"THE PRINCE OF THE PARTY"--MUSIC STAR YOUNG SOULJA ON THE MOVE.
Lana K. Wilson-Combs
While some people may consider today's hip/hop and R&B music to be a bit stagnant, 23-year-old singer/songwriter/producer Brandon Leon, aka "Young Soulja" believes his musical sound and style is exactly what's needed to shake things up on the music front.
In fact, Young Soulja—who hails from San Jose California--has quickly made a name for himself, notably in Northern and Southern California with his new, smash single "Shake It" from his upcoming CD, "For All It's Worth."
Young Soulja's music has also caught the ears of several hip-hop/R&B artists and consequently he's opened shows for Big Sean, Ray j, Soulja Boy, Tyga of Young Money, Shorty Mack, Andre Nickatina, Tha Jacka, Big Rich, Clyde Carson, Bobby Brackins, Dem HoodStarz, and Kafani.
N2Entertainment.net recently caught up with "Young Soulja" to talk about his red-hot career and what sets him apart from all the rest of the new kids on the block.
Read what else Young Soulja had to tell us.
Q. There's so much talent out there, how did you get noticed?
A. I started back in 2001 at the age of 12 years with (DJ A.O.N) (Art of noise) who formerly used to DJ the group Tony Toni Tone. DJ A.O.N saw the devotion, passion, and skill I had for music and wanted to help me get some more exposure in the music industry. DJ A.O.N featured me on a series of his mix tapes to start building my first buzz as a rapper. However it wasn't until working with DJ Ill Will--Which is one of the biggest DJ's in Los Angeles right now, who works with Chris Brown, Bow Wow, Lil Wayne, Drake, and Ect--till I was recognized as a major recording artist, releasing my mix tape titled "Well Connected" back in 2009. With him vouching for me I was recognized by a lot of other big name artists in the industry. Then came my exclusive hit song "2 The Hotel" Featuring R.Kelly. Other artists noticed my talents and came in contact with me as well. Since then, I have been doing a lot of big concerts, festivals and tours. I recently opened up for Big Sean (Kanye West new artist on G.O.O.D music.) at a concert in San Jose and in Bakersfield with recording artist Big Rich to perform at Club Nile. My songs have also been played on the hip hop radio station Hot 94.1 FM.
Q. How did you come up with the name Young Soulja?
A. The origin behind the name "Young Soulja" is due to the on-going battle that I fight every day in life against poverty. I'm on the frontline fighting against poverty. I'm Young and I'm a Soulja in this war. It absolutely has nothing to do with the artist Soulja Boy. I had the name way before he was even relevant. The Realest part I added to the end of my name because I spit the truth and what comes out my mouth is all nonfiction.
Q. How would you describe your sound?
A. Mainstream Club/R&B/Pop.
Q. Can you talk about your single that's out right now?
A. The single that I am pushing right now is my smash "Shake It." The music video is moving up the charts and airing on television on California Music Channel with 106.1 Kmel's Chewy Gomez. The song was also featured on radio on Movin 99.7. The remix features Royalty. The album coming out is called "For All It's Worth" and it's a double disc which features Plies, Ja Rule, Audio Push, Bobby Brackins, San Quinn and more. I have a lot in store on this one. Be on the look for this project.
Q. Why did you choose to call your album "For All It's Worth." Is there a meaning behind it?
A.The reason I decided to call the Album "For All It's Worth" is because this is me giving all I got to offer to the music industry on this album. It means this is the best of the best stuff that I have ever created in my whole career as an artist.
Q. Are you doing all this independently or are you signed to a major label?
A. I am currently doing this all independently, a lot of artists are. Ray J went independent with Knockout Entertainment and a lot of artists which are signed to E1 Entertainment (Jim Jones, Slim Thug, Cassidy) are as well. I founded my own label Young World Entertainment and am currently in the process of choosing a label.
Q. What happened with your record deal with Universal Republic?
A. I was contacted by A&R Vince Palaowski, who was interested in signing me and noticed that I was the full package. He was actually on his vacation when he discovered me. We went back and forth with calls and emails. Planned a day for a meeting and it was going to be the big day. When I called the number to speak with him and the company announced he was no longer with the company for an undisclosed reason. It was such heartbreak to be that close and have the opportunity snatched from my sight. Now I just look back on it as motivation to try harder and I believe all things happen for a reason, so I must have something bigger in store.
Q. What are some of the strategies you're using to stand out from the musical pack?
A. It's not really hard; all I do is just be myself. I'm so different already from the rest of these artists. The thing is I don't try to fit in their circle. I follow my own path.
Q. Is it true you're forming a new group?
A. Yea. The main singer I'm working with is Cherry. We started our own group called The Alliance. Basically it's the best of both worlds. She been hustling her music career for a while with my crew and I have been doing the same. A lot of big moves coming up in the future for this music group. Remember the name. "The Alliance."
Q. What other artists/groups have influenced you?
A. Flo-rida. I love how he makes straight club hits and you can dance to all his music. I admire his work. Plies, for just being one of the realest recording artists from the streets, with his gangsta style even though his style is different than mine. I still like his style and swag. I listen to his songs on a daily basis. Michael Jackson was such a great performer and I admire the way he performed and gave his all at every show. 50 Cent. I admire his business mind set. He is such an intelligent guy. I admire how he has such an entrepreneurial business mindset, having his own video games, doing movies, books, clothing line, a deal with a water company and more than 11 million records sold. I really like how P. Diddy puts on performances too. You know how he always has some fireworks blowing up and he has a routine with his performances. I would watch and study all the veterans perform on YouTube and add my own flavor to my shows.
Q. You opened live with Ray J, what was that like?
A. It was great, there were so many females at that show and they were wild! No panties on, climbing up the stage trying to get in the V.I.P with us. It was crazy fun! Ray J did his thing. I did my thing. I had a chance to network with the Knockout Entertainment camp ( Ray J's Label).
Q. What was it like working with Ja Rule?
A. Ja is a cool guy. He is the lead actor in an upcoming movie called "I'm In Love With a Church Girl" I had a great time on the set. I got a chance to finally meet Ja Rule after all these years of listening to his music. He joked around and had a good time on the set. I got to network with him and I keep messing with him saying "itssss muurrrrrrdaaaa" and I would throw it up. That's the dude right there. I was just an extra in the movie, Make Sure to go see "I'm In Love With a Church Girl" coming to theaters soon! (November 2012).
Q. Where can people learn more about you?
A. I keep these sites up to date and write back to all my fans on them. They can follow or subscribe to the following: (TWITTER) http://twitter.com/YounG_SouljA323. (Official Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/youngsouljatherealest. Reverb Nation Link: http://www.reverbnation.com/youngsoulja323. Official YouTube: www.youtube.com/youngsoulja323 and MYSPACE, http://www.myspace.com/youngworldent.