10 Questions For Musiq Soulchild

In an industry consumed by the almighty dollar, Musiq Soulchild is just interested in a little bit of change. Today, the singer lays back on a black leather couch, his posture relaxed but his facial expression all business. Designer shades—broad and opaque—shield his eyes from his own hoodie, which is oddly blinged out for a neo-soul crooner. But then again, doesnt the “neo” imply something fresh and unexpected?

“I have a thing against people being categorized,” Musiq tells Rap-Up.com. “It traps us into thinking we can only dress, act, or be a certain way.” Whatever that way is, Musiqs fans have been devoted to it for years, finding solace and wisdom in his candid perspective on love. As he preps his sixth album, MUSIQINTHEMAGIQ, for a May 3 release, hes ready to lyrically and socially stretch the boundaries hes built throughout his career. His first single, “Anything,” raised a few eyebrows because of its uptempo, clubby feel, and a cameo by the effervescent Swizz Beatz.

While the album may steer a bit to the left of what soul enthusiasts would expect, the project is a love letter to his loyal fan base coupled with a side of tight game to attract a few new ears. Rap-Up.com took the time to find the rhyme behind Musiqs reason, as he shared why he doesnt like a lady caked in makeup, whose music he works up a sweat to, and what really happened when he fell off stage in New York City.

1. Do you read reviews of your music?
Not all of them. I like to get a general scope of what people are saying, but I allow people around me to get into all of that. I know theyre not going to just tell me anything because they are invested in it as well. My brother, my manager, the record label, theyll keep it real with me like, “You know what? People arent really feeling this record for whatever reason.”

2. Which artist would you like to collaborate with?
Ryan Leslie. I think he is hugely and grossly underrated. Hes one of those rare dudes that do everything and that doesnt come around often. He does everything and does it well. He writes, sings, plays, makes beats, raps, and he understands the concept of showmanship. Lalah Hathaway is another one. Shes a core audience favorite but she doesnt get the same popularity as some more exposed artists and thats a shame.

3. The leading lady in the “Anything” video is pretty dolled up compared to those in some of your past clips. Whats your type of woman?
I dont really have a type! This was the same conversation we were having when I actually was picking women for the video. I didnt pick the girl in the video [for “Anything”]. I mean shes awesome, but I didnt pick her. I cant speak in particular; I can only speak in parameters. I would say that I would like for her to be more natural than not. Not that I have anything against weaves and anything like that, but I would prefer more natural because Im more of a realist. I would prefer less makeup. I would prefer realistic outfits. Everyone doesnt have the privilege of being glamorous everyday, but that doesnt mean that theyre not beautiful. And it doesnt have to be all earthy. Thats the reason why I have a thing against the whole neo-soul [look]. It makes it feel like girls are supposed to be a certain way. There are people who are natural and beautiful who dont put themselves in a neo-soul category.

4. Do you ever write your own status on Facebook?
Im not really into the Facebook statuses. I made the mistake of getting personally involved with fans and, surprisingly and unfortunately, thats not always a pleasant experience because some people just dont know how to act. I dont know what their perspective on it is but sometimes they dont realize that theyre talking to a real person. They feel like they can say whatever they want to an artist. Im probably as professional as they come but Im a person too. I am invested.

5. What relationship advice would you give your 17-year-old self?
Wake up from the idealized fantasy that people have been conditioned to expect from romance and intimacy. I think both males and females have this fantastic idea of what relationships are supposed to be and I dont think its a fair assessment of what exactly theyre going to be dealing with. Its not “meet the person, fall in love, and live happily ever after.” Not to say its not possible, but in order for that to happen, theres a lot of work that needs to be put into it. Its not fair to get into a relationship with all these expectations. You dont know what that person has been through. Allow people to be themselves. Wake up and start looking at that person for who they are, not for the person you see them as. Just because it doesnt happen like it does on TV, doesnt mean it cant be good.

6. What would you try if you knew you couldnt fail?
Sports. Soccer. I was just never really athletic. But soccers deep. People underestimate it. If I knew I could make it to the World Cup, Id be like, “Good luck on the music thing, yall. But uh, you can catch me in Brazil.”

7. Swizz Beatz is teaching a course on production at NYU this semester. If you were teaching a college course as an honorary professor, what would it be?
Soul music appreciation. And not just because of the artists. The expression of soul music itself—understanding what it really means and the possibilities of what you can accomplish with it. The thing about soul music appreciation is that it encompasses everything because everything is soul music. Hip-hop is soul music and so is rock. These are just offshoots and different expressions of it.

8. You recently wrote on Twitter about falling at a concert. How embarrassing was that for you?
That was real. I bruised my side and everything. I actually fell off the stage. It was due to some technical difficulties but Im OK. I mean falling onstage at a performance in New York? I think it was an intermediate level of embarrassment. But I quickly recovered, gathered myself, and kind of shrugged it off. And everybody was still with me.

9. What do you listen to when youre working out?
I listen to pretty much everything. But lately, I work out to Janelle Monáe. Her musics got a lot of energy. “Tightrope” really gets your blood burning.

10. Where do you feel most creative?
Maybe its because I spend most of my life in the country, but its whenever Im out of the country. Like if Im in Japan, out in Tokyo somewhere. I was in South Korea recently. Do you know how when you go to stores, they play pop music? All they play is soul music, like Korean soul music. But its undeniably soul music. Its like listening to Dwele or Jill Scott but its Korean. And theyre goin hard. Its fresh and its very inspiring.

Props to Rap-Up