Christina Milian to release So Amazin'
At twenty-four, stunning songstress Christina Milian understands all too well what it takes to be a star. "When it came time for me to work on my third album, SO AMAZIN’, I knew that I needed to record material that had a realness," explains Christina. "I still wanted to make dance tracks, but I also needed to express more of myself at the same time."
Using the blueprint of rhythmic icons Janet Jackson and the late Aaliyah, the singer/songwriter decided that the first step towards musical difference would be finding a team of producers who could musically transfer her inner feelings into outer hotness. It was during this period that Christina first met Cool & Dre.
Artist: Christina Milian
Title: So Amazin'
Release date: 05/16/06
Label: Island Def Jam Records
Single: Say I feat. Young Jeezy
Buy at: Amazon
Listening to Milian’s first single "Say I," you quickly hear that she made the right choice. "I wanted to make a record that would be an inspiration to both me and my fans," Christina says, whose 2002 self-titled debut (which featured the #1 Hot 100 Single "A.M. to P.M.") and last year’s Grammy-nominated IT’S ABOUT TIME were both successful.
From the moment the hypnotic opening of "Say I" begins to soar and Miss Milian wails, "I got the urge to scream out," one realizes that this is a brand new day in dance music. More than just a hit song, "Say I" is an uplifting anthem that also features the southern drawl of celebrated rapper Young Jeezy on the hook. With its orchestrated music, the high energy of "Say I" is pure sonic caffeine.
Having appeared in such popular films as Be Cool (alongside John Travolta, Uma Thurman and Steven Tyler), Love Don’t Cost A Thing and Man Of The House (with Tommy Lee Jones), the young star also has a leading role in the upcoming movie Pulse (out July 14th). After filming, she took a break away from the camera for the months it took her to finish SO AMAZIN’. "I was so committed to this project, making it my number one priority," Christina recalls. "It was important that I be focused on music, so while I was working I passed on other films and reading scripts. It was more important that I make a hot album." Without a doubt, she has succeeded.
"I knew from the when I started working with Cool & Dre that I had found something special," Christina says of the Florida duo that have constructed hit singles for 50 Cent and The Game. "Our relationship was so smooth, Cool & Dre wound up producing the entire record, something that is rare these days." In fact, it was Antonio “LA” Reid who suggested she work with Cool & Dre, while still allowing Christina space to be herself.
Traveling down south to Florida’s Circle House Studios, the producers talked to Christina for hours. "It was really about us getting to know each other," says Cool. "Learning about her likes and dislikes, as well as a recent break-up that was bothering her. We really dug her vibe. From day one, we knew Christina was special. In the first few days we knocked out four songs."
Falling in love with Miami, there were also a few chance encounters that lead to wonderful collaborations. "We were working on a song called “Who’s Gonna Ride,”when Dre ran into Three Six Mafia in the hallway. The song has a kind of Dirty South feel, so we just asked them if they wanted to be down."
The song "Gonna Tell Everybody," opens with a soothing piano and is laced with teardrop-laced lyrics about the aftermath of heartbreak. "I moved on," she declares at the end of the slow song. "I just felt a need to express myself on “Gonna Tell Everybody.” It was truly about thinking that I had something good, what happens when it’s over, and going forward with my life. When I had conversations with Cool & Dre, that relationship was one thing that kept coming up. I knew it was going to be something I needed to get off my chest."
A songwriter since her teen years, Milian has penned hit tracks for Jennifer Lopez ("Play") and herself, but it wasn’t until the SO AMAZIN’ sessions that she felt any real growth. "Dre told me, ‘there are no rules.’ That’s all he said, but believe me, it was the best advice," Christina laughs. "Sometimes things can be so simple, you don’t know why you never thought of it before."
Taking us higher, the title track "Amazin’” is a slice of booming club life. With its bouncy flow that feels electro-sleek and street corner grimy at the same time, "Amazin’" lives up to its title. "I think this is the sexist song on the record," says Christina. "I can’t wait until we make a video for that one."
