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Tyrese Belts Out Ballads, Reveals X-Rated Fan Tryst, Attends Anger Management Class

Kristin Burns, AOL

It’s good to be Tyrese — just ask him. The R&B crooner released his fifth studio album, Open Invitation, independently last year and being his own boss, at least musically, seems to agree with the 34-year-old singer-actor. In demand for some of the hottest action film franchises around, like “Fast and the Furious” and “Transformers,” the SoCal native uses his music to keep in touch with his softer, romantic side, much to the delight of his female fanbase.

In true triple threat fashion, Tyrese is also trying his hand as an author, penning the self-help book “How to Get Out of Your Own Way,” which landed on shelves in May. He speaks candidly about his own personal struggles, and proudly admits he’s in treatment for anger management.

Recently, Tyrese spread the love at AOL’s Los Angeles studio with an exclusive performance of some of his new tracks, plus old favorites like “Sweet Lady.” Watch the smooth set right here and read the details of our incredibly frank interview below.

See Photos of Tyrese Performing for AOL Sessions

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Since Open Invitation is your fifth studio album, what could you experiment with on this record that you didn’t feel you could do before?

A little history, my last two albums, there was a lot of things happening internally at the record label. The gist of it is you’re one of many artists that are signed to a label. But you’re not necessarily supposed to feel that way — even though you are. And then when you start feeling like you’re one of many on a label, then the question as an artist becomes, well, after I put all of these hours in the studio, after I put my heart on the mic and sing all of these songs, will my fans want to even know that this album exists? Will I be able to come out with this album and have my fans and supporters be able to experience my feelings through these songs or not? When you’re dealing with majors, they have to decide who and what they want to put all of their time, energy and money behind.

So going into this new album, I did it independent. And in the history of what I know about people, I don’t know of too many people who won’t go all out to get behind and support themselves. So when I did it independent, it became the best thing I’ve ever done. I put a great team in place — I’d be lying if I said I did it all by myself. I came out with the album Nov. 1, [2011], my first No. 1 album, for two weeks. And my my first single, called “Stay,” ended up being No. 1 for 11 weeks on the Billboard Urban AC charts, which was also my first No. 1 single. It became a big confirmation. I’m very spiritual, anybody who knows me knows that I’m very obedient to what God says and asks me to do. I think we listen, we’re obedient, and then you’re looking for these confirmations. I did it, I listened. Then to get a confirmation of all of these No. 1s, and how long it was No. 1, became a real toast to the fans, the support and the state of the music business. I took a leap of faith and I landed on my feet.

You recently released your book “How to Get Out of Our Own Way.” How did writing that book change your approach to making music?

That’s the whole thing, it’s an everyday challenge to get out of our own way. We all have ideas and visions as to where our love life, our careers, our choices and our surroundings, what they’re supposed to be versus what they are. And if you have a problem with your friends, why are they still your friends? You’re in your own way. You don’t like your job, why are you still there? I know you’ve got to survive, got to get money, but if there’s other options out there, I would never say leave your home plate without establishing a new home. But for you to just stay there, but yet you’re miserable every day, you’re in your own way. And so every day is a challenge to get out of your own way, because most of us are in our own way, we’re just unaware of it.

Watch Tyrese’s Interview With The BoomBox
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When did you personally realize you needed to get out of your own way?

Many years ago. I knew I had to get out of my own way before the actual quote hit me. Sometimes you can find yourself living your life a certain kind of way or having a certain mentality, but you don’t necessarily have a quote to go along with it. My mentor said you need to get out of our own way. And I was like, that’s it. It became kind of like a lifestyle of mine.

I wake up every day just trying to figure out what can I do to be better, do better, achieve more, and, I mean, even to the point — and I’m not even ashamed to say this, right now — I’m in anger management, and I’m in anger management because I decided to do it on my own. Because the question becomes what’s going on with my attitude at times that can be getting in the way of me getting to the next level in my career or in my personal life. And so it’s one thing for the court to say you’ve got to go to anger management, it’s another thing for you to sign up on your own. And so that’s who I am. I’m a man who’s always trying to evolve and figure out how to get to the next level of me.

What has been the most random experience, object or quote that has inspired you to write a song?

I don’t really know if that woman’s body part is considered an object, but I’ll talk about that in another interview. I’m sure this is PG-13. There have been many things, I mean, there are arguments, there are conflicts, there are issues, there are challenges in relationships, there are misunderstandings. There’s a lot of different things that could inspire a song. There’s also love. It’s also a woman coming in your life, introducing you to different versions of what love is that you never experienced before she got there. All of these different things can inspire me as a songwriter, singer, to get in the vocal booth and make it happen.

You have a track on Open Invitation called “Walk (A Poem For My Fans).” What has been the most surreal fan experience that you’ve had?

I’m going to be honest and say that women are very aggressive, and I think most male figures that have female fans that certain women say is sexy, attractive or whatever, we deal with a different type of attention from women. Without sounding self-consumed, I will say that one of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had with a woman was after we finished rubbing bodies, she said to me, “I already knew what I was going to do to you before I even got here. This was well thought out. I’ve been with my man for five years, we just broke up, and I used to practice on him before I got to you.” I called that pre-meditated sexual healing.

I think a lot of times — I mean, even me as a man, I think certain women are very sexy and attractive, and have the most ridiculous bodies ever, and as a man, you can’t stop yourself from thinking of things that you would do to that woman if you had an opportunity to — that’s just what fantasizing is, but it was very weird to have her to say that to me after we finished. So it was like you just planned this whole thing out, huh? You showed up to the concert, wearing that dress, knowing what your intentions were. I thought that was pretty interesting. But I appreciate her … in a major way. That was a good night — fan appreciation.

What satisfaction do you get from making music that you don’t necessarily get from acting?

Very good question. My honest answer would be other than improv, which I love to do when I’m on movie sets, when I sing a song it’s my song. It’s my experience. It doesn’t matter if I write the whole song, if I can’t relate or identify with the record I won’t do it. So those are my feelings. I never wrote that script, I’m not directing the movie, it’s not mine. I’m just hired help. But when I do music these are my babies, these are my songs, these are my feelings, and I am able to create that experience for the fans and supporters, musically. So it really doesn’t compare. I love doing both, but music is my first love.

Watch Tyrese Perform “Stay” for AOL Sessions

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