeks old. Growing up in daycare with the kids coming in and out, when I turned 13, 14, 15, I was doing the same job as her. It’s easy! I used to watch them in daycare, and they’d all be asleep. Someone would say to me, ‘Man, what did you do?’ And I’d say I just ran them outside, and I have just as much energy as them. It’s just being a kid and having that free spirit with them. They see me having just as much fun with all the responsibilities I have, with all the life stuff that I deal with every day, still taking time out to just smile and play around.”
The singer then explained what “Symphonic Love” is all about. “Symphonic Love does programmes in schools, like with my school back home,” he shared.
“Musical programmes and helping kids with disabilities. I do a lot of stuff with Best Buddies that coexists with that. The name comes from a tattoo that I’ve got [runs hand across his chest] – something that’s over my heart right now. So my heart is where it’s at. The tattoo’ symphonic love’ encompasses the positivity of what I’m trying to do – uplifting humanity.”
Chris Brown has a website dedicated to his fans where he shows his fashion and lifestyle
Chris Brown has a site where he gives a glimpse of his life from fashion, music, lifestyle, art, etc., and his website’s name has a great explanation behind the meaning of it.
“‘Mechanicaldummy’ meaning ‘brainwashing,’ like when we watch T.V. The news will tell us we need everybody to move to this spot because of whatever, and we all do it because the T.V. tells us to. So we are brainwashed, so to speak. The site is my way of brainwashing my viewers. You can see whatever you want, from fashion to art houses to lifestyle, culture, and music, everything in my everyday life. And my clothing line, Black Pyramid. The brainwashing is my choice. But it’s brainwashing in a good way. Not to facilitate anything negative with hate or racism or anything. All fashion-forward lifestyle.”
Chris Brown’s life in Virginia
With his massive success in the Hollywood industry, it’s possible that Chris Brown will be moving from country to country for shows and might even decide to live outside his hometown, Virginia. However, even if that happens, he acknowledged that a small-town Virginia still left in him.
“Ha! I’m still country. Sometimes when I talk, the twang will come out. But I feel humbled by my upbringing. I still live in Virginia. I have a house there. I go back and forth. Most of my family is based out of there. And I always go back to get my aunt’s cooking. That’s a must.”
And when he would get around town, the artist remarked: “I got a couple of cars. The nice one I love right now is the [Lamborghini] Aventador.”
He likewise noted that while he loved Los Angeles, Virginia is a location he would always return to. “I love L.A. It’s more fast-paced, and you can get a lot of work done. But when I want to relax, I get to go home [to Virginia].”
Chris Brown discusses his upbringing and early years before entering the entertainment industry
Chris Brown is just like any other musician who has their musical influences, and for him, the whole ’90s era shaped him and his music taste.
“The whole ’90s era shaped who I am, from MTV to Kris Kross to Vanilla Ice to MC Hammer to Hootie & The Blowfish and TLC. Also, people like Michael Jackson – you can even say he’s the reason why there is a Chris Brown. A lot of different artists growing up shaped me because I don’t listen to one form of music.”
When asked if he really got discovered at a gas station, Brown himself confirmed, saying, “The gas station thing [laughs]… It’s kind of like when you line everybody up and whisper something, and by the time it gets to the end, it’s a different story. A guy came to the gas station [in Virginia] where my father worked, who knew a guy who happened to know a guy who worked for the guy who knew a guy who knew a production team.”
However, he clarified that he didn’t do busking in gas stations, but he would instead showcase his talent in malls at that time. “Oh, never, never, never. I used to do it at the malls, though. I definitely used to sing in the malls and walk up to a group of girls. And they’d say, ‘Hey! Who’s that boy?’ And all my friends would talk to all the girls. It was a good chick magnet back in the day.”
What characteristic of Chris Brown might surprise his fans to learn?
Being in the spotlight makes it appear like everyone knows everything about you because they are all covered by the media. However, Chris Brown still possesses traits that would surprise his fans, such as his constant involvement in everything.
“Just how involved I am with everything. I think a lot of people, a lot of artists, they get the glamour and glitz, and everything else is already set for them. You see it, and you say, ‘Oh man, it’s perfect.’ But everything is already written. For me, it’s all just straight from thin air. I hear a song [claps his hands] – that’s my concept. When you hear my records, it’s really me writing. It’s really my emotions. It’s really me behind the cameras, directing those videos. It’s me making the decision on what singles we put out—being the CEO. A real businessman at 23. That’s what I want to show my audience. The generation that we’re in – we’re a lazy generation. The kids in my generation are not as hyper. The work ethic isn’t there. The attention span is short. But I think if they can see me do it at 23 and have all this stuff going on – and still have fun while I’m doing it – who’s to say they can’t?”