Proudly displaying the various sides of her personality, SO AMAZIN’ proves that singer Christina Milian is ready to be taken seriously as an artist. Welcome to the next level.
Christina Milian: So Amazin’ International Interview
1.Tell us about your first single “Say I” and how it was working with Young Jeezy.
My first single “Say I” is obviously one of my favorites, being that it is my first single. A lot of people didn’t realize it’s more of an inspirational, motivational record, if you listen to the lyrics it’s saying “I’m gonna make it happen, I’m gonna make a way.” It just kinda gives anybody, whether it be female or male, hope that whatever your situation may be, whether it be something like a relationship, whether it be finances, you want a job, a goal, it’s saying that “I can do it, I can make it happen.” Not necessarily me, but that person, hahaha.
Having Young Jeezy on the record means a lot to me because, honestly this single “Say I” is way more an urban record than anything I’ve ever done. It’s very street, and of course Young Jeezy’s a street rapper, he speaks for the streets. Being that I’m going on a more urban level, I felt that it was necessary to cast somebody hard like him, and on top of that he’s just hot, he’s all over the radio, he’s everywhere. So I’m really happy Jeezy’s a part of the record. His message that he left on the song also was a very real message. It pertained to his life.
2.Tell us about your new album “So Amazin'.” Can you give us a description track by track of the songs on this album?
I’ll start from the record “Twisted.” Haha, “Twisted” is a record kinda when you like somebody so much they got you messed up. That’s what that record’s about. Lyrically it’s about feelin some dude so much it’s like “I can’t even go about my day in a normal way. So lyrically that’s what that record is about. That record is very much along the same vibe as “Say I,” where “Say I” is just like a huge record where the music is just big and the hook is just big and you can’t help but sing that hook to “Twisted.” It’s just like “Say I” to me. Cool & Dre produced that record as well, and its got an urban vibe to it. It’s one of my favorites, it’s one of the first records that I recorded on this album.
My song “Amazin” which is actually the title of the album “So Amazin” is featuring Dre from Cool & Dre. It’s going along the same vibe as the records I’ve done in the past, where it’s more of a performance record. It’s just really street and sexy. I’m kinda rhyming in it too, by the 3rd verse I got a lil rhyme. I’m not saying too much except for, you know, when you meet a guy in a club or something like that, it’s kinda like I’m taking you back with me and we’re hanging out together. So that’s what that song is about, it’s kinda me being forward to a guy. It’s a back and forth thing that we got going on in that record. It’s one of my favorites. I think that’s gonna be a hot, really really hot track, in the clubs especially.
The next song I’m gonna talk about is a song called “My Love it Goes On.” “My Love it Goes On” is probably one of my most favorite records just because of the vibe of the record. Something about the feeling, every time I listen to it and when I was writing the record. It just overcomes you, it just feels good, it’s one of those type of records. It’s a mid-tempo record. Actually if I haven’t said this, the whole entire album is very much true to my life, so each record is pertaining to a different part of my life, especially with relationships. Starting from the beginning of the record, when I first started writing, I was dealing with a break up, so a lot of the records that I was writing had to deal with that, and that’s what I could relate to at the moment. Records like “My Love it Goes On” is kinda the branch where you see the page turning. I turn a new leaf with a record like that one. You see the change in “So Amazin” where life was just really coming into place. I was finally becoming the woman that I feel that I am right now. Also, I was leaving old love behind and learning about new types of love. Which is great, whether it be life, and also the dating scene is really nice, and that’s what “My Love it Goes On” is about.
