Saturday, April 28, 2012

Barry Michael Cooper On R. Kelly, 2006

Then there was R. Kelly. That was really memorable because, first of all this guy does not go to sleep. He might sleep in 15 minute intervals, but I stayed up for almost two days hanging out with this guy. And it was strange in a sense that I was expecting this bizarre person, and parts of R. Kelly - and this is not an act with this dude - he is really kinda strange. Somethin’s going on with him. But he’s a real genius.

When I sat in the Chocolate Factory studios and watched this dude play like Beethoven, like really, really play – it was awesome. I didn’t think he could play like that. I had heard things, but I’d never seen him in concert so that was my first time, and there’s nobody like R. Kelly. Like Teddy, he is a real genius, he’s one of those rare people like Stevie Wonder, like Prince, like Todd Rundgren, but he’s tortured for real.

He started crying while he was playing this 'soldier’s song' – it was a double entendre about these guys in Iraq and I think the Lord Jesus Christ, I’m not really sure, but I know he started crying while he was playing it. And then right after that, he started playing like he was a lounge lizard, and started laughing. And I said to myself, you know what? It’s either I’m sleepy right now, or this guy is really crazy. It’s either one of the two, and maybe it’s a mix of both.

And another thing that stood out about the R. Kelly interview: he had his studio made up like a jungle with real live plants and trees! When I started walking through the hallway to get to the actual recording studio I noticed that I started having to move leaves out of my face. So at that point, I was saying to myself, I know I haven’t been asleep in 18 hours but I’m moving leaves out of my face in a recording studio!

He said he did that because he wanted to create that effect of being in Africa. He had all these pictures of lions and apes, and these books and maps of was crazy man. He explained, "when I get into something I really try to study it and get into it and absorb it. I know I can’t go there."

I asked him if he was afraid to fly and he didn’t answer that. But his manager Regina Daniels kinda alluded to the fact that I think he has a fear of flying. I think he will fly but it takes a lot to get him on a plane. That was a memorable interview too.

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