PUBLISHED: Tuesday – August 24, 2010
Bo Valentine, 23, of Westchester County, NY takes some time out of his day to discuss his debut album, Local Celebrity. He’s the first artist on Cogent Records, setting the pace for the label…and in today’s music race, he’s not trailing behind.
GW: Where can we find your album Local Celebrity?
Bo: You can buy that on bovalentine.com, amazon.com, itunes.com, myspace.com/bo914
GW: Who are your inspirations/influences in the game?
Bo: I love DMX, 2Pac, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, The Game, T-Pain, Tank, Pink, Onyx, Bob Baldwin, Michael Jackson.
GW: Is/are there any artists you would compare yourself to?
Bo: Everybody says they hear DMX, Pac, and Bone Thugs. A lot of people been sayin’ Twista, too. I don’t compare myself to anybody. If I had to compare myself to anyone, I’d compare myself to Bone Thugs. I like that real hip-hop. I love Bone Thugs, that’s where the fastness came from. That’s my favorite thing. I love spittin’ fast.
GW: You mention your love of “that real hip-hop,” yet your music on Local Celebrity is mostly club based.
Bo: I always loved to dance; I wanted everyone to have a good time, I made music so everyone could. You could be 1 to 100 and listen to it. There’s at least one song for somebody on that CD.
GW: How did you get started in the game?
Bo: I started out when I was four. I listened to Michael Jackson and grew from there. I was dancin’, singin’ a little bit, you know, this and that. When I was 12, I really got into writin’ hip hop. I joined a group, Child’s Play; they weren’t cuttin’ it for me. I wanted to be in the studio every day and they weren’t really on my level. They wanted to do it for fun and this is all I had. We started an album and then I left the group. We were gettin’ deals and nobody wanted to do it. I branched off by myself and had all the time I needed. I got to do what I needed to do.
GW: You have a song off the album, “We Made It.” Where is the “It” you have made it to?
Bo: I got my name out there. It was a rough road. I started off recording off two boom boxes, you know, real ghetto? You gotta crawl before you walk. I was makin’ music no matter what. If I had to write stuff and put it online, that’s how I’m gettin’ my music out there. Then I finally got a deal and got to release an album. “We Made It” is also for my hometown. I’m doin’ good right now, we’re all gonna be able to eat. I’m not just doin’ this for me, I’m doin’ it for my whole 914, Westchester, New York in general.
GW: You also have a song off the album called, “Hot.” Is there a certain girl who’s currently making you hot?
Bo: [CHUCKLES] I love women. That song was meant for when people go into a club or bar where it’s poppin’. There’s always somebody walkin’, and you like “Daaaayyyummm!” and you wanna say somethin’ but don’t know what to say to her.
GW: Who produces your beats?
Bo: I have two producers: Dennis Johnson and Jon Manierre.
GW: How much say do you have in the beats produced?
Bo: It’s either I make ‘em, or I call my producer up and we make ‘em together. I’ll tell him what I want or he’ll have some beats. All my beats, I get to pick. Either I was there to design ‘em, I got to design ‘em, or I got to choose. I go in the studio and beat box for him or say how the harmony goes and he’s just a genius and he’ll go with whatever. The finished product, he’ll be like, “You like it?” I’ll be like, “Yeah,” or “It needs this.” I don’t know how I’d do it if I didn’t get to choose a beat or be a part of makin’ a beat.
GW: Do you see yourself continuing as an artist catering to the club scene?
Bo: Yeah, I guess so. That’s just how I feel right now. I wanna make great music, feel good music. If it’s workin’ and people can relate to it, I’ll probably keep doin’ it. I enjoy doin’ it. I’m not tryin’ to say that I’m commercial or anything. I been doin’ this for years now, a lot of people are just startin’ to do it. Dennis Johnson told me there’s a bigger world besides hip-hop. Hip-hop is a little box. You gotta think outside the box. I do what I feel. There’s so many sounds and things you can mesh that makes a song so beautiful.
GW: On Track 9, “In the City,” your vocals are on point. To me, it’s the best song on the album.
