B. Smyth Talks Big Collaborations, His Influences and Visual EP
B. Smyth wears his influences on his sleeve. The Floridian lists the feel good vibes of R&B's New Jack Swing era of the early-90s and Chris Brown as two of his influences. The singer even interpolates R. Kelly's 'She's Got That Vibe' into his own 'Vibe' -- a single off 'The Florida Files' EP.
B. Smyth doesn't seek to simply replicate the the sounds of his influences though. He's attempting to extract the "good times, all the time" feeling of them, as evidence in songs like the intimacy of 'Gettin' That' and the call to the dance floor that's the 2 Chainz-featuring 'Leggo.'
You'll not only be hearing these sounds; you'll be seeing them. B. Smyth decided to release music videos to accompany to each of the EP's six songs because he believes it would serve as a better introduction. As if having collaborative efforts with the likes of Future and Mike WiLL Made It wasn't enough.
B. Smyth spoke with TheBoombox to elaborate on some of the key aspects of his comeup. Ready our conversation below.
TheBoombox: ‘The Florida Files’ is a visual mixtape. How did you come up with the idea of doing so? I hear it’s supposed to form a mini movie.
B. Smyth: I got my start on YouTube and when I got signed [to Motown Records], I fell back from posting so many things. I wanted to show my fans and show them what I’ve been working on and bring them into my world. Rather than just the song you can have something to watch. I don’t think people are that familiar with the real me. This is how to show people what’s really good and the real me.
So this video works as a better introduction rather than putting out songs right?
For this mixtape you have all these big collaborators like Mike WiLL Made it and hitmaker Sean Garrett. How did you get connected with these guys?
It was through the label. [Motown Records is operated under Island Def Jam]. We connected really well. He’s the big bro. He always give me advice. He just drop jewels on me and from there we just build a rapport. That’s like my big bro.
This was Mike WiLL or Sean Garrett?
Sean Garrett. Me and Mike met each other a couple of times. I actually met Mike WiLL through Sean Garrett. We was actually in the studio one day and going back and forth about who was better: Michael Jordan or LeBron [James]. That was like my first time meeting Mike. So ever since then we’ve been real cool.
Working with Sean Garrett, where you excited that he had the potential to get you a big hit or is it about learning a couple of knew things from the guy?
Both. I mean every song you want to do it as possible, but at the same time he’s not one of those guys who’s just going to come into the studio, do a song with you and leave, you know? Sean has been doing it for a while and he has a lot of knowledge. So I feel like he’s one of those genuine persons who really care.
‘Vibe’ was, of course, based off that R. Kelly song [‘She’s Got That Vibe’ with Public Announcement]. Is he one of your inspirations?
He’s definitely. I feel like if you’re going to be an R&B singer there’s no way you don’t know who R. Kelly is. I’m a ‘90s baby so I really love the whole New Jack Swing era. I feel like I had to do a song like that for this EP.
So are a lot of your songs based off that era or do they also try to encompass recent work?
I feel like that point of time, music was all about making people feel good. I don’t think that’s missing in the game right now, but it’s not where it should be. I want to do that for my generation and get people feeling good.
Who are some of the other the other influences from the era?
Definitely New Edition. Definitely Bobby Brown. Even MC Hammer. That whole era of music. Boyz II Men…the list goes on.
And you’ve also been compared to Chris Brown. How do you feel about the comparison?
I don’t really mind it. I feel like Chris Brown is definitely somebody who influenced me to be doing this today. Chris Brown is definitely a dope artist. I definitely take it as a compliment but at the same time I’m working to get my own weight up too. So the next new artist you interview, you can say, “He reminds me of B. Smyth.”
How do you plan on doing that? What’s new that you’re bringing to the game right now?
I feel like I can bring you real music…for real situations. You can turn up, turn down, you can go out with your girl, take her out on the beach or whatever…That’s really going to set me apart.
What else are your working on for ‘The Florida Files?’
We’re actually shooting the dialogue to Segway into each video. We’re finishing that up right now; it’ll be finished by the 15th. We’re looking forward to it coming out since this is my first project as a signed artist.
Are there any other huge collaborations coming up on this EP?
Not right now. We just have Future and 2 Chainz. It made sense since we could make it happen, but those are the only two right now.
For the other songs we didn’t hear, are they the similar sound we heard from ‘Vibe’ and ‘Win Win?’
‘Win Win’ is the only real, southern trap [sound]. Mike WiLL made the beat. It’s a variety. I got a ballad on there called ‘Letter.’ The Sean Garrett record: ‘Gettin’ That.’ It’s a nice variety, but it’s real R&B music though.
What was your favorite song that you did for the EP?
It would have to be ‘Letter’ or ‘Vibe.’
It’s because I had a lot of input. ‘Letter’ was something I wanted to do for women in my generation because nowadays none of them really get the same treatment as back in the day, so I just figured it’d be just cool for a young dude like me to be trying to bring that back.
What is a dream collaboration you have that you would like to record in the future?
I’d like to record with maybe Jay Z. Drake is dope. Maybe in the future. Or Beyonce. That’d be cool.
Some of the more popular R&B acts get blasted by the media, like Chris Brown with his recent history. Do you think this treatment is at all fair?
I feel like being in the industry, every mistake that you make is magnified. At the end of the day we’re still real people. Two years ago I was still making YouTube videos. The same goes to those guys. Sometimes people forget that we’re human being and that we’re real people. It’s just that we’re going through life in the public eye…Life happens to everybody.
When you heard about Brown’s and R. Kelly’s issues, did your perception of them change at all or did you sympathize?
I don’t think it’s my place to judge anybody for their mistakes. We don’t know these guys’ personal life. It’s not really anyone’s right to judge. Like I said, life happens to everybody.
Should fans expect any other surprises from your upcoming EP, judging from your prior releases?
I have this one some that I’m excited about. It’s called ‘Gucci Zone’ It’s another turn up song, but I took some cadences from Aaliyah and it has a ‘90s vibe as well. That’s the one song people haven’t heard yet [from the EP].
Any future planned material?
For the most part I’m putting out more music for the rest of the year, and at the top of next year we’re going to come out with another single and we’re going to put the album out
Watch B. Smyth's 'Leggo' feat. 2 Chainz
Watch B. Smyth's 'Gettin' That'
Watch B. Smyth's 'Snapback'
Watch B. Smyth's 'Letter'
Watch B. Smyth's 'Vibe'