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Not many artists can say that they were signed after a single session. Much less have the opportunity to say that said management company was founded by the anomaly that is Jay-Z. And even after confessing that feat, it isnâ€™t likely that that same artist wouldâ€™ve spent his pre-teen years learning the alto-sax at the Hartford Conservatory and years later be accepting an ASCAP award for writing one of the top-played songs of 2009. But RocNationâ€™s newest signee RANGE is just that, and has done all that.
Of his immediate signing, the Philadelphia-born 24-year-old singer/songwriter/producer says, â€œThere was a bit of shock to it, but itâ€™s what Iâ€™d been working for.â€
The diligence did not go unnoticed. Coming out from behind the shadows of Jamie Foxx, T-Pain, and Ludacris (who he penned the winning â€œOne More Drinkâ€ tune with), Range is working on his debut album, No Strings. And you can expect just that: no extra noise, no bells and whistles. While his first song â€œGhetto Danceâ€ may feature a collabo with Rick Ross, Range says that, for now, the album will be â€œjust me, so I can let the fans get to know me, and appreciate me.â€ Weâ€™re ready.
The word â€œghettoâ€ has a certain stigma attached to it. Were you nervous about naming your very first single that and, ultimately, being introduced to the public that way?
No. It doesnâ€™t mean anything negative to me. It was just about all the different places in the world and the creative energy that comes from these places and the type of dances that they make up ï¿½" the ones you see from New Orleans and Florida to New York and Connecticut. Iâ€™m just talking about that. Itâ€™s a fun song. We shot it in Miami. [SEE THE VIDEO BELOW!]
Itâ€™s been said that your mother played the cello and at the age of 12, you enrolled in the Hartford Conservatory.
I listened to everything because of that reason. I remember my mother had me watching classical things ï¿½" Amadeus Wolfgang, that movie on him. I liked pop music; that was the only thing that was really allowed in my house anyway, the Mariahs and Whitneys. [My house] wasnâ€™t strict, but my mother watched the content of things. But then I had my own personal music and thatâ€™s where I had all my Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.
Can we expect any live music on the album?
I mean, you can hear my tracking, my programming! I co-produced â€œGhetto Danceâ€ with Stargate, but as far as live piano playing and guitar, no. Not yet.
Why did you choose to major in business instead of music in college?
Because I know it should be called â€œbusiness musicâ€ instead of â€œmusic business.â€ I know how much the business runs it, so I kinda wanted to be aware of things I should look out for and just pay attention. It helped to teach me what to pay attention to because I went there for business administration, but my entrepreneurship classes, I took a lot from those to create my own businesses as well.
On the mixtape with DJ Drama, you have song called â€œBaby,â€ in which you make a pretty bold request. Is it safe to say you donâ€™t mind being a sex symbol?
Nah, Iâ€™ll be a sex symbol! Iâ€™m cool with that.
What do you want to achieve within the next five years, as well as with this album?
Five years? I wanna have successful albums by that point, meaning units sold and the fans that Iâ€™m reaching, to the point that Iâ€™m considered a top entertainer and respected by my peers and my fans. But with this album, I want to show that Iâ€™m talented, that Iâ€™m passionate, andâ€¦Iâ€™m a ladies man! [Laughs] Right now, itâ€™s just me. We can have fun. Iâ€™m not gonna hurt you. I love, Iâ€™ve got my heart broken, Iâ€™ve gone through those things.
Three tangible things you canâ€™t live without?
Hmm. Iâ€™ma keep away from family. Iâ€™ma say sneakers, iPod, video games.
What secret urge do you get often, but never act on?
Calling up a girl that I was with in the past thatâ€™s no good for me. I stop myself. Itâ€™s definitely a drunk-dial feeling, but Iâ€™m not drunk.
If you had to do karaoke, what one song would you sing?
â€œI Canâ€™t Sleep,â€ R. Kelly. Thatâ€™s my joint.
If you were forced to get a tattoo at gunpoint, what would you get?
Iâ€™d probably get words that say â€œI was forced to get this at gunpoint.â€ [Laughs]
Whatâ€™s your vice and where do you get it?
Oh, man. I like good food. I like hood spots. Iâ€™m a sucker for hood Chinese, Wendyâ€™sâ€¦ New York City is my favorite city. I just like the type of grind out here. I live in Queens now, but Iâ€™m gonna come to the heart of it next year, right in Manhattan.
What do you look for in a woman?
Aside from a pretty face? The ability to listen! [Laughs] To when I need consoling and when a point needs to be proven. We both need to listen. And a sense of humor because I like to laugh and she needs to laugh at my jokes. All of them.
When was the last time you cried?
Full-out cry? Probably â€œThe Lion King,â€ the movie. I was a kid. Actually, I lied, I cried at â€œPrince Of Egypt,â€ too. I didnâ€™t want to. â€œThe Karate Kidâ€ had me almost wanting to cry, the end of it. The pictures they had of Jada and Will and their son, it was just touching. Reminded me of my life ï¿½" my great home life, and what I want to provide for my kid. [Pause] When I have them. None yet, but Iâ€™ma get it poppinâ€™ one day.