Page 127 - Cityview Magazine - July/August 2017
P. 127

some notoriety or recognition, and none of the above happened. None of the above happened.
H: Why didn’t it happen?
B: Honestly, I don’t know because I feel like we worked hard and were good enough. We were young, we could sing, we attract- ed some girls (that always sells records), but it still wasn’t enough.
H: Were you angry?
B: I became extremely angry. I became angry at God. I became extremely angry at myself because I thought we had all the qualities we needed to be known as a professional group.
H: So, did you find yourself getting close to the dream?
B: Yeah, we had several moments where record labels and execs would shoot us
the dream and give us empty promises and dangle the carrot. And we’d be right there like, “Yes, our time has come; we’re here.” Promoters, friends of friends, they would all come to us and say, “Hey, man, we have this opportunity, or we know John-John up the road who is connected to such and such, and we’re going to link you guys together, and we believe in you.” But no one ever did anything. No one ever did anything, except talk.
H: So, you sing all these years—close but no cigar. At some point, you have to make a decision: Is this just a pipe dream? Are we just going to sing on Sunday afternoons on somebody’s program, and do we need to be satisfied with that? Maybe that is what God has called us to do? Is it time for us
to settle?
B: Never. There is never a time when it’s time to settle.
H: But did you ever feel like it was the time to settle?
B: I never felt like it was a time to settle because I always believed in plan A. There was never a plan B; there was only a plan A.
H: Plan A is?
B: Work hard, be successful, work hard,
get the recognition you need, get paid—get ready, get noticed, get paid. That was always it; that was always it. A wise man told me that.
H: You end up in Knoxville, Tennessee. How did you end up here?
B: My parents’ relationship became a bit rocky and they decided to kind of part ways. We were in Florida, and my mom and dad kept us in church. They were really faith-driven on a lot of things, so when it came down to our moving to Knoxville, my mom simply said a prayer: “God, I know we need to move; something needs to change.” I really credit my mom because she was al- ways hungry and passionate for something new. We grew up in a really small town; everyone knew everyone. A couple of red lights, a couple of gas stations.
H: What time was that?
B: This was Winter Haven, Florida.
We grew up in this really small town, in this really small house. It was a poor neigh- borhood, and a lot of my friends and my mom’s friends and relatives would all get stuck in this area, but my mom always had this dream, this desire, this thing in
her that said, “We have to get out of these parameters, get out of this box because there has to be more out there and I’m just crazy enough to believe it, so I’m going
to go see it.”
H: How many siblings do you have?
B: I have six siblings. It’s seven of us in total, and I’m the youngest of all seven. We all come from the same mom and the same dad.
H: Call them by name, in order.
B: My oldest brother is PJ (his name’s Earnest but we call him PJ), then there’s Julius, then Tashika (but we call her Strawberry), then there’s Michael, Ashley, Jonathan, then myself, Chris.
H: You all moved to Knoxville?
B: We all moved to Knoxville with mom. We gave everything away we had in our home. We packed up the bare essentials in a U-Haul truck, and literally moved every-
thing to Knoxville, Tennessee. At the time I was ten, so my brother was eighteen, and he drove all the way from Florida to Knoxville, trailing the U-Haul truck.
H: And you moved in where?
B: We moved in with my cousin, who had a home in a neighborhood called Bexhill. It was all seven of us, plus mom, and my cousin and her two kids, and her hus- band—twelve of us were living in a four- bedroom house, two bathrooms.
H: How did your parents’ split affect you? B: I would say it had more of a long-term effect on me than anything. Because ev- eryone around these homes was breaking up; my friends’ parents were divorcing. Everybody around me was going through different relationship issues, and everyone had their own struggles. So when you see divorce after divorce after divorce, that becomes a part of your way of thinking.
H: Here it comes.
B: Here it comes; it’s just a matter of time. I’m going to get married, have children, and then I’m going to divorce, and that’s just life because everybody goes through that.
H: Did that stoke your determination? B: To be successful in life?
B: I don’t know. I always saw it as this separate entity; I always saw it as this separate thing. Music was one lane, and then relationship stuff is just something completely different. I always learned, even at a young age, to keep them separate.
H: So you compartmentalize.
B: I very much compartmentalize.
H: Do you compartmentalize because that’s the way you handle it, or do you compartmentalize because you never wanted anything including relationships togetinthewayofplanA?
B: I would say both, absolutely. Especially the latter. I would never want anything to get in the way of my career, my dream, my life, my purpose.

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