Triumphantly re-launching his career on his own terms after a taxing detour, Bobby Valentino is prepping his EMI Records debut Rebirth via his own Blu Kolla Dreams imprint. The gifted vocalist is familiar with new beginnings. Bobby first charted as a member of Mista, the teenage group responsible for the innovative single “Blackberry Molasses.” Intent on forging a solo career, he reinvented himself as Bobby Valentino and smashed the scene with 2005 chart-topper “Slow Down.” His self-titled solo debut, released later that year on fellow Atlantan Ludacris’s Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam label, reached number three on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. As 2007 drew to a close, Bobby found himself among the casualties of corporate upheaval and economy-caused cutbacks.
His sophomore disc, Special Occasion, was scarcely supported by his soon-to-be-former label. It was clearly time to re-envision his career, looking toward his strong faith in God to illuminate his life’s path. The introspection and soul-searching resulted in Rebirth, his most intriguing and personal album to date. Alongside gifted producers L.O.S, Raphael Saadiq and long-time collaborators Tim & Bob, the talented songwriter offers a mature effort that will both please loyal fans and win over fickle critics. Rebirth revolves around relationships. The infectious lead single “BEEP,” among the disc’s most visceral tunes, details the joys of adventurous sex.
Cleverly crafted by up-and-coming Mississippi native Big Fruit, the melody begins as ballad and morphs into an up-tempo sweat-inducer. Bobby notes, “The feedback from the record was so strong. When I played it for people and I sent it to the clubs everybody reacted to it quickly. My first single, I always want it to be for the people.” The single announces: “I’m back, I got a new situation ” it’s one of those kinds of records that’s gonna make a statement.” Bobby was especially honored to work with Grammy Award-winner Saadiq, who produced “Wish List” for the project. Bobby beams: “He is one of the coolest, most down to earth people in the world. I didn’t know what to expect but he was a fan of mine. He knew my music and that really had me in awe.” The two ambitiously cover Saadiq’s 1995 gem “Just Me and You.” Valentino explains, “I rewrote the verses while he brought in live horns and played guitar.” Melodically, Bobby’s version blends the majesty of the original with his signature vocals. Tim & Bob are Bobby’s go-to guys from the Mista era, they helmed Bobby’s “Slow Down”. On working with the duo: “I release all of my stress and my energy into music with Tim & Bob. I like to work with producers that really know how to play instruments and aren’t all about the drum machines because with R&B it’s all about the music.”
The duo crafted “3 Is the New 2″ a Jodeci-tinged joint playing on the phrase “30 is the new 20.” Another mid-tempo ballad in this vein is “Butterfly Tattoo,” which evokes ’80s Prince, complete with synthesized accents and an electric guitar solo. Not everything can be summed up as sheer lust however; heed the mature “Hands on Me,” a desperate yen to remain faithful despite a very tempting dalliance. Or the sophisticated ballad “Give Me Your Heart,” on which Bobby takes listeners to church with divine chords and an evangelical falsetto. “It’s kind of like me turning in my player card,” he says. “It’s for the grown folks.” And while he’s not quite ready to live by the song now, he muses with a half-smile: “Down the road I don’t even have to propose. I can just play that song.” Rebirth also marks Valentino’s production debut with the track “Make Me Say.” Inspired by the hook he wrote and sings on Lil’ Wayne’s flirtatious hit “Mrs. Officer,” Bobby explains, “It’s about a girl that I really like so much that I can bring her around my family, bring her around my friends. She just makes me say “Woo!”" Bobby V is expanding his philanthropic efforts The Bobby Valentino Foundation, which focuses on the value of higher education.
The Clark Atlanta graduate shares, “Going to college was one of my best experiences and I just want to provide that opportunity [for others] and stress the importance of being educated.” His highest hurdles behind him, Bobby Valentino is poised to reclaim his peerless place in the music world. His general life philosophy is reflected in the principles he holds for Blu Kolla Dreams: The majority of my fans and audience are blue collar people that work every day with a dream. And this is my dream. I’ve been in this industry a long time. I just continue to believe in myself. Considering his inevitably successful return, Bobby Valentino is far from alone in his dream.