After working with some of Hip Hop’s biggest stars, who’d be better for R&B diva Beyonce to record with than the “King” himself? Nah, not Lisa Marie’s pops; I'm referring to another well-known hit-maker, dubbed "Black Elvis." Sorry, wrong again; it's not Tupac Shakur or Kool Keith.
Meet Blac Elvis, the co-writer/producer of “Ego,” Beyonce’s fifth hit single from her third number-one selling album, I Am…Sasha Fierce. Hailing from Mississippi by way of Atlanta, Elvis “Blac Elvis” Williams is no novice to the music game. The frequent Polow da Don collaborator has spent the last few years creating some of urban radio’s most-played songs, including Mario’s “Crying Out for Me” and Ciara’s “Never Ever” featuring Young Jeezy. DXnext recently reached out to Blac Elvis to discuss working with B, his own creative process and his innovative new label, Solar Digital Music.
Producing Beyonce's "Ego": "Actually, my publisher played the record for her while they were in the studio just listening to music, so I got the blessing of a lifetime just by doing what I do best: good music. I’m a firm believer of letting your work speak for itself."
Crafting Hits In Over Three Genres: "The creative process isn't different, but the thought process is. Whether I'm creating hard core Hip-Hop, R&B or Pop, I have to ask myself, 'Would I believe this artist performing this record?” And, “How would everyone else perceive them?'"
The Importance Of Playing Instruments: "Being able to play got me to where I’m at today. The reason why this is such an important gift to me is because I’m able to create right there on the spot all on my own. For any artist that I’m working with it’s convenient that I don't have to call in ten different musicians to make a record. [Laughs] Although there's nothing wrong with that and it’s good at times to have a different ear. However, some of the biggest records came just by sitting at the piano or guitar with a pen. [Smiles]"
Running Solar Digital Records With A Vision: "The music aspect of Solar Digital is just one area that we are focus. Me and my partner Lonnie Deadwyler are in the process of creating Greenonics. These will be semi-electrical green products that would help protect our earth for our kids and for generations to come. We're just doing our good deed for the world, but it has to be a world effort to make a big change."
Let The Music Play: "The older and middle generations have to understand that music has to evolve and that trends have to be set in order for real music to overshadow it all. The kids right now are just expressing themselves, which I think is great! It keeps a lot of them out of trouble and gives them hope to become successful. However, every trend has to come to an end. I think real music will outlast any trend that comes and goes."
Staying Edgy: "I keep my sound fresh and unique; I stick out like a sore thumb. Meaning, if everyone is using synths, I use pianos and other live instruments. Although I’m not against Auto-Tune, I don't like to use it heavily like most people. I try and keep the people following what I do as far as chord progressions and sounds. If you recall, when Ciara's 'Promise' came out, there were a ton of producers and artists using those chords and big drums on slow jams and to go even further, we're still in the Timbaland [production of] One Republic's 'Apologize' chord changes. [Laughs]"
Getting Green While Going Green: "Our first step is to partner with companies that have products that have eco-friendly designs. These designs have reduced energy use and are made of recyclable and recycled materials. We are also committed to ongoing research to find better ways of eliminating E-waste."
What The Rap World Better Learn, Fast: "I think a lot of people know me for the Pop and R&B...You have to dig a little to find out that I’ve done records for Rick Ross [click to read], T.I. [click to read], Young Buck [click to read], Field Mob [click to read], Rich Boy [click to read], Yung Joc [click to read], so I think the Rap game may make people a lil’ hesitant to work with me. But, a challenge did present itself when I recently wanted to sign this new artist, which was kind of across between Alicia [Keys] and Celine Dion. They Googled me and I guess a bunch of Hip Hop stuff came up so they assume I wouldn't be a good fit for her big voice. So what I tell people now that may be a little hesitant or shaky to work with me in any capacity, whether it may be music or business, I simply say, 'Believe.' ["