Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!
Felixx is here to make sure that nostalgic, 90’s R&B is alive and kicking. Nicknamed The Fresh Prince of R&B, the Monroe, Georgia native was groomed from an early age to be a Southern gentleman, mastering the art of creating heartfelt music that touches the souls of all those who hear it.
A classically-trained singer with influences from the greats such as Mozart, John Mayer, Prince, and Justin Timberlake, Felixx prides himself in creating records with live instrumentation, pristine songwriting, and unwavering passion. Born Felix Thompson, the extra ‘x’ in Felixx represents his work ethic to go 10 times harder than the rest, whether he’s on stage performing or in the booth recording.
Stemming off the release of his “Christmas With You” single released December of last year, Felixx is excited as ever to be releasing new ballads for his supporters, whom he calls family. His newest single “Can’t Break Up” can be found on his forthcoming project titled Phazes, inspired directly by Prince’s Purple Rain.
Plus, Felixx is now working with the one and only Cortez Bryant and Al Branch with The Blueprint Group. Flaunt caught up with Felixx via Instagram Live, who was posted in the studio in Atlanta creating per usual. Read below as we discuss how he got his nickname, roots in Monroe, Georgia, Prince’s influence at an early age, help in the music industry, inspo behind Phazes, studio essentials, love for fashion, best encounter with a fan, goals, and more!
Why are you The Fresh Prince of R&B?
That whole King of R&B debate was going so heavy. I remember when it started, people kept hitting me up like “you’ve got to say something!” First off, I’m not the type of person to start speaking just because everybody else is talking. I don’t like to say fans because it’s a weird connotation to it for me, but my supporters are my family. Sometimes, your talents have to put you in certain rooms. People kept throwing me the conversation, but I’ve got to pay homage to the people that’s still alive. We’ve got Babyface still out here doing this. You’ve got Tank, you’ve got everybody. You’ve got Joe, it’s legends still out here singing.
The King of R&B? The Kings are still alive right now. Some say “your sound is refreshing, you should call yourself Fresh Prince of R&B.” Alright, that’s dope. That’s cool. Crazy enough, I did an interview and somebody else said it. I’m like “yo, I’m running with it” I made the Fresh Prince of R&B playlist on Spotify, so a bunch of different publications started picking it up. Shit, that’s my tag. Wassup? Fresh Prince of R&B.
What was the household like growing up in Monroe, Georgia?
Small town, I grew up in church. All my cousins played basketball, but God didn’t give me that gift. I could make music. I grew up singing in church, but it was me going out there on my own and really making things happen until I met my manager Anthony Kalel. My family really supports me, the city really supports me. I can’t say anything bad about it, it’s been a dope experience. It was hard starting out because being from a small town, all my cousins did the same thing. How the hell do I come over here and do this, when I ain’t really got nobody that does that?
My family is traditional 9-5. Very supportive, but it was go to college, get a degree, get you a job. We support you because you’re not here, you’re shooting at people randomly so I’ma let you do what you do. They were definitely like “do what you want to do, make a living.” Of course, parents want to push that. “You need a backup plan, you have to go to school.” But nah, they support me. The city, my family, everybody really supported me.
Talk about being a classically-trained singer.
[laughs] That was my only outlet to be quite honest. Being from a small town, I joined chorus in third grade and did that all the way to college. That was the outlet, the only thing I could really do to get out there. Being in a small town, I’ve gotta go to school in Atlanta because I gotta figure out how to get outta here. I went down there and met my manager not too long after being out there. Since then, we been going crazy. Really that was my outlet, my avenue to get to where I really wanted to be.
At what point did you realize you could do music as a profession?
I’m not going to say it came easy, but a lot of stuff. I’m like “this thing’s supposed to be a bit harder than this.” I felt music was the one thing whooping my ass. It’s a spiritual journey for me, so music was the one thing I couldn’t do without God. When I got started, it became bigger than me. It became a representation of everybody around me. Being from a small town and having young cousins or people still in high school, middle school, elementary school, my niece and nephew… having them look at me like “oh snap!”
