Tatyana Ali Explains Will Smith's Mentorship In Her Music Career
The singer/actress also speaks on Will Smith's status as an emcee.
“When I sang on Fresh Prince, which they wrote into the show after I sang at...a karaoke wrap party...They were like, ‘Oh, you can sing? We should write this in,’” she said. “After they did that, Will asked me, he was like, ‘Would you ever think about singing for real and recording?’ So I signed to his production company. After Fresh Prince, during the end, we started recording. A couple years after, that’s when I started to put out music. That’s when we also did music together.”
Responding to a question about her album Kiss the Sky being certified Gold Ali said “it felt amazing.”
“The thing that I loved most about it was performing,” she said. “I got to see the world. I toured all over the country with N’Sync which was like every little girl’s dream at the time. Then I toured around Europe with Backstreet Boys and Monica and 98°. It was incredible.”
During the interview Ali, who released a new EP earlier this year, explained why she thinks Will Smith isn’t given his just due as an emcee.
“I have this conversation a lot and it’s about art, especially music,” she said. “People called him corny because he didn’t curse. He had songs like ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand.’ He was really positive, middle-class, talking about his own experiences. I think that’s the real interesting thing where it’s like, and I’ve found this too in music being a young artist myself, everyone was always trying to push. ‘You need to show more this. You need to be more like this. You need to be more edgy.’ I think that definitely has its place. But in Pop culture speaking your mind from where you come from and being authentic, whether it’s positive or not, that always rises to the top. It’s the weirdest thing. I have friends in music who are nurturing young artists coming up. They’ll have this incredible singer on their hands. This beautiful, 16-year old young woman who is doing her thing, she can dance, she can sing, she can whatever. They’re just like, ‘I don’t think she’s really edgy enough.’ I’m like, ‘Will you leave that child alone and just let her be herself. Let her express herself.’ At the end of the day, just like you said, who won the first [Rap] Grammy? Yes. It’s okay to be positive and be successful. I think that’s cool. That’s why people wouldn’t mention him even though those songs that he made.”
On the prospect of Will Smith returning to music, Ali admitted that she’d heard the actor speak of the possibility years ago.
“I don’t know, wouldn’t that be awesome?” she said. “I’ve heard him talk about it years and years ago.”
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