Vedo | Bringing Back That Soulful R&B We All Need

Written by

Photo courtesy of New Wav Music Group

Photo courtesy of New Wav Music Group

Vedo is here to make sure real R&B is alive and well. Hailing from Michigan, the singer-songwriter prides himself in provoking an emotional and physical response from his music, creating soulful, heartfelt ballads filled with love, romance, and everything in between. Currently an entrepreneur and label owner to New Wav Music Group, Vedo prides himself in being his own brand.

Vedo is always full of life—the type of guy who goes after the prize. He states, “I like to create the opportunity. Every opportunity may not be perfect, but I seize the moment and make the moment perfect.”

Beyond his time on Season 4 of NBC’s The Voice, which included catching the attention of the legendary Usher, Vedo is best known for his standout V-mixes, posting signature covers on his Youtube channel. Unleashing his breakout single “4 Walls” in 2015, Vedo has since followed up with even more R&B bangers, including “You Got It” which received a standout remix from Ty Dolla $ign and a second remix which featured Young Dolph and Money Man.

Flaunt caught up with Vedo via Zoom to discuss his upbringing in Michigan, how Atlanta changed his life, doing The Voice, the inspo behind For You, “You Got It” going Gold, his V-mixes, fatherhood, and more!

You’re from Michigan, then moved to Atlanta at 14. How was it growing up?

Michigan was really rough, a rough childhood to say the least but I can honestly say it molded me into the man I am today. It instilled all the qualities I have now. Growing up in Michigan was a dog-eat-dog world. You have to get it out the mud, no matter how young you are. Whatever it is, you have to get it like everybody else. My mom raised me and 2 brothers, we weren’t fortunate to have everything other kids had. We had to make do. We had to live with what we had. It wasn’t hard because at the end of the day, me and my brothers had each other. My mom did everything in her power to make sure our childhood was the best it could be. 

Moving to Atlanta at 14 was the change I needed. I was getting into trouble back home, I got locked up and ran with the wrong crowds. My mom got scared for my future as a young black man and she called my dad. My dad said “alright, I’m going to come get him.” My mama sent me off with my dad, the best thing that could’ve happened to me. Atlanta not only gave me my start in music, it changed my life. 

How did it change your life?

It was a change of scenery. Moving down here, everything looked so different. Everybody dressed differently, the way people carried themselves was different. In Atlanta, to be something in life, the opportunities were in front of me. Back home in Michigan, you didn’t get opportunities knocking at your door so you would go with the flow. Atlanta gave me opportunity time after time after time, it was up to me to really seize that moment. I was able to make new friends who weren’t street guys, who weren’t running the streets, selling drugs or toting guns. It was easy for me not to have to fall back into the life I lived in Michigan. The guys I hung out with in Atlanta growing up were all kids who went to school, had fun, played football. 

Biggest influences coming up?

I love The Temptations. From age 10 to now, I still watch the movie and I’m 27 years old. [laughs] Every now and then I need that fix. A huge Stevie Wonder fan. Usher because he’s closest to what I wanted to be as an artist, then Chris Brown came along and he became one as well. Life period, my dad, my mom, rest in peace. They exuded what a real man and real strong woman were. With my girl now, she exudes the same qualities as my mom: a strong black woman. That makes me want to get up every day and be the best that I can be. You got this woman besides you who’s going through stuff every day and she doesn’t give up, what’s your excuse? 

At what point did you realize this music thing was for real?

At 17 years old. I got paid for my first show, $250 bucks. Oh man, if I keep doing these shows over and over, I could buy what I want. I’ll eventually start to get paid more. There’s actually some money to be made, even though it’s only a little bit of money in the beginning. I had aspirations to make way more than that per show. Let me dig deeper and work harder so people can pay me $1000s next time. It was rough before then: I didn’t have a job, no money coming in. I didn’t know what I was going to do. 

Biggest takeaway from The Voice?

To trust myself in all aspects of life, especially music. Creatives tend to get in their heads a lot, especially when you perform live. Usher pulled me out of it, he said “the moment you grab the mic and hit the stage, you have to have 100% complete trust in yourself. When you’re in the moment, you can’t think about what you’re about to do next. You have to do it.” Trusting myself, listening to your gut. Usually, the first thing that comes to mind is the answer to your question. 