My family calls me Junior. They’re like “oh, Junior’s on TV! If he can do it, crazy as he is, shit maybe I can do it.” Everybody that told me “you have to do this or do that, you have to be here to do that or go that way,” it showed me the shit’s not true. If you truly have something… for me, I got a fresh yes from God. You’ve got the drive and the push, and the people around you, you can do what you want to do. That’s honestly what made me realize I have to do this. I gotta be in this moment, be in this spot, be here, be there. Because I got a lot of people that were looking at me, that’s totally changed their perception on life. Damn I could talk one thing my whole life, but I’m watching my homeboy do this. I’m watching my cousin do this, I’m watching my friend do this. I really appreciate a lot of people coming and telling me, “you going on your journey has really helped me step out and do a lot of stuff.”
Your last single was “Christmas With You” right?
Yeah, I had the pleasure of doing (inaudible). Much love to Al and Tez, they’ve really taken me under their wing like a little brother. We talk about a lot of stuff. I remember talking to Al recently, I said “yo man, it’s not even about the money.” Being in the industry and having people put their name where their mouth is, having them stamp you, support you… I’ve worked with a number of motherfuckers out here. A lot of times, they want to work in silence. When I go off stage, “why don’t you come out to a show? Cosign? Our records, let’s put them out.” But to have somebody actually be like “nah, we fucking with Felixx. This is the next wave. Fresh Prince of R&B, this is the next person that’s up.” That meant the most to me. Don’t get me wrong now, putting a stack on the table is a beautiful thing always, but really putting your name in your mouth is one of the most important things.
Who’s idea was it to have those little mini-me’s pop up in the video?
[laughs] It was a combination of me, my creative director, my manager, we really sat down. I didn’t want to tell the traditional story, I said “let’s make something dope and make sure we get our creativity out.” That’s where I am creating-wise in general: breaking barriers, not really thinking too hard about stuff. Let’s do something dope. My manager said “let’s play up on the Gemini theme,” so we got the good elf and the bad elf. Instead of having the good elf and the bad elf, we have just the bad elf. Then you got me who’s the good guy: “ah chill chill. We’re out on a date, I ain’t trying to smash.” The other elf is saying “fuck her, fuck her!” We wanted to play off that good vs. evil type of vibe, in a very playful way.
What can we expect from your new project, Phazes?
We’d already recorded 4 dope records, the idea was to talk about the phases of a relationship. When you first meet the girl, we see each other out. We kicking it, we start talking. When you fall in love in a relationship, then we’ve got the breakup record. Sometimes, you’ve got to go with the flow. I felt like these songs got to hit at the same time. SoundCloud’s going to be featuring one of the records, “Can’t Be Done”, on one of their new R&B playlists.
What does Valentine’s Day mean to you, since you make all this romantic music?
Really, it’s an expression of love to be quite honest. I’ve never been big on holidays, because every day’s a holiday. Everyday is Christmas. Being in a relationship, it’s a constant thing. It’s nice to show your appreciation for somebody you’ve been with on one special day. It’s really an appreciation thing.
Talk about Phazes being inspired by Prince’s Purple Rain.
Prince has been an idol of mine, music-wise. Coming from a musical family, I sang church music growing up. Prince was my first introduction to music. My father used to wake me and my sister up every Sunday morning with a cold rag, blasting Purple Rain. He’s always been an inspiration of mine. The project’s going to be a bunch of different vibes, dope vibes really. We sat down, I’m like “fuck the mold or what you think stuff is supposed to be, let’s just make good music.” Because that’s what we do as a collective. Let’s make some dope records and tell a dope story.
What role does love play in your life?
I’m open to love. I’m not in love, I don’t know if I’ve ever truly been in love. We’re releasing a movie, one of the main reasons we wanted to drop it as a project so we can really put it out and tell that complete story of those phases of a relationship. Meeting a girl, falling in love, and sometimes you fall out of love. Sometimes you can’t stop fucking, so you’ve got to make sure you tell the story right.
Are you single?
Yeah, I’m single. If you’ve got somebody for me, let me know. [laughs]
What do you look for in a woman?
Oh, strong-minded. Creative. Good time. I’m a very spontaneous person. I like to plan stuff, but I also like to wake up and be like “let’s skip states. Let’s go on vacation for the weekend.” I’m a very simple guy. I love the mountains, anything. Always a good time.
You like being outside?
Yeah, I’m from the country. I’m a country guy.
