TTLO with Rico Love
by Bless Montajes
There are many things in life that have been left unsaid where many people would just turn the blind eye but in Rico Love’s newly released album, Turn the Lights On, he speaks up about topics on marriage, children, and even hardships that he’s been through personally. Love goes into depth about his album and how he wants to make a mark in this industry not just as another great artist, but also as an artist who has something more to say.
I was privileged to speak to Rico Love on his current project and passions he has in life. One of the best things about him is meeting someone who is brutally honest and isn’t scared to say the things that others are too afraid to admit to. Turn the Lights On is now available on iTunes.
What was the inspiration behind Turn the lights on?
The lights represent success and attention. I think that when the lights come on in your life, in my particular instance, things change for you. Please understand I grew up poor not even middle class. Middle class is where we learn how to manage money and budget right. Poor is when we try to make sure we make it so when you go from nothing to millions, you’re affected in a different way than most people. I think to tell the story of a young black man who becomes successful within the realms of this particular relationship, is a more intriguing story than saying, “ I’m rich, I got a car, I got a watch, yeah girls like me. Turn it up, swag, swag, swag.” There are so many artists who go through so much but I feel like they cannot identify with these things and then others try to identify what they really go through which gives people an opportunity to know who they are. I think the first step to get to know somebody is to offer them something and what greater thing to offer but a bit of information or a piece of something that’s personal. So this album was a honest perception or translation of how success affected me in this particular relationship and how it caused the demise of the relationship at one point.
Songs like For the Kids had a very deep message and showed how transparent and raw you were lyrically. What are other tracks on your album that have messages similar to this? What is your main goal with these songs?
Songs like the Proposal is a bit similar to For the Kids. I think in today’s culture and today’s world is that people, after the most incredible breakups, go and get married when they get back together. They don’t say, “Let’s fix this and go over why we just broke up…” but they say, “ I miss you so much and I never want to break up again. How can we make this so difficult for us to breakup-well let’s just get married.” I saw the reaction when people listened to the song and it’s priceless because it’s something that no one has ever said before.
“We might as well get married,
Cause you’re so sick of me already,
You want me to leave already,
It’s so hard to believe already,
We’re arguing already,
You hate my guts already…”
Is that what marriage is about because that is all that I see. That’s what they talk about in the tabloids with celebrities. That’s all we see in our neighborhoods. That’s all people talk about…how terrible marriage is. “So let’s get married because we’re already terrible anyway!” I want to say that it’s a brutal truth but the best thing about the truth is that when you lay it out there…it’s so comfortable because you have peace and when others look at this album I want them to feel, “Wow, that is so honest and that’s really the reason why I got married because it’s just what you do.” I also feel like Run From Me would be relatable because it is just so honest. I wrote this song about a situation that I was in where I had just broken up with my girl and met another girl that I was really into but one day I woke up and realized, “Wow, this is getting serious and I need to let her go because if my girl called me up tomorrow and said she wanted me, I would get back together with her. I don’t want this girl to get caught up and so I told her, “Nah, you should run cause this isn’t going to end well for you…” I think these songs are seen but not said and I think that as songwriters, it’s our obligation or duty to say the most common things in a way that has never been said before. I think that when you give the people, “Girl, you’re so fine, you’re so sexy, ugh, ugh, ugh…” and R&B artists are wondering why they aren’t selling albums, it’s because you’re not giving the people any substance. It will take me a lot longer to see mainstream success than others, but when I get there…I’m gonna be tattooed on the charts and in the hearts of people because they can identify with me on another level. I don’t want people to just say, “Hey, nice song and I like that one song…” I want them to come up to me and say, “Man, I need to shake your hand or give you a hug because you spoke about something that I was really dealing with…” That’s what music is suppose to do and I think people forgot about that.
Now you have produced have written songs for many other artists. Is that something you want to continue doing throughout your career?
I do but I would want to do it on my own terms. I want to do projects where I have a say in it and not do a bunch of songs with people where I have no power. I want to be able to be a big enough star or a big enough brand name in this business where I can demand certain things when you work with me. Not because of any ego but because I have so much input. I think that when people recognize that this album is a classic body of work, they’re going to respect my creativity on a larger scale. I want them to feel like, “He’s not only gonna give you an incredible song, but an incredible project that means something.
Is there anything that you learned from working with other artists that contributed to your newest album?
There’s so much and it’s hard to put like one thing or two things. It’s just certain nuances that I’ve picked up from different people and nuances that I’ve given to other people. I want to say that in everything we do, we’re borrowing from the people we’ve been around with and share experiences with them. I mean, I’ve worked with Beyoncé, Brandy, Usher, and Nelly and there’s so much hints and remnants of other artists but it’s always consistent and all me. I don’t think it sounds like anybody but a new refreshing sound.
Speaking about writing and producing music & we have already talked about where your draw your inspiration from, what do you think is an essential part of creating a track?
The incredible melody…I think it starts with the chord progression and you coming up with an intense melody and lyrics to match.
Finally, what’s next for Rico love?
This is it. I think when people focus on what’s next they forget what’s in front of them. For now, it’s just the album and me. When you find out what’s next, you’ll see it and we’ll talk about it. For right now, the only thing I see is Turn the Lights On selling a million plus. I think a lot of people think, “Well, who cares if it goes number one?” but it’s important for me for this album to do well because I believe that great songs should do well. I’m sick of people making music and not caring about what happens or how they affect people but then they get successful. There are underground artists who are okay with just being dope and I think that that’s a waste of a gift. The world should feel the things that we feel everyday…they should feel it and hear it. That’s what I want is for this album to be a success, even if it’s in two months, three months, or maybe a year…it’s something that you got to work on and got to believe in.
Feature: Rico Love
Photographer: Isaac Alvarez
Groomer: Sophia Poch