For You is out now! How are you feeling?

I’m feeling great. Something told me the singles from this album would be it. I’ve always had that doubt in my mind: okay if it’s not the one, I got 10 more ready to go. I’m on a natural high. The amount of albums I’ve sold, the amount of singles I’ve sold, I went Gold independently without a major label, without a major push, without a machine. Getting that Gold certification hits different. You really can say me and my team did this independently. “You Got It” was the one. I didn’t know it’d take off this soon, but I figured it’d resonate with people very very well.

Bring us back to when you created “You Got It.”

You Got It” was one of the last songs I did on the album. My producer homie sent the beat and I instantly loved it. I needed a song that uplifted women and encouraged women on the album. At the time getting ready to release the album, it’s this big deal about women’s empowerment. I wanted something to go hand in hand with the movement and be able to touch people. I uploaded the beat to Protools and I started freestyling. I freestyled 60% of the song, from the first verse through the pre-hook. I knew this song had to be along the lines of bossing up, encouraging people to fix your credit. Real motivational, but not corny at the same time. 

Who is For You for?

I wanted everyone who listens to feel like it’s for them. I leave it open for you to think about it, for you to make your own interpretation. It could be a random guy sending the album to his girlfriend: “hey this album is for you. When I hear this album, I think of you.” I wanted to leave it broad and leave it open because the songs are so relatable, it could be for anybody. 

“Best Sex Ever” is so intimate, talk about bringing back that soulful R&B.

In my opinion, the art of storytelling has been missing in R&B for the last 4 to 5 years. I want my music to make you feel something, it should give you goosebumps. You can visually see what I’m saying in a song, some R&B songs don’t give you that visual stimulation. Even when you’re not watching the video, you could listen, close your eyes, and visualize what I’m saying. “Best Sex Ever” to start off the album, it’s mellow but such a strong R&B song. My girl helped me write it too. [laughs]

How was that experience?

It was cool, she’s very talented. She has a way of implementing her ideas without saying “hey, you need to do this and that.” It’s easy for her to come in and give insight on what the record should sound like. At the end of the day, she’s super honest. She’s a female and knows what a female would like to hear. That was dope to wrap the song up.

How was getting Ty$ on the “You Got It” remix?

It was cool, a surprise for me. My manager hit me the day we got the verse back. He said “hey, Ty$ hopped on the remix.” When did we make this happen? Apparently, they’re doing everything behind the scenes to surprise me. This is Ty$, he doesn’t have to get on a song for anyone. It’s a reassuring feeling: okay, you got a song that people really like. For someone like Ty$ to want to be a part of it, you got a song that’s worthy of being heard by the world. It’s a good feeling.

When did you first start the V-mixes?

I’ve been doing covers since 2010 but I started doing V-Mixes going into 2017. I wanted to do something different from the traditional cover. Everybody sings covers the same exact way the artist sang it, but what’re you really showcasing? You’re showcasing your vocal ability which is still a good thing, but when you can take a hit song and make it appealing to a different crowd and to the same crowd already in love with the original song, that speeds up your growth as an artist and songwriter. For you to listen to a song so much you want to V-mix, to go in and rewrite lyrics with different melodies to a track that’s already a hit, off the back of your head you’ll have the original song in your head while you’re trying to make up new lyrics and new melodies. That was worth it for me to challenge myself to become a better songwriter. 

How’s fatherhood during quarantine? 

It’s cool, I’d rather be outside and get back out into the world. Being in quarantine helped me refocus on the matters at hand, the creation of the music. It allowed me to get to know my daughter even more, she’s 8 months now. I’m able to spend a lot of time with her as opposed to doing shows and studio sessions. Quarantine has its pros and cons.

What can we expect next?

Movies, new music. I’m looking at artists to sign. My album’s on the way. It’s already done, give the fans something new the top of the year. I’m working with some huge artists right now. The placements I have coming up, people are going to be pleasantly surprised. At this point, Vedo’s becoming a household name and well-known brand. In 6 months to 5 years, you’ll see more Vedo. Whether it’s featured on somebody’s song or in a movie or a series, you’re going to hear more Vedo. I’m not taking anything for granted and building off the momentum we already have.