The next song I’m gonna talk about is a song called “Gonna Tell Everybody.” “Gonna Tell Everybody” is a huge song, in the first place. Hahaha. Again produced by Cole and Dre. We kinda took the melody of Bone Thugs and Harmony (singing) “and I’m gonna miss everybody and I’m gonna miss everybody.” And twisted that into “and I’m gonna tell everybody.” And we twisted that a little with the lyrics. With that record, that’s what I was dealing with, with my little breakup that I was going through. I think it’s just one of the final songs that just helped me get it all out. I was really feelin it. The record is talking about a breakup, but it's like getting over it. By the second verse you hear me talking about like “I know that you regret it” hahaha, “I know that you’ll regret it because I was a great girl to you and at the end of all of this I’m just gonna ride out with my girlfriends and enjoy my life and I’ve moved on.” So that’s what the record “Gonna Tell Everybody” is about. It’s one of my favorites, it’s a huge ballad to me. It’s also got a real hip hop vibe to it, cuz you can still move to the record.
“Who’s Gonna Ride” is one of my favorites, haha okay! Every song is my favorite. “Who’s Gonna Ride,” that one’s dope. I’ll say it’s a little bit more street and gangster, I really got kinda raw with the lyrics on that record. Of course it definitely helps to work with Cool & Dre, when it comes to writing, cuz they mostly work with hip hop artists. So when you’re dealing with hip hop artists, they write about real things and what’s going on in their life and they’re just not afraid to say anything. I think when I wrote “Who’s Gonna Ride” with Dre, I think that at that point I kinda just let my guard down and said let’s just go for it, and let’s just be real. That one’s also pertaining to a breakup that I went through. But not only that, its kinda, not necessarily pointing the finger, but you know with that record I’m dealing with the girls that come around and try to take your man. Or the groupie girls that are around, paying attention to the guys on TV that only hang out with them for those reasons. That’s kinda what I’m talking about on the second verse. I did have to go there, yes I did. But anybody that feels guilt about it, it’s just because maybe they’re living that kind of lifestyle, haha. But I’m not trying to be mean or anything. It was definitely a therapeutic record for me to just write my feelings and just be real. So that record is one of my favorites and that’s featuring Lil Wayne and Three 6 Mafia. It’s really hot and its got more of a southern vibe to it, especially with the guys on it.
“She Don’t Know” is more of a Latina record; it has more of a Latin vibe to it. A lot of people don’t know that I’m Cuban. I wanted to incorporate on this album this time a Spanish-speaking record. It’s a little bit more Spanglish, I’d say, I flip flop between Spanish and English on the record. That record is about dealing with a girl who basically, her and a guy get together and they end up falling in love. But unfortunately the guy has a girlfriend, and it’s saying that the girlfriend doesn’t know that the two of them are in love and that he’s moved on. So that’s what the record is about. It’s very like, when you watch a Latin soap opera, its got that very dramatic feel to it. We definitely wanted that to come across in that record. It’s got a beautiful Spanish guitar on it. It’s just beautiful, so another nice record.
The record “Fire” aka “Hot Boyz” is another hot record. Its got more of a club vibe to it. I’m just letting a dude know…as you could see, obviously from my descriptions, I’m very forward I guess, towards guys, hahaha. Cuz on this record I’m very confident and on that particular record with hot boyz, I’m telling the guy like “yo I’m a hot girl I’m feelin you, you a hot boy, I think we should get together. So that’s another hot record. Its got a dope bounce to it. That’ll be a hot one for the streets and for the club and for performance.
“Foolin” is another really hot record. Oh my goodness…there’s a sample it in that goes (singing) “if you’re foolin, only foolin.” It’s taken from an old record. When I first heard that record, it was one of the first ones I was working on, I just knew, I had to be unique about what I wrote about. So I wrote the record, its called “Foolin” aka “Mr. Big.” It’s dealing with an ex boyfriend of mine, he would know who he is cuz I call him Mr. Big, haha. Unfortunately, the ex boyfriend at times isn’t over me, but he’s got a girlfriend. On the record I’m just speaking on the fact that “yo, you got your girl, why you tryin to fool me?” there are moments in the song where the guy he’s trying to get at her and she almost falls for it, but then she remembers, “I’m not gonna be the one you take out to dinner or the movies, you’re not gonna do all that stuff, it’ll end up just being a quick fling. That’s what the record is about, it’s all “Foolin” and it’s a big record, it’s one of my favorites.
