Singer-songwriter Vedo asserts R&B is not dead in new album

Through new album, singer-songwriter Vedo asserts: R&B is not dead

By: - Reporter
/ 12:20 AM June 13, 2024

“Next Chapter” cover art

Vedo’s “Next Chapter” cover art —PHOTOS COURTESY OF EMPIRE

Vedo isn’t one to hop on trends and resort to gimmicks for the sake of internet clout.

Yes, he has had his fair share of viral moments, like when he sang backup for Usher in that unforgettable Tiny Desk Concert last year but it’s not the driving force of what he does. For better or worse, the R&B artist has always been true to his music.


“I’m not one of those guys who will do anything to go viral. I’m not into the gimmicky aspect of things. That has been one of my biggest obstacles. I always stay true to the music I love. Sometimes they break through, sometimes they don’t. I’m cool with that,” he told the Inquirer in a one-on-one virtual interview.


But if there’s one thing he has learned after nine albums and more than 10 years in the business, it’s that it pays off to stick to your guns. “If you do something diligently…if you keep going at it, you will break through, eventually,” he said.

READ: As they enter 3rd year, BINI feels ‘empowered’ to keep going

True enough, after a Top 12 finish with Team Usher in the fourth season of the talent search “The Voice” in 2013, Vedo went on to become a multiplatinum-selling R&B singer with such hits as “You Got It,” “4 Walls,” “Do You Mind” and “Let’s Get Married.” He also made a name for himself as a prolific songwriter, not only for fellow American R&B stars, but also for K-pop acts.

Some of the notable artists Vedo has collaborated with and written songs for include Usher, Chris Brown, Ella Mai, August Alsina, NCT 127, EXO and two of its members Baekhyun and Lay Zhang, SHINee and Super M.

“I’m not succumbing to something I’m not…The songs I love reach the people they need to reach,” he said. “If it reaches you, then it’s meant to reach you.”

Just seven months after the release of his last album, “7,” Vedo is back with a new one, titled “Next Chapter” (Empire). The 14-track project is yet another honest-to-goodness R&B offering that highlights his smooth vocals and relatable lyrics. It features the singles “No Worries,” “Spinn on You” and “Your Love is All I Need.”


“The album symbolizes victory, prosperity and overcoming obstacles in my life and career. I had to work hard to get to where I am today,” he said.



Three albums (“Mood Swings,” “7,” “Next Chapter”) in one and a half years. Where do you get the inspiration?

I just got a lot on my mind. After this, I will give you all some time to breathe! But no, I just want to be creative and do music. Not to mention, I recently got married. My wife and our daughter, they’re both inspirations. I feel like I’m in a good space and place in my life.

How much of it is inspiration and how much of it is discipline?

I would say 50-50…I have to be disciplined writing songs because I know I have to sharpen my tools. I have to keep my pen sharp.

Tell me about your new album, “Next Chapter.”

It’s the next chapter, man! I see the first eight albums I put out as one chapter, which embodied so much of my life. But when you flip the page, you see the growth—you see the Vedo who has been through something, lost something, gained something. It’s a next step into becoming who I want to be.

How does this one differ from your previous albums?

I don’t think there’s a big difference. It’s me explaining more of who I am at this point in my life and who I’m going to be in the future. I preach the same gospel every single time: R&B is not dead. I’m R&B. I write R&B. I write records that have substance.

What were the events that made you go, “OK, I’m ready for the next chapter?”

First was losing my mother in 2013. Second is having my daughter—now you got something real. The third is being married. And these are all pivotal points in my life that encourage and tell me that “You’re getting older now and you have to make better decisions.”

The album is described as being a symbol of your victories. What would you say are your biggest triumphs so far? I would have to say my song “You Got It,” joining “The Voice” and more recently, doing the Tiny Desk concert with Usher. Those were some really great moments in my career. Those are moments you have to capitalize on.

Another triumph, I would say, was bouncing back after that dark moment of losing my mom. The fact that I’m still doing what I love to do is dope. It made me strong and helped me understand that you will be hurt, but life will go on.

How did music help you during those times?

It was an escape for me. Music was what I used to get away from it all. I can be in a room full of chaos, fighting and yelling. But when I put on my headphones, I can feel like I’m just by myself.

You mentioned your time in “The Voice.” How did that experience prepare you for the music industry?

It has its pros and cons. Personally, I never liked being competitive. But competition, I found out, builds you a tough skin. And it makes you realize that no matter what field you’re in, there’s always competition if you want to upgrade, seeking a job or trying to get that next big thing. What I learned is that we’re all working hard toward one goal. Be competitive. But also, be nice and cool. I promise you: That will take you a long way.

You said you don’t really hop on trends. But how are you with TikTok?

I do it because I’m also part of the business…but I’m not trying to go viral on TikTok every other day.

The goal is to make music that I can listen to and make me say this is a great record. I use TikTok as part of the business. If the record goes crazy and does well on TikTok, I get on there and show some love. But I just want to create music and let it speak for itself.

You have worked with and written music for Usher, Chris Brown and other great artists. How did you make it happen?

It wasn’t something that just fell on my lap. I had to really work to get those connections. If I recall, I had sent over a hundred songs to Chris before I got my first placement with him. You have to write all these songs and send them to people who say they know him. But you just never know.

It was the case even with Usher. Though we met on “The Voice” and stayed in contact, it wasn’t easy to get a placement with him. He knows that I write songs, but many people are also sending him songs. I had to up my craft, my skill.

I was like, “I write great songs. Listen to this!” Finally, Usher said that he loved it. It was the same with Chris. That’s how it all started.

You said that music should be fun. But was there a point when you felt that it had become a chore?

There was a time when I was like, “Man, this isn’t working.” But that was the point when I was about to break and blow up. But guess what? I didn’t stop.

What kept you going when you felt like things weren’t working?

I have to be honest. What else can I do? I have to do this to support my family. It’s not like I can just say, “Hey, I will forget about music and become a doctor.” That’s not possible at this point. I don’t have a plan B…my plan A has to work. You have to take what you got, make the best out of it and be thankful.

When did you feel like you have already made it?

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Honestly, I still don’t think I have made it. My family is good, the bills are paid. But my father said if you feel like you have everything and you can’t learn anymore, then you might as well be dead. And in my opinion, I still have room to grow.


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