Q&A: R&B star Chris Brown inspires avid fans

Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:40pm EST
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By Gail Mitchell

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Bursting out of Tappahannock, Virginia, three years ago as a wide-eyed newcomer, Chris Brown has rapidly morphed into a pop and R&B tower of power with a screaming fan base to match.

Still riding high on the success of his 2007 sophomore Jive set, "Exclusive," which has sold 1.9 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the 19-year-old singer-songwriter, dancer and actor is wrapping up a banner 2008. He snared two more Grammy Award nominations -- best pop collaboration (with Jordin Sparks on "No Air") and best male R&B vocal ("Take You Down") -- and has been named Billboard's top pop artist of the year.

Brown chatted with Billboard about preparing his next album, what he's learned and how much he truly appreciates all those screaming fans.

Q: Why does "Exclusive" have so much staying power?

Chris Brown: Because of the potential of the songs on the album and the collaborations. When I was recording the album, there were certain people I wanted to work with. I got Kanye West to do "Down." I also got to work with the Game, Lil Wayne and T-Pain. I had a great chance to do something in a different creative forum.

Q: The reissued version of the album includes the hit "Forever." What was the inspiration for that?

Brown: I wasn't even planning on doing "Forever" for the repackage; it was going to be on my next album. But then I decided I wasn't ready to release a new album yet. So we gave the fans the rerelease with four new songs. The original inspiration for the song was to just make a dance record, a European kind of record that everybody all over the world could listen to. It turned out to be one of those big explosions.

Q: Care to reveal any potential collaborations you're considering?   Continued...

<p>Chris Brown wins for artist of the year at the 2008 American Music Awards in Los Angeles in this November 23, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>