3.What artists and producers did you work with?
The producers of the album are Cool & Dre, they produced the majority of the album. The artists that I got to work with are Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, and Three 6 Mafia, and Dre from Cool and Dre.
4.How was it working with Cool & Dre?
I met Cool & and Dre in Miami. It was actually set up through LA Reid. He thought it would be a great idea for us to work together. I ended up working with them as the first people to start off the album. I was originally supposed to working with several different music producers. But the chemistry that we had automatically the first week was just so instant and real that I felt that I couldn’t get a better vibe with anybody else other than them. So I had asked the label after the first week, we had come up with three songs already in a week, “can I continue to work with them? And would they be willing to?” At the same time they’re calling their managers saying “we really wanna work with her, if she’s got any time, we’d love to work with her.” It was just perfect connection. It was just real. Working with them just felt so original. It didn’t feel contrived; it didn’t feel like I was just trying to write records for the radio. It just felt like “you know what, there are no rules here, just write about everything, about your life and concentrate on you doing you. I’m just really happy I got the time to work with them. We did the album within a three month period of time in Miami. I had a ball, we had a great time. It was a new day every time I got to work with them.
5.What is the concept of the “Say I” video?
The concept of the video “Say I” is more of a performance video. I definitely wanted to keep it street and not do so much of the concept situation like I did in the past with “Dip it Low” I was rolling around in paint... “AM to PM” I’m like sneaking out of the house. This time around I just wanted to keep it simple and let it be more about beauty and just in more of a real situation. We actually shot it in the middle of the LA Basin and Dam, underneath the bridge. Tagging is a big part of…actually a couple of my friends and my sisters, their boyfriends do tagging and graffiti, but in the form of art, not necessarily in an ugly way or on top of buildings or in an illegal way. But the LA Basin and Dam is a nice place where you can go and do it. I kinda wanted that to be the background, where it still felt street but at the same time I was able to come across and convey the message of Say I and the video and not do too much storytelling or acting. It’s just me and several different hot looks, underneath the dam, hanging out with my sisters. My sisters are in the video, as well my dogs, and my sisters’ boyfriends. I had a couple friends come by, which was nice. I just wanted to finally just show in a music video, just a real situation for me, and just let people know that I’m a real person. Of course it is a little glamorized in the music video in all cases, but it’s just a little bit more simple and laid back. It’s a really beautiful video. At the end of the video, of course we have Young Jeezy. We got the big larger than life scene on top of a bridge, and it’s nighttime. He does his scene and my scene in front of a bunch of hot hot cars. Lamborghinis, Escalades, like the real big hip hop videos, I wanted to kind of have that. Then of course the big dance scene cuz everyone’s gotta dance in a video.
6.What was the hardest song to write on your new album?
The hardest song for me to write on this new album was probably “Who’s gonna ride.” I wouldn’t necessarily say it was hard because cuz of the lyrics, I wasn’t stuck or anything like that. The reason it was so hard was because it was taking a step out of what I know. What I usually know is being safe. So it was a little bit different for me to just be real and actually state my true feelings. When I was writing the lyrics, I was still a little unsure. I still did take a couple lyrics out that I felt was a little too harsh. But that was probably the most difficult of all of them. But it ended up being a really hot record.
7.What was the biggest obstacle with recording your new album?
The biggest obstacle with recording my new album was probably taking a step forward and writing in a different way. I’m so used to writing and having rules as far as hook, verse, make the next verse sound just like the first verse and the same melody. The new obstacle for me was actually a good one, where it was the no rules theory. It was just, you know what? I can change up the melody I can do different things. Sometimes I might get stuck but wait half an hour and it’ll come to you and end up being hot. So that’s probably my biggest obstacle, just stepping away from doing the usual that I know and stepping into something new. Once I got past all that, it was just easy. With flying colors, I started writing all the records.
