Why this hit producer, songwriter and recording artist is comfortable letting his work speak for itself

Rico Love is not even close to where he wants to be.

He says this despite the fact that as a songwriter and producer he has worked on Grammy award winning projects like Usher’s 2010 Raymond v. Raymond and Beyoncé’s 2009 I Am… Sasha Fierce, and as a recording artist he has been featured on songs with the likes of Usher, T.I., Jamie Foxx and Jermaine Dupri and toured with Future.

Not to mention, this year marked the release of his debut album Turn the Lights On, which featured the hit single “Somebody Else” and was released on his own Division 1 record label.

“I know people who don’t have a quarter or a fraction of the success I have and they are so content, and I could never be that, I want to be great.”

Still, the musical mastermind, who will be imparting his wisdom to music fans and aspiring artists alike at this year’s A3C music festival in Atlanta during a segment entitled “The Art of Sound with Rico Love”, says he has a long way to go.

“I’m not even an arm’s reach, a building’s reach, a block’s reach [of where I want to be], so that’s what pushes me so much,” he told Urbanology Magazine, when he stopped in to speak at Toronto’s Remix Project last summer.

“I know people who don’t have a quarter or a fraction of the success I have and they are so content, and I could never be that, I want to be great.”

OPPORTUNITIES TO SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM TO A NEW GENERATION OF ARTISTS – WHY ARE THOSE IMPORTANT TO YOU? I get so much thrill out of helping people and giving people the game because nobody ever gave that to me on a large scale. I had to get personal information from the guys after I was already in the game, but before that I had to learn it myself. All of the ups and downs and trials and tribulations, imagine if somebody told me it was going to happen like that? I wouldn’t have been as shocked and frustrated with the results. I enjoy it. I think maybe it’s a part of who I am. I think maybe later in life I’ll be teaching something.

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Rico Love being interviewed by The Remix Project’s Gavin Sheppard. Photo By. Iris Gill © Urbanology Magazine

IF YOU HAD TO PUT TOGETHER SOME KEY PIECES OF ADVICE FOR ANYONE COMING UP, WHAT WOULD THEY BE? Always hustle, always work, don’t blame anybody even when it’s their fault and separate yourself from anybody who doesn’t believe in and isn’t on the same mission as you. It doesn’t mean that they have to be in the same business as you, but at the end of the day we all want to be great and if you are around people who don’t mind being mediocre, if you’re around people who don’t mind being normal and regular then most likely they’ll rub off more on you than you would on them.

YOU SAY MASE IS LIKE A BIG BROTHER TO YOU. WHAT WAS SOMETHING HE TOLD YOU THAT STUCK WITH YOU? The main thing he told me was to understand it’s not family – they not your family, they’re not your people; they’re not your friends. It’s the game, no matter how much you hear people say, ‘that’s my brother,’ you know, ‘that’s my sister,’ it’s not real. As soon as you understand that the further off you’ll be, the better off you’ll be, because you won’t get caught up in the lies that people will tell you or the promises that people will break. People are fake in this game – in any game … so understand that your family is your family. Everybody else – if they can get something from you, they’ll get it. If they can’t, you watch how gradually they’ll separate themselves from you.

Rico Love with participants from Toronto's Remix Project. Photo By. Iris Gill © Urbanology Magazine

Rico Love with participants from Toronto’s Remix Project. Photo By. Iris Gill © Urbanology Magazine

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ASPECTS THAT YOU LIKE ABOUT PERFORMING YOUR OWN MUSIC VERSUS PRODUCING FOR OTHERS? I love the energy that [I] get from a crowd. I love converting a crowd. Even if I’m in a packed house of people who really ain’t familiar with me, or of the fact that I can really put on a show that’s strong enough to convince them that they should f*ck with my music. I think that’s the thrill I get from all of this.

ON THE PRODUCER SIDE OF THINGS WHAT HAS BEEN ONE OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE TIMES WORKING WITH SOMEONE AND WHY? Always working with Usher because he gave me my start in the game. So whenever I can write a hit for him and we can have success together it’s almost like it came back around full circle. He’s my favourite singer and one of my favourite artists anyway. A lot of what he does you can hear in my music, a lot of what I do you can hear in his music. He’s one of my best friends, so whenever we work, it’s always my favourite.

“I’m comfortable being quiet and not even telling you what I do, because at the end of the day you’ll find out.”

FROM THE CEO SIDE OF THINGS, WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT RUNNING YOUR OWN LABEL? Control. Nobody can tell me no. I do what I want to do and I know what I’m doing and I do it the same way that everybody else does it, but I’ve been studying the game. I always said when I get in the position I’m going to do it this way. And I been doing it that way and I’m seeing some results and I’m happy about that, so just the fact that I can do what I want to do. If my partners don’t agree with it, I’m in a position financially to say, ‘okay cool, I’ll just fund it myself,’ and make them believe it later.

THE MOTIVATION THAT YOU HAVE, THE HARD WORKING NATURE AND THE HUMBLENESS – WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? I was always secure in who I am as a person so I never had to be an asshole. I never had to be arrogant … I never had to do that because I was always liked. I was always one of the cool kids growing up so when I got success I didn’t have to be mean to people … I’m comfortable being quiet and not even telling you what I do, because at the end of the day you’ll find out.

Photos By. Iris Gill © Urbanology Magazine