Cris Cab on "Good Girls", Collaborating with Pharrell Williams, "Black and Yellow" and More
Mon, 09 May 2011 10:01:05
In this digital day and age where social media numbers reign supreme, it's nearly impossible to find true talent on YouTube. Every once in a while, an artist will embrace that platform and ultimately catapult him or herself out of the stream and onto the stage. Cris Cab is about to do just that in a big way.
Cab has gone from vibrant reggae-tinged acoustic covers of Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow" and Kanye West's "All of the Lights" to recording infectious original tunes with hip hop and pop impresario Pharrell Williams [N.E.R.D.]. One track, "Good Girls", hops with spritely, spirited summer bounce. Cab's voice exudes a refinement beyond his 18 years, baring a soulful power. The track shows that Cab's on the road to greatness.
Cris Cab talked to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino in this exclusive interview about "Good Girls", working with Pharrell Williams and so much more…
What's the story behind "Good Girls"?
That song is about a relationship I had a while ago, and it's also about what a lot of guys go through. It really came together when these two producers from Philadelphia vibed with me. We put the puzzle together pretty easily then.
Where were you coming from lyrically?
You have this perfect girl and you basically take her for granted, which a lot of guys do. You've got that girl and you really like her. You're just so great together that it almost seems too easy; you don't appreciate what you've got right there in front of you. Unfortunately, you have to find out the hard way sometimes.
Is storytelling important to songwriting for you?
Yeah, it's a very important part of my songwriting. I like to put the whole situation out there in front of you and give something more. It's definitely what I enjoy doing musically.
How do songs typically begin for you?
It's never the same way, but it usually starts with me messing around on an acoustic guitar, and then I freestyle. That's one of the things I love doing. I just start freestyling and playing with different chord progressions. I put the situation down afterwards, and there you go.
Do the lyrics come after that?
It comes pretty naturally. I like to pay attention to what I'm freestyling about and the emotion that the chord progression brings up. It's pretty simple from there. I'll find a situation with how the chords feel.
How did you go about stripping down "Black and Yellow?"
We wanted to give everybody a song that they know and introduce them to my style at the same time. It's a very cool pop hip hop track and we broke it down. We did the video with a local director here who has great vision.
Can you break down any song with an acoustic guitar?
I think so. When I start playing my acoustic guitar, that's the time I feel most comfortable. Also, it takes the song down and makes it real simple and you build around it.
How was your recent showcase in New York?
It was amazing. I played at a place called The Box, and it was humbling to see 100 fans come out really quickly on such short notice. In total, there were almost 300 people there. It was great! A lot of the kids knew the words, and it was awesome.
Which artists shaped you?
I love listening to older music like Barry White, Bob Marley, and Marvin Gaye. I love Dave Matthews Band all the way up to Kanye West, Drake, and Jay-Z. I listen to it all. I also listen to Wiz Khalifa of course and Kid Cudi. Wale's new stuff is pretty cool. I like listening to older rap like Common and Talib Kweli.
Did you and Pharrell Williams click instantly?
Oh yeah! He's a really cool guy. He's very down-to-earth and humble so he's very easy to connect with.
Have you heard Cris Cab?