Wenn nach diesem Interview mit President Bell eines klar ist, dann das: der Wille zum Erfolg ist da. Zuletzt machte der Produzent und Rapper aus Mississippi mit seinem Soloalbum “Enter The Matrix” von sich reden. Wer auf den Sound klarkommt sollte sich außerdem noch nach dem bereits 2003 erschienenen Album “Element Of Surprise” von Bell und den Secret Emissaries umschauen. Das Interview wurde geführt von: unseren Community-Mitgliedern Face97 und Soulja Slim B.G.
For the ones that don’t know: who’s President Bell?
For starters, I am President Bell. *laughs* I’m from Mississippi, which is located in the United States, and I am an aspiring artist that speaks about real issues that real people face. Anyone can talk about jewelry, money, drugs and so son – but I’m one of the few artists that can talk about it all and tell the truth.
Where does your name come from and what’s the meaning behind it?
The name President Bell actually is a name that was given to me by my fans. At first my name was MB, which was short for my real name, which is Mack Bell. I was given that name because I was the artist that talked about the politics that normal Americans face. What you see on TV is just that. It’s TV. But it’s homeless people here in America, too. It’s just not openly talked about because we are considered the land of freedom.
What can you tell us about your hometown Vicksburg, Mississippi?
It’s a small town, but it has a lot of potential for growth. It’s a lot of old money here. By that I mean, it’s money that’s passed down from generation to generation. We have casinos and things that are catered around the old money. It’s a great town to visit especially if you’re into history. This is the city where the Civil War ended, so this is the place to be if you want to learn about the most important war in American History.
When did you start rapping and making beats?
I started making beats and rapping in high school. I’ve been doing this since 17 or 18.
And do you play any instruments?
I primarily play studio instruments. The keyboard, drum machine, even pick a note or two on the guitar. As for the beats, I use a variety of equipment. Whatever makes the beat better. Most of the time though I use Pro Tools, Magix, Roland Fantom, MPC, and the Boss DR 770.
How would you describe the characeristic of your beats?
I like to make laid back beats that make you think more about life and where you stand in it. I can make the uptempo, club bangers, but everyone is doing that. I take pride in being unique. The strings, horns, bass, and closed hi-hats just do something to me. I’m in my element when they all come together.
Tell me about your musical influences…
I like R&B, Blues and some Rock songs. I actually get most of my ideas for my tracks from this music. I try not to use to many rap songs as guides. It’s all beginning to the sound the same. My biggest influences down here in Mississippi were Boo Da Boss Playa aka Rossini, who is now on my album and signed to Young Jeezy’s label Corporate Thugs Entertainment. Also the group Crooked Lettaz, which was the group David Banner was with before he got signed. Besides them, my biggest musical influences growing up were Tupac and the artists that made music that actually had meaning. By that I mean, if you listen at a song and when it goes off, you don’t think about it anymore, it has no meaning. It may be great, but if it doesn’t take you anywhere, it’s worthless. It’s just music for the time. I try to make timeless music. Music that lives even after I’m gone.
Where have you been during the four years since you dropped that “Secret Emissaries” album?
I took a break from music to be honest. I took time off to decide if this is what I really wanted. The rap money was slow, but a hustler keeps getting paid. You know! The streets know what it is. I’m back now though front and center. 100% music. Nothing illegal. Also, the business of music is a lot more complicated then most people are even aware of. Fans don’t really get to see the dark side of music. They see what’s on television or hear what’s on a CD. Most artist are told that a hit song is all you need, but what they don’t tell you is, your hit is worthless if no one knows it exist. And for people to know it exist, advertising is necessary and is very expensive.
What happened to the other members of the group?
The other group members of the Secret Emissaries have taken other paths in life. Like I said earlier, the business side of music is demanding. I love them though and respect their choice. Hopefully one day we will make music again, but right now, I’m the only one pushing Holdin’ Our Own Records.
… and you dropped your first solo album in 2007. Tell us about it.
The album “Enter The Matrix” is the biography of my life. It’s my way of bringing my fans into my personal space. I talk about the good and the bad. I basically discuss everything I went through in my life from 17 to 25. It’s 17 tracks of pure fire. It’s a must-have for every music lover that enjoy the truth and respect raw talent.
