For some, “Missing You” is an introduction to Ro’Sean Langhum. To others, the fourteen-track LP is simply a treat and addition to their existing fix of the multi-talented instrumentalist, producer and singer-songwriter. Packed with unique musical gifts such as “abandoning the expected” and “making the song cry,” the sophomore album is an innovative and refreshing peek into his journey. #MissingYou2013 has been retweeted for months and plastered across our timelines as a trending topic. Complimenting the oxymoronic setting of the upscale, yet casual Houston “Grand Lux Cafe” is Mr. Langhum himself, who is laid back, yet alert. He is sporting a black Adidas t-shirt with a brightly colored logo with matching shoes and dark denim jeans. To mark his new album, Ro’Sean Langhum talks to the Forward Times about the inspiration and release of “Missing You” over ceviche and iced tea!
Chelsea White: When did you begin recording “Missing You?” Was it a compilation of tracks that you had been recording for a while or did you begin recording with the intention of completing an album?
Ro’Sean Langhum: It’s funny that you ask that because the majority of these songs on the album were songs that I had been submitting for sale to other artists. I do a lot of writing and producing to find placement for these songs and a lot of these songs I had in mind for other artists. Being in the industry, sometimes things don’t move the way you want them to and I felt strongly about these songs. So I decided to put these songs together to make them a body of work. Going back and listening to the references really made me laugh because some songs had about four or five different references and I think I actually started the album in 2010 or 2011. Some of the songs are three or four years old. I was always worried about that. I didn’t want my music to become dated.
CW: When you recorded, arranged and wrote the songs for “Missing You,” was it something that was a part of your regular routine, like a fixed schedule, or was it something that truly stemmed from inspiration?
RL: It was a combination of both. I knew in my mind that I wanted to release an album and I was supposed to release it last year. Then, I finally put my foot down and gave myself a deadline. I respond well to pressure and I put pressure on myself to get it done. A lot of those songs, like “Don’t Say That,” featuring Caretta Bell and “My Only Question,” featuring Marium Echo, those songs happened like the last week that I was mixing and mastering. Once I hit that stream of that point of comfortability, a lot of great things started happening and that was the product of that.
CW: Speaking of the engineering process, I know that some people are familiar with Ro’Sean as a producer and some are being introduced to Ro’Sean the artist, although being a producer is clearly being an artist as well. Did you produce every track on this album?
RL: Yes I did. I had some influence, but it was mainly me. I really wanted to take a departure from that but I always end up producing everything.
CW: Because no one can tell your story quite like you can?
RL: Well, sort of. I actually think that sometimes, the most memorable songs come from collaborations. Well, that’s not necessarily true either. I think that because I do so much, as an instrumentalist, a vocalist and a producer, sometimes you become hands on and it’s hard to let go of that. I’m really working to get away from that, just because of the different type of beauty that you can gain from working with other artists.
CW: While on the subject of collaborations, one of my absolute favorite tracks on the album is “My Only Question,” featuring Marium Echo. That really showed your rhythmic play. You have a gift of abandoning the expected. And you do that a lot in this album. As far as rhythmic play is concerned, is it something that is effortless for you or do you make a conscious effort to always do something interesting?
RL: I think it’s the instrumentalist part of me sticking out and wanting to phrase things in a fresher way, which ends up becoming clever. I want to try to make the song memorable and make the song cry. Rhythm gives melody shape and those are things that we remember.
CW: Besides the collaborations on this album, are there any collaborations that you are looking forward to in the future?
RL: I would honestly like to do more work with Houston rappers, simply because, I want to re-define “Houston music.” I really believe that Houston has a lot of great talent. I want to collaborate with other writers here. I’m such a fan of R&B and I think that the marriage between Hip-Hop and R&B is classic. I really long for something like that and to be a part of that so that the expectancy can be broadened.
CW: A lot of people don’t know that this is actually your sophomore album. In what ways do you think that you’ve grown as an artist and as a person since your first album?
RL: I’ve definitely become very experimental as a writer. I’ve learned how rhythm keeps people interested. From a melodic standpoint, I’ve paid attention to a lot more things sonically. I’ve learned a lot of things as far as mixing and how mixing is a statement in itself. I grew all the way around and like I said, I spent a lot of time submitting music to other artists and I had to imagine myself in their shoes and how to make the songs accessible to them.
CW: I know that you mentioned that a lot of the songs that you recorded were originally intended for sale to other artists, but did they stem from personal experiences or others’ experiences? Or was it something that happened imaginatively upon hearing the music?
RL: A combination of both. It’s kind of gumbo of things. As a writer, I am very imaginative. A lot of people will ask me things like “Who are you singing to?” or “Who are you singing about?” And I will say, “I have no clue.” And some of those songs did tie in with personal experiences. Like “Virtuous One,” which featured Zin. That was a song that I wrote on the airplane. It was kind of a reckoning for me. I might have been praying at the time and I was just saying how much I desired someone who is virtuous. So I was speaking from a personal standpoint on that record. And the Caretta Bell duet, “Don’t Say That,” I wrote from an imaginary perspective. So it’s a mix between personal abstract experiences and the imagination.
CW: What a safe answer! So he’s not spilling on who he’s missing in 2013! I tried guys!
CW: Is it difficult to separate Ro’Sean the artist from Ro’Sean the writer/producer?
RL: No distinction is needed. My writing and my production are my art. That’s what makes me an “art creator.”
CW: I had the pleasure to attend the release party and that was a great look. The Red Cat Jazz Cafe was packed and everyone was vibing and enjoying the music. How have people responded to “Missing You” thus far?
RL: Thank you. I truly have gained new fans. I’ve actually had other artists, like Tekai Hicks, who sent me a text message and was ecstatic about the album. She said that it was music that she could ride with and listen to. And that was very humbling. I long for the days of not skipping past songs on the album. I’ve always said to myself that I don’t want album fillers. I want to do my best. It’s been surprisingly cool and people who I didn’t even know were listening tweet me, Facebook message, call or send a text with positive feedback. I think that I’ve been a pleasant surprise to some people and that’s very humbling and fulfilling because I really poured my heart and soul into this record and it’s doing what I need it to do.
CW: What’s next regarding promotion for “Missing You?”
RL: I’m going to do some more shows and I have some radio DJs that I’m getting the record to.
CW: That’s awesome and what’s next for Ro’Sean?
RL: I’m currently working on a video for the first single, which is “Love Was Not Enough.” I’m also working out a possible Asian tour in Shanghai for cross marketing.
For more info on Ro’Sean Langhum, visit his website at www.roseanlanghum.com. Missing You is available for download in all online stores.