8.When you write your songs, do they take a very long time or do they usually just come very quick to you?
When I’m writing records, it varies. Sometimes its different, it depends on what I’m writing about, what’s going on in my life, if it pertains to that exact moment. Sometimes its quick, sometimes it can take an hour to write an entire record. Sometimes its 2, 3 hours, but it doesn’t take any longer than that in most cases. Sometimes we’ll just have fun, we’ll be tired in the middle of the night and we’ll just write one verse and a hook. Then say, “ok, put down a little scratch vocal and we’ll finish writing it tomorrow.” So we kinda leave it for different times. We just don’t wanna get tired of doing it or make it like a job. That’s when it gets annoying or boring.
9.How do you feel your new album compares to your last one?
I think this new album and those albums, not to discredit them, but I think the comparison is on a whole different level. This is 10 steps above anything that I’ve ever done. My first album, I definitely will say I’m very proud of it, I loved that album. It was a different type of music though at the time. It was more pop, it was just when I first started to write, I was only 18 years old. I think I wrote some great songs off that first album, and I wrote things that I could relate to at that time. I think this time around, now I can be considered more of an artist, a real artist where I am more lyrically more real as an artist. I think true artists are like Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige, where they paint a picture for you. I think I was able to paint a picture with this album. Compared to maybe the “It’s about Time” album, sometimes you might be jumping around, you might get a little confused. One second its urban and sexy, next thing you hear is a pop song, and its fun. You get a little confused. I think this one’s a little more consistent throughout the entire album. You get led down the whole way, you kinda get to see my growth through one album. I probably would say that’s the difference right now. It’s just so much more real and urban and street.
10.Did you spend more time in the studio for this album?
For this album, I spent probably less time than I spent on any album. We were only in the studio for 3 and half months. Everyday it didn’t even feel like I was working in a music studio. It was just a lot of fun. Usually in most cases it’s taken me anywhere between six months to a year to work on the other albums. This one, for being what it was, working with one group of producers for 3 months was the perfect amount of time. We probably would’ve gotten it done even sooner if it wasn’t that we were having so much fun in between time, haha. But it was pretty quickly done, it was nice.
11.If you had to choose between acting and being a musician, which would you pick and why?
If I had to pick between acting and music, it’s a hard choice because it would be an unfair choice. But honestly, music is my first passion. It’s my passion forreal. You have to passionate about music if you’re gonna be in this business. Because it’s the business side of it it’s a lot of work. To me, I love writing, I love music, I love being able to perform, travel the work, and expressing myself through music. So I would probably say music would be my first choice.
12.What do you think is the biggest thing that you’ve had to sacrifice for your career?
The biggest thing I’ve had to sacrifice for my career is probably time spent away from my family. But I’ve found within the last two years, I’ve found it a lot easier to make it my personal life be involved in my career. I have my family travel with me, my sisters they’re now older; they’re like 18, 19 years old now. When they were in high school it was hard cuz they were in school and I was away forever. I was always working so hard, for two years I was just never home. That was probably my “kind of a problem” in the past but I’ve made it a good thing now. If I’m gonna travel, I make the time to make sure if I’m going to Japan I’ll have two days to have the day off so I could just go have fun and have a good time. There’s no way I’m going to go to all these countries anymore and just work there and see the hotel and wherever I gotta go, rather than try the food and go shopping, and do different things like that. I’m making more time for that right now and its no longer a problem, I feel. My family is willing to travel and have fun with me so it all works out.
13.What is the hardest thing about balancing your acting and music career?
The hardest thing about balancing your acting and music career I’d say is, when it comes to doing a film, you do have to have complete concentration when it comes down to playing a role as a character. You really have to leave Hollywood and the music and all that stuff behind because you’re becoming a totally different person. You’re no longer yourself. As an actress I pay attention to movies a lot. Whenever I see a musician playing a role sometimes you notice the distraction that maybe the music, everything, there was a lot going on in their life that they weren’t paying attention to the acting. Every time I do a film I pay close attention to myself and I like to get better each time and it’s hard to balance the music whenever I’m doing a movie. So that’s probably the hardest thing about it, but otherwise we make it work. Somehow we make it all work, it’s a good thing to have both.
