T-Pain                                                                           By Rashmi Shastri

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Twenty-year-old T-Pain is not your average artist. The Situation sat down with the ‘Rappa Ternt Sanga’ to talk about music, strippers and working with Britney Spears.

T-PainT-Pain is a 20-year-old singer/songwriter/rapper/producer. The “T” stands for Tallahassee and the “Pain” represents the struggles and strife of his childhood and growing up in the hood. This guy is not just another R&B singer; he knows what he’s talking about and knows what people want to listen to. He prides himself on “being real” and writing about real situations that people can relate to. It’s not all bling bling and designer labels with T-Pain; the music he makes comes from the heart.

T-Pain turned his bedroom into a studio at just 10-years-old, fuelled by his passion for making music. He’s been making beats and writing lyrics ever since, and was eventually signed to Akon’s Konvict Music label.

Favourites from the album include ‘Going Through A Lot’ and ‘Fly Away’, where he opens up about his family life and friends. There are also songs based on his past relationships with ‘I’m Sprung’, the first single from the album that everybody knows. ‘I’m Sprung’ has been a huge hit over here in the UK and also the States, and is due to make a big comeback this summer. There is also the cheeky ‘I’m In Love With A Stripper’, which is based on a night out with one of his friends who had never been to a strip club before.

T-Pain is a multi-talented artist and there is nothing he cannot achieve. All eyes will be on him this year to see what else he has up his sleeve. His album, ‘Rappa Ternt Sanga’, started selling instantly because of ‘I’m Sprung’, and now with ‘I’m In Luv Wit A Stripper’ on the way to us in the UK, the only way is up.

How do you feel about the success of ‘I’m Sprung’?
It’s fantastic! It’s great that it’s been such a popular track; it’s just something that I wanted everybody to hear. I’m glad to hear they’re still pumpin’ in the UK too. The best part is that people want to hear it. I wrote it about a year ago about a relationship that I had.

Tell me about the hook up with Akon and his label, Konvict Music…
He heard about the music I was doing and I jacked one of his songs [‘Locked Up’], and he heard I was making my own video; it was stuff that normal artists don’t do. Most people are trying to get a deal or push out mixtapes, but I wasn’t really trying to do that so that’s really what drew Akon to me. It’s the fact I was doing music for the love of it.

Where did you get the idea for ‘I’m In Luv Wit A Stripper’ - is it a bit of a joke?
The idea came to me when I took my friend to a strip club for the first time and it really was a joke to pick on him. He was staring at the girls like, ‘I’m in love with that stripper.” The right people heard it and it just became a track for the album, then a single. There’s a fly video to that track; the next one is ‘Studio Love’ featuring Lil’ Wayne - we gonna change it up a bit.

You’ve collaborated with many artists in your career, but who would you really like to work with at the moment?
I think I’ve pretty much worked with all of my favourite artists now, but definitely Busta Rhymes would finish me off; I really rate him!

How did you become so multi-talented?
I think it was from my dad, he always used to encourage me; he used to say if you can do it yourself, you won’t have to pay for it! He’s been my role model throughout life. I wanted to do everything; write, rap, sing… you had to rap tough to be recognised back then, but I wanted to do my R&B thing.

Are you still producing and writing for other people?
Yeah definitely, recently written stuff for Bobby Valentino, a song for Trick Daddy the other day, doing stuff with Britney Spears and Nick Lachey. I got something for Britney’s next album; she’s cool but she doesn’t really like to come into the studio a lot, so sometimes I gotta work without her.

Do you think it’s important to write your own material?
I think it’s important because it’s more believable. Sometimes when people write their own stuff it’s still not real, they just make up stuff and put it on the beat, but it’s rubbish. It’s important for the people that can write to express themselves, and write well, not just anything.

What don’t you like about the music industry?
I find it really repetitive and I don’t really like that. The music that’s being played right now is the same; when somebody comes out with a hit song everybody else gotta copy the trend and not do their own thing.

What’s it like to be recognised wherever you go?
I get a lot more attention these days; it’s great because I didn’t really get into this for the fame, it was for the music. I mean the money’s coming but it’s not just about that! I got a lot of love for the people who have love for my music.

Lastly, I have to ask you this, what gets you ‘Sprung’?
Between me and you, a good personality gets me sprung.

T-Pain’s debut single, ‘I’m Sprung’ and album, ‘Rappa Ternt Sanga’, is out now on Konvict/Jive Records. For more information, please visit his official website, http://www.t-pain.net.

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