3 things you need in the studio?
Red Bull, some good light, and good energy. I’m a serious worker. We can have a good time, depending on what the record is. Sometimes, let’s pop a bottle, take a couple sips to set the mood right. Other times, the studio for me is more of a serious moment. I love to work with different songwriters and producers, tap into different stories and emotions. The biggest thing for me is making sure that whenever I lay down vocals onto the track, I want to make sure I’m portraying that emotion. I remember where I was the first time… my father wiping a cold rag, I think about Purple Rain. If I wipe my face with a cold rag, that brings me back to that moment.
In NHRA drag racing, my father would always play Calvin Richardson. When I drive to Commerce, I think about that record. We were on vacation the first time I heard one of Usher’s records. I try to duplicate that in every song I make. When somebody hears it, I want to trap them in time. While I’m recording, I try to stay in that space. I try to convey that to everybody in the same room so we can all stay in the moment, in the present.
How much do you miss performing?
Man, it’s wild. At first, oh okay. Shit, we get a break. Alright, cool. Top of quarantine, I had did this pep rally for high school. They were going to bring me out for 12 proms. I was going to do the pep rallies, a high school tour, then come out and do the proms. Having that motivational, “you can do whatever you want to do,” but turn up type of vibe. It gives me such a high. I didn’t realize how much I’d miss it until we had to sit down for a year. This is the longest I’ve ever had to sit down. It’s definitely a part of me that’s not happy at the moment.
Do you have a love for fashion as well?
I do. Fashion or style is an expression of us as people. I know my sister, she’ll say “you be so fucking tacky, but that shit be dope.” It’s about how you feel when you put it on. Sometimes you’ve gotta put it on and be like yo, I feel great. That helps, whatever you’ve got on makes sense. It’s all about feeling good. When you feel good, you do good. A lot of times, if it’s a hard or rough day or I may be in a funk, I’ll get up, go get a haircut, put on something I ain’t worn in a while. Get up and make myself feel good so that when I go out, I can perform up to par. Shit, I feel good. I look good, so I’ve got to do good in this moment. It’s all gotta align.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Shit, something creative. Starting stuff from scratch has always been something I do. I keep busy. I’ll make my calendar so busy: “fuck, I’m tired. I’m doing too much.” But I love to keep my wheels spinning, keep things going. I’d be doing something because I love to create things from scratch.
Best encounter you had with a fan?
The first time a girl fell out when I was performing. She fainted at a high school. The radio station in Savannah, shout out to my boy Big Mike. They’re one of the first stations to give me some real airplay. I remember going out there, we’re walking in the gym with the radio station. I told my manager, “yo, I think somebody saying my name.” I ain’t ever been out here like that, the record’s playing but I don’t know if they really know who I am.
Soon as the record started playing and I started performing, the girl fainted. Dawg, oh shit. To be honest, that’s one of those moments where oh man, I might really be able to do this for real. The best thing you can do as an artist, a creative, or entrepreneurship in general with a product or whatever you’ve got, is to have people accept it, appreciate it, and want it. High school students don’t lie about a damn thing. Me being there with nothing but a microphone in a gym full of people, and the girl falls out, oh man. I’ve got to go hard every time, there’s no option.
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Goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
I’m in a space where me and my team have really worked to a point that we’re not jumping at things, shout out to Loud and Clear and The Blueprint Group. We’re at a place where we can sit down and create and do what we want to do. That’s my biggest thing, I’m not fighting the clock anymore. Starting out, I was fighting the clock like a motherfucker. “We’ve got to do something, I’ve got to do it by this time.” Nah, let’s make something dope. Because every time we’ve done that, I’ve seen progress.
My first single that went to radio across the country was “Somebody,” then we stepped back. Next single which was “Black Man,” was Top 10 in the R&B Apple Music charts. Damn, my next single was the first music video that I’ve had played on a TV network. Shout out to Revolt for having my videos in rotation now. Every record has shown progression. I’m all about progression, taking that time. Making sure that when we sing, we knock it out the park.
Anything else you’d like to let us know?
Phazes is coming out very soon. Make sure you follow me everywhere, @felixxmusic. Make sure you check out the website and subscribe: Felixxmusic.com. My Youtube is Felixxmusic1.