14.Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Where do I see myself 5 years from now? Let’s see, it’s been 5 years in the making almost, maybe four. In five years, I’m hoping to see three more albums down the line, even bigger tours, bigger movies. I think this probably is the one album that’s gonna really jumpstart what my complete goal has always been. I think its gonna reach that with this album right now. So in five year, I’ll be 30 years old, so I dunno hahahaha. Traveling more? I have no idea. Right now I’m set up thinking about this year and I’m living in the moment right now.
15.If there was one piece of advice that you could give to someone pursuing a career in music or acting, what would it be?
My piece of advice, if anyone wanted to pursue music or acting, I would definitely suggest having good people around you. It keeps you humble and it keeps you normal. Good people around you will constantly give you good criticism, stuff that will help you out. Being that I’ve got people like my mom and sisters around me, it keeps me humble and on top of that it keeps me working hard. They watch me and they help me whenever I’m working. They give me suggestions, and there’s nothing wrong with a little corrections and stuff like that, it’s all there to help you out. So if you can get some good people around you, it’s the most important thing to me. Family.
16.Who are you most thankful to for getting this far?
I’m the most thankful of course to God first. I really believe and I know that’s the reason why I’m here today. I know he definitely appointed my mother, haha to make all of this happen and to help me out. So I say God first, and my mother second.
17.What has been the most rewarding thing from this career?
The most rewarding thing in my career has been meeting the people that I have and traveling. I really just can’t believe where I am in life right now and to know that I have a dream and I’m able to achieve it. Just my every day I think is a reward and being able to do what I do and being so fortunate and so blessed. I have great people around me and every day is a learning experience. It’s a rewarding day every day.
18.What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not in the studio or promoting?
My most favorite thing to do when I’m not working is watch TV. I am addicted to Tivo. I watch a lot of reality shows. That really is my favorite thing to do. Watch TV and hang out on the couch. I usually hang out with my sisters on the couch and watch TV. We’ll cook up some food in the house. Also, one of my hobbies is taking pictures, I always love taking pictures. I’m constantly on my computer, like downloading pictures all the time and trying to make little movies out of my pictures.
19.Do you have any superstitious rituals before performing?
I have no superstitions. One ritual, I always say a prayer with my dancers or my band and everybody right before I go on stage. Yeah it’s pretty simple. That’s about it; it worked so far, every time.
20.Do you wish to collaborate with any other artists in the future?
As far as collaborations, I would really love to do a collaboration with someone like a Mary J. Blige. I’ve always been a big fan of Janet, so that’s been a lifetime dream of mine. Or Jennifer Lopez. I’ve always wanted to do something with a female artist. So any of those artists would be amazing. I’ve never had anyone in mind within the last year, but it’s always been a Janet, Mary J. Blige, JLo kind of thing.
21.Any message to your international fans?
To all my international fans, I just wanna thank you. You guys have been so supportive, since day one. We’re talking all the way back since 2000, 2001. You guys connected with me from the beginning, and I did not forget that. I just wanna thank you and I love you guys. I’m really looking forward to this new album and I hope you guys enjoy it. It’s on a whole other level. I’ve read your fan letters and I think this is something that we’ve all been waiting for. I’m hoping you guys enjoy it just as much as I enjoyed making it.
So Amazin' Tracklisting
Say I featuring Young Jeezy
Gonna Tell Everybody
Who's Gonna Ride featuring Three 6 Mafia
So Amazin featuring Dre
Hot Boy featuring Dre
My Lovin' Goes
Just A Little Bit
Y'all Ain't Nuthin'
She Don't Know
"So Amazin'" by Christina Milian - release date: 05/16/06..