Meet Christian Rich - a brotherly duo hailing from Chicago with multiple talents that set out to conquer the music industry. Luckily, Kehinde and Taiwo Hassan are indeed bringing some uniquely freshness to the table. Due to heavy R&B, Electronica and Pop elements on their mixtape The Decadence, it becomes obvious that Christian Rich indeed offers a new type of recording assortment. As their versatile sound indicates they draw their musical inspiration from a diverse set of influences as well as real life experiences. Their resume also includes production work for the likes of Lil Kim, Lupe Fiasco and GLC among others. Shae Haley, one-third of super group N*E*R*D took notice, and immediately became their manager. We sat down with the brothers to discuss their talked about the beginning in the industry, the music scene in their hometown and their future plans among others. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
First and foremost, thanks for your time. Could you introduce yourselves to our readers and maybe delve into the meaning behind your name?
We go by Christian Rich. Christian is the main vocalist/producer/writer for our pop group, Rich is also the producer/writer too. We DJ as well with the same name. We are part of the Neptunes/N*E*R*D family. We came up with the name Christian Rich from the luxury brand Christian Dior. We wanted a name that would describe the Good Life, yet displayed our love for fashion. Actually, the first name that came to mind was Christian Rich and we ran with it.
Your style seems pretty versatile. We detect lots of R&B elements as well as Electronica, Pop among others in your music. Mind if you could give us a more detailed description of your sound and tell us where you draw inspiration from?
Yeah, our sound is a collection of great melodies and ideas from Pop, Electronica, R&B, Hip Hop, Japp etc. We really study music to a "T" - trying to figure out why the audience likes certain records and dislikes others. Our sound for Christian Rich as a group is real Pop music. We try to keep everything at a high tempo. Now, the stuff we make at home for us to listen to, resembles more to Bossa Nova or like Janelle Monáe's craft, The Bird And The Bees. But we won't release that stuff just yet.
How did you get into the music game and what made you decide to go with your unique sound?
We got into the game just grinding. We kept making beats and doing hooks until someone eventually said "Yes" after a like thousand "Nos". The first person to really bless us with an opportunity was LIl' Kim with the record "Get In Touch With Us". We made that track in like an hour, sent it to New York and got a check the following week. From there we knew, if we focused, we could do a lot with this music. We didn't intend to have an unique sound. One thing about the music industry is that a unique sound is hard to come by. Ask all the greats, they'll tell you. But as we made beats, we thought they were normal sounds - but the people disagreed. They referred to it as futuristic, like 2090. So we kept creating till people understood the sound.
How did your excellent mixtape The Decadence become reality? What's the story behind it?
Honestly, The Decadence took us years to record. We kept creating and scraping records over the years. As we gained music industry friends, we could record records with them and use the best material. The Decadence was a concept we thought about back in 2007. Once we went back to New York, we started to put the records together and the rest is history.
You have a rich history of decent production work on your resume. Which artists have benefited from your production-skills so far?
Decent? (laughs) Well, I think everyone benefitted as we did. Lil' Kim did 3 million records with that album. The Clipse-record we done, got everyone a gold plaque, GLC for the internet love and it helped Chicago as far as staying as a community. We gave Lupe the best record on his album. So everyone gained the intended purpose of our collaboration.
Sounds good! So how do you evaluate the process of producer becoming recording artist?
I believe all producer or composers have the ability to be a recording artist. As a matter of fact, it's a mental switch in your head that has to happen. Once you decide you can do it, all the ideas you always had just come to light. To create a beat you have to have an idea what kind of lyrics would fit the song. So with that thought process you are already in artist mode.
You referred to Chicago as a community. Fellow Chicagoan Kanye West also started out as a producer and succeeded in becoming a bonafide international superstar. How do you see the music scene in your hometown? Lots of prominent Rap artist hail from Windy City as well know. How exactly was their impact on Chi-Town and how do you see the energy in other genres stemming from Chicago?
The music scene in Chicago is much better than when we came up, It's much more diverse and the musical equipment out these days allow for cheaper and time effective ways to express yourself. Chicago has really great music of all genres. We have so many undiscovered singers, producers, DJs, rappers, band players and bands in general. But as we see thing are changing for the better. Kanye, Smashing Pumpkins, Fallout Boys, Common and Lupe made the city have confidence. It's such a great feeling that the best of the best came from Chicago.
We are definitely eager to hear more music from Windy City. Your manager Shae, from N*E*R*D, is from Virginia. Obviously, a co-sign from such a renowned act must have lots of advantages, that you clearly deserve. How did you connect with him?
We have a mutual friend who put us in touch with Shae. We flew to Virginia, spoke about our dreams and from there Shae was locked woth Christian Rich.
Legend has it that you guys have lived in Africa for a few years. This must have had a significant influence on your music, rite?
We lived in Nigeria for four years. This experience left a great musical mark. We learned about so many different drums and melodies. We rarely heard American music so we really immersed ourselves in Nigerian music. Our mother had a great taste in music, so when we did hear, let' say Western Music, it was always, Sade, Michael Jackson, UB40 or Phil Collins.
Definitely a diverse set of influences. Your activities are diverse as well. You recently mentioned that you are into designing furnitures as well. Please tell us a little bit about it and do you have any other ventures coming up?
We won't delve too deep into that actual project but we started out as designers before doing music. So we always knew we wanted to incorporate designing with music once we had the chance. We are designing some custom skateboards as well with a few companies. There are a lot of unique projects that we are getting into that should describe us people.
What are the next steps for Christian Rich?
Christian Rich is a brand. So we do what brands do. We keep making new products for consumers. We have a few artist and things we want the world to see. So keep checking on us.
Any last words?
Make sure you check us out on iTunes supporting our music. But lastly, just enjoy the music. We love making the fans and supporters happy.