How was the work on “Enter The Matrix”, could you just give us a little insight in the recording process?
It was tough, but I really enjoyed it. I recorded this album at home. I took it back to the basics. You know, a lot of artists get used to recording in the multi-million dollar studios and lose themselves in the process. They get used to the cutting and pasting, the effects, the processing, and all the things in the modern studio that makes them lazy. I went back to the foundation. I manually did my effects, manually changed my voice, and built this album from the ground up at home.
How long does it take to write and produce a song?
Great songs take time. A good song can be done in an hour, but a chart topper needs to be thought about. Songs become hits because people can relate to them. Great songs can take months.
How does a typical day of your life look like?
I spend a lot of time replying or sending e-mails and networking with other artist. Unless I’m doing a show, signing autographs, or networking, I spend as much time as possible with my family. Say for instance, my fans are blown away when they purchase my album and I personally e-mail them a thank you note. They can’t believe they are talking to me. I’m just that down to earth artist that happens to have talent. So that takes up a lot of time, but if you think enough of me to purchase my album, the least I can do is say thank you. You know! I don’t know what’s wrong with artists these days.
Are you satisfied with the support you get?
You know I get amazing support. People are hesitant to buy my music at first because they’ve had so many bad experiences with artist that have no talent, but after listening to me, they are usually loyal to me after that. My level of talent is so over the top, that I get more e-mails asking why I’m not signed then when the next album is coming. Really.
Does this keep you motivated to keep on going?
I’m internally motivated. God gave me the talent to be myself and I use that gift to inspire others to do the same. But if I had to name someone, it would probably be my late uncle. He was amazingly talented. He sat down at a piano at about 5 and played till he died.
What has been the greatest experience in your life up to this day?
To actually hear myself in regular rotation on the radio. It feels kinda akward to hear yourself after all the years of being turned down.
What are your hobbies besides making music?
I enjoy bowling, basketball and lifting weights. In my freetime, I like being in the company of classy women and men that’s about their business. It’s nothing like kicking your feet up and drinking a cold beer around people you can trust.
Let’s talk about your label Holdin’ Our Own Records. Tell us about your future plans like new signings or projects…
I have plans on signing new acts in the future, but I decided to put myself out first. People respect you more when you yourself have been a success. I learned the hard way that this business takes time and it’s a lot of hard work. New acts don’t understand that. They think after their album release, they are instant stars. My dream would be to have an umble artist to work with that’s patient. You can build talent but you can’t build loyalty, respect, and class. Besides that, I would like to work with Plies, Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, and R. Kelly vocally – and Timbaland, Kanye West, David Banner and Manny Fresh musically.
Can you imagine yourself on that level in like 5 years?
In five years, I see myself a multi-millionaire and signing new artists to become millionaires. It’s too many people out here loving my music and movement for this not to be the case. Major labels act like it take a rocket scientist to see I’m a star, but my fans built me and they can’t break me. I’m built to last.
So what can expect next from you?
I’m working on an album now called “Going Fed”. It will talk about the federal drug raid in my city in which I was arrested. I was later released because of lack of evidence, but a lot of my homeboys are in prison now. So I’m doing this album for them. Lot of rappers lying in their songs, but I put my life on these tracks. No exact release dates have been set, but just keep your eyes and ears open for that. It will be another classic.
What do you know about Germany and the people over here?
I have never been to Germany, but I get so much love from ya’ll that I know one day I’ll have to come and do a show. I’ve sold more albums over there then in any other country outside the U.S.
Is there anything that I missed to ask?
I just want to take the time to thank all my fans in Germany that have invited me into their homes, enjoy my music, and speak on me to all their friends. Without ya’ll, I probably wouldn’t be doing this interview. I appreciate that. For everyone else, I just want to let you know that I have albums, ringtones and clothing available at my website. If you’re on MySpace, visit me at http://www.myspace.com/presidentbell and add me as a friend. Even if you don’t buy, visit one of those sites, listen at the songs for yourself and judge for yourself if I’m a star. That’s really it. Darko and Slim, I appreciate you for the interview.