Chris Brown is one of those artists that seems to be made of teflon. No matter how many transgressions he commits, his largely female fan base not only continues to support him, but vigorously defends his tarnished honor, radio stations continue to play his music, he continues to get nominated for awards (including Grammys), and sell concert tickets.
After reading his cover story in Billboard, out today, I think I know why. Part of it is his ability to put himself forth— if not as the victim— as someone who these bad things just seem to happen to. He keeps saying he wants to be a better man, but his words don’t seem to lead to better actions for long periods of time. Nor do his words seem to indicate that he fully grasps the depth of some of his misdeeds. Maybe that’s because other than going to jail (not to make that sound like a picnic), there’s not a lot of fall out for his bad behavior. He seems to pick up right where he left off career-wise every time. He comes out with his new album, “X,” on Sept. 16. “Loyal,” the latest single from that effort, peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Here are five things we learned about Brown from Billboard’s cover story:
1. He’s only human. He likes to say that a lot. Three times in the interview, he brings it up. In a Sept. 4 statement to Billboard (as a response to the shootings at the pre-VMA party he hosted and other events since the interview was conducted in mid-August), he didn’t answer the question, he simply said “I can only say that I am only human and I have made mistakes.” When asked what lesson he learned from being in jail (he served 108 days earlier this year for violating his parole), he replied, “Realizing I’m human like everyone else.” Asked to define redemption, he answered, in part, “Know that you’re human.”….
2. If he couldn’t make music or dance, he’d stay in the arts. “I would be somewhere in the industry, but not necessarily around music,” he says. “It would be more like fashion design, or I’d probably be a painter or street artist. I’m eclectic, with different styles of creativity. But painting is one of my biggest passions.”
3. He knows people will never let him forget about beating Rihanna and he’s okay with haters hating because that’s, uh, their problem: “As long as you’re doing something good, people will always bring up old stuff or negative stuff because they don’t want you to surpass a certain level or elevate,” he says. “But as long as you have your head on straight, it shouldn’t matter what people want to say.”
4. Jail was not fun. This was his daily routine: “A guard wakes you up; you eat. You stay in your cell most of the time, basically 24 hours a day,” he says. “Maybe on Mondays you go to the roof inside of a cage and have a phone call. It’s isolation. You have time to focus on what matters, on what to do and what not to do.”
5. And in response to that question we all want to know— how the hell has he kept such a loyal fanbase—he credits God. “My faith in knowing what my purpose is and how I’m trying to find out what my purpose is,” he says. “My fan base speaks volumes [to that]. I never want to say that I know everything or I know what the best song or a hit is. I just put it out there for people to like and love. I make music for myself personally, but I also try to do music that people can relate to, have fun with; evoke as much emotion as possible from my audience and peers. It’s God and just consistency with my talent. Being able to persevere if I get knocked down and always get back up.”
Read more of the interview here.
Will you buy "X" when it comes out?