Fan Friday: Exclusive Interview…Kelvin Wooten

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You already know, right??? It’s FRIDAY!!! Lawda Mercy! Not only is it Friday…it’s FAN FRIDAY! Now before we get into this amazing interview, let me introduce the man of the hour.

Kelvin Wooten, who is known to most by his nickname Wu10, is a Grammy nominated producer who has worked with the likes of Raphael Saadiq; Earth, Wind, and Fire; Al Green; Jill Scott; Anthony Hamilton; Mary J. Blige and the list goes on and on. He has written and produced songs for movies such as “Deliver Us From Eva”, “Beauty Shop”, and “Dr. Doolittle”. Most recently, “Freedom”, a song written by Kelvin, Elayna Boynton, and Anthony Hamilton appears in “Django Unchained”. (Preview/purchase song here!)

After sitting down and speaking with Kelvin, you would never know that he has played for everyone from his local church to Michelle Obama. He is also known for his humility and his openness.

Most of the questions below are from family, friends, and fans. I did not include the names of those who asked the questions since I did not request permission to do so. I did, however, indicate when I asked a question. Have fun and enjoy getting to know Kelvin a little better!

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Q: You have worked with a number of great musicians, producers, singers and song writters. Who has left the greatest impression on you and why?
Kelvin: The person that’s had the most impact on my career, that I’ve worked with, I would have to say is Raphael Saadiq. He was the first person that I worked with on a large and a major level. He was the first major artist that I worked with. He was the person that showed me a lot about the production in the music industry, how it is today. Working with him taught me how to be an individual and sticking to my guns when it came to what talent I possess and knowing that it would come around to me when it came to a person wanting what I could offer to the music industry. As opposed to just doing what the trend was.
StayWoo: If you had not met Raphael, do you think you would be in the same place you are now?
Kelvin: I don’t know. I don’t know if I would be. It’s kinda hard to say. I think, you know, I think it was all orchestrated by God and I think where I ultimately needed to wind up, God would’ve gotten me there. No matter what decisions I made. Whatever plan he has for me was going to happen regardless of what decisions I made. As long as I wanted to be a part of God’s plan, it would’ve happened anyway.
Q: What advice would you give aspiring music producers?
Kelvin: The advice I would give aspiring music producers is what I learned best from working with Raphael Saadiq. Whatever talent God has given you, you nurture it. You nurture your passions and don’t try to do what everyone else is doing. You find a lane of music that you like and if it happens to be the lane that a lot of people are in then, that’s ok. But, if it happens to be in its own lane then that’s ok too. So long as you stay in that particular lane.
Q: What is your greatest motivation?
Kelvin: My greatest motivation is the last success that I had…topping the last success that I had.
Q: How do you spell relief? O_o
Kelvin: With an “R”!
Q: What suggestions would you offer in cultivating musicianship in our youth?
Kelvin: I would suggest in cultivating the youth, anyone that wants to do that, I suggest that they be very patient with them. That’s probably my biggest suggestion. Also, steering them to being individuals as well. When you’ve traveled the road of music and you’ve seen a lot of things, sometimes we tend to forget how long it took us to see those things. It took us a while and we know what we’re putting into them but, it’s gotta go at a rate they can digest.
StayWoo: How do you balance your desire to be a successful husband and father with your desire to be a successful music producer?
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Kelvin: There is no balance between. I think someone would fail in trying to balance being successful in your career and trying to balance your family. Your family is way more important than your career. So, you have to put them first. There is no balance. The balance is putting your family first.
Q: If you had not become a musician what career path would you have chosen?
Kelvin: The career path I would’ve chosen if I had not chosen to be a musician probably would have been an architect…building and designing buildings. I admire architecture.
Q: Is your wife domestic or a diva or both?
Kelvin: I think that my wife finds a perfect balance between being domestic and being a diva. (Good answer!)
Q: In the (music) industry that your in, how do you keep God first, family second, and fight the worldly pressure to conform your values to the commercialism we so often see today?
Kelvin: I think that everyone will have their own tests and challenges when it comes to balancing God and the temptations of the world and the industry. I think that as much as we would like to know that whatever someone told us we would just do, most often we don’t do it. We actually learn by experience. Experience is not the best teacher but it is a very potent teacher. I think that our experiences, sometimes how we handle our experiences, will determine how we handle the success. Some of us just don’t win. We lose the battle and some of us do (win). I think it’s however much you digest of what it is that you really want. If you digest more of what the world gives you and you take in more of what the world gives and fall more to the temptations then, the temptations are going to win. If you focus more on God and you feed yourself more on what God is saying then more often than not when you come to a point of making a decision, you’re going to choose the one that you have fed the most. The part of you that you fed the most will always be the strongest.
StayWoo: What would you say the biggest regret in your career has been?
Kelvin: The biggest that I’ve had in my career as a producer musician is that I did not practice as much as I should have as a musician. I regret not practicing lots of things that I hear in my head, lots of things that I want to do and create. When I hear them, I want to hear it executed but I can’t, a lot of times, because I haven’t practiced. I spend a lot of time learning a skill that I should have acquired when I was younger.
StayWoo: Have you ever had an opportunity that you didn’t take but, in hindsight you wish you had taken?
Kelvin: No. I believe I made the best decision with what I had and looking back at it, I don’t ever feel I made the wrong decision.
StayWoo: What is the one thing that you want to do before you retire from this?
Kelvin: I won’t retire from this.
StayWoo: Ok…so what’s the one thing you want to do before you leave the face of the Earth?
Kelvin: Whatever it is that God wants me to do. I feel like I’ve done everything…I think everything I’ve ever had on my bucket list in life, I’ve done. I know that as I live, God is going to show me more things that I know I’m going to want to attain (after I’ve seen it) but, I’m in a season where I’m looking to see some new things. When I was younger, I had a lot more things on my bucket list. The older I get, I’ve either checked some things off the list or some thing fell of because I realized I didn’t really want it in the first place.
Q: What is the greateat sacrifice that you have ever made in the course of your musical/ professional career?
Kelvin: One of the greatest sacrifices that I’ve had to make was an opportunity to work with Dr. Dre exclusively. I turned it down because I felt like it violated time from my family. And it was hard to walk away from it because I knew how much money it offered but, I had to decline on it.
That’s it guys! I want to thank Kelvin for agreeing to allow me to interview him. He’s such a doll! (wink, wink) Be on the lookout for some new things to come from Kelvin. (Check him out on Facebook too!)
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