Bo: Funny story, when I got that beat I honestly thought that song was gonna flop but everybody loved it. When I was writin’ it, we wanted to go emotional and tell a story. I was in the studio with all my peoples, thinkin’ hard for a few days. I made the song about a girl in the city that no one could hear except for me. She could be sexually abused or abused in general. She feels like no one’s there. But I know she’s there, I’m the one that can save her. It messed me up for a few days. I started believin’ myself ‘cause I got so into the song.
GW: Do you write all your own songs?
Bo: I write all my own songs. I put 1,000 percent into every single lyric. I love music so much, I always did. It was somethin’ I was good at. I put so much time and effort into every word, syllable, sound. I want people to enjoy it and be able to feel how I feel when I make it.
GW: What are you not willing to sacrifice to continue in this game?
Bo: I will not change my music for nobody and I will not change who I am for nobody. Another thing that would bother me is leaving the people who’ve helped me get to where I am today. We live by that loyalty rule. I stay true to myself and true to my peoples.
GW: What sacrifices have you made up to now?
Bo: Bein’in the studio everyday and not gettin’ to see my friends. The thing is, all my friends know what I’m doing and what I’m goin’ through so they stick by me. If anything, they even come to the studio with me. I sacrifice a lot of time, but it’s all worth it in the end.
GW: You have a song on the album called, “Rock Star.” Is there a difference between a rock star and a hip-hop star?
Bo: When it comes to music, I feel we all are here for the same thing. Every musician, every artist, we’re here to make music. The rock and hip-hop world, we’re tryin’ to get together. Sometimes it sounds good, sometimes it doesn’t. When I say I’m a rock star, I party like a rock star. I party hard, but I also make hip-hop, pop music.
GW: Describe your party scene.
Bo: Me and my cousin, we hang out all the time. We usually get bottles, champagne, all that, some beer pong, hit the bars, the clubs, be out all night. Then, hit the studio, get some work done there. We’re on a 24/7 grind, havin’ fun, makin’ money, and partyin’.
GW: What’s your favorite drink?
Bo: p.i.n.k. It has caffeine, Guarana, and 80 proof vodka in it. That and Patron Silver. You need Patron, don’t ever forget Patron, definitely Grey Goose.
GW: How do you make your money?
Bo: I work at Easter Seals. I work with children. Kids are beautiful, I love my job. I love to walk into a place where I could have the worst day of my life and then I see all these kids that got nothin’ but love for me. They can come and talk to me and they look at me as a role model. I love helping kids. If there’s anything I can do to help them succeed in the future, that’s what I’m for. It’s cool; I can help change a life. In the afternoon, I have an after school program.
GW: Do you want to be bigger than a local celebrity?
Bo: I would love to be. I wanna make it and I want people to love me like people love Dre or Snoop or Pac. Around my town, 914, Westchester, everybody knows me.
GW: Do you administer your own MySpace account?
Bo: My label helped put up my MySpace. I check it all the time. I answer all my fans. They could talk to me, email me, whatever. I don’t wanna be the dude that people are like, “This dude is so hot, I wish I could see him.” I could be touched, you know? If anybody wants to meet me or see me and it’s doable, that’s totally cool. When I rock shows you could get a autograph. Dap me up, I’m a real person. I enjoy the love from my fans and everything. I wanna give the love back, show that I do care. There shouldn’t be a time that someone wants to meet me and I can’t meet ‘em. Let everyone know that I’m real, they could be like, “Oh my God, I partied with Bo Valentine.” That’s awesome. I wanna do things differently.
GW: Who else can we be looking out for with Cogent Records?
Bo: I’m the first on Cogent. I was around when everything was happening [getting started].
GW: Last words?
Bo: I got so much love and so much appreciation. If it wasn’t for my fans, Cogent, my parents, my friends, my family, I would not really have anything. I’d still probably have two boom boxes. I got nothin’ but love for everyone that supports me or has faith in me. They helped me this far.
Peep the pages:
Official Bo Valentine Artist Page