R&B singer Vedo has been making waves in the music industry with his soulful voice and smooth R&B style. The singer first gained national attention in 2013 when he appeared on the hit singing competition, The Voice. During his time on the show, Vedo was mentored by R&B superstar Usher, who helped him hone his skills and develop his signature sound – their relationship has continued ever since, and only last year, Vedo appeared on Usher’s viral Tiny Desk performance. 

Since his appearance on The Voice, Vedo has continued to work on his music, releasing several albums and singles that showcase his impressive vocal range and emotive songwriting. Earlier this year, he released his long-awaited new album, Mood Swings, in which he stunningly demonstrates his versatility as a musician – whether it’s slow jams or upbeat bangers, the album is stacked with infectious tracks and features none other than Tink and Chris Brown. 

We had a chat with the talented artist about all things songwriting, working with Usher, and the process of making Mood Swings

You gained quite a bit of popularity after appearing on The Voice. Looking back now, how did that whole experience teach you being an artist and impact your development as an artist ever since? 

Man, to look back on The Voice, it was definitely one of the major steps in my career in terms of being seen and being put in front of Usher. And actually being coached by him was also probably priceless. You know, you can’t really put a dollar amount on things like that, especially when it’s more so of a life mentor and just not necessarily a musical mentor. It taught me a lot of things, a lot of different things, it taught me basically cope with how to cope with something so tragic as losing my mom and still be able to go out here in the world and remain sane and remain humble and to see it. Because at the end of the day, we still got a job to do. And I feel like that was a test for me to have to perform and to have to lose my mom. So yeah, it was a great experience. I grew a lot because I met a lot of people. Man, I’m super, super thankful for the boys for sure. 

It does sound like it’s been a great journey for you. Talking about Usher, I saw the Tiny Desk concert where he brought you out. Can you tell me more about that?

It was actually nerve-wracking. And to be totally honest, because we didn’t have a chance to really rehearse that, it was more so kind of like a super impromptu show. It was nerve-wracking, but it was also eye-opening. It was also fulfilling. You know, fulfilling in terms of people realizing the music that I’m doing, like the impact that I make is actually being felt by people. And for Usher to call myself and Eric Bellinger to assist him on a Tiny Desk when he can call anybody let me know that the work that I’m doing is not going unnoticed. It was such an amazing moment. Eric and I didn’t know we were going to go viral as background singers, but this is going to show you that regardless if you’re a background singer or the lead singer – when you’re a star shining, people will see you. 

It is a great performance for sure, I watched it earlier and really enjoyed it. Speaking about going viral, your song “You Got It” has surpassed 310M streams on Spotify. Did you anticipate that the song would become so popular? 

I can say I didn’t know that it would become that popular. But when I wrote the song initially, I just wanted to kind of inspire people to kind of be better, to better themselves, to be more independent, to be more cautious of people you let into your life, and things like that. I just didn’t know it would inspire millions and millions and millions of people. So no, I honestly didn’t know that it was going to take off and blow up. It was a pleasant surprise. Being independent, you know, we were actually able to see it blowing up in real time before our eyes. We saw it go up daily. So, it was a really, really, really dope experience. That just makes you smile, especially as an artist and as a songwriter, it makes you feel really good. 

I can imagine, it’s incredible to see it resonating with so many. So being a songwriter, do you change your mindset when writing for others or is it just like you would write for yourself?

I think for me, I used to go into it as a songwriter with a mindset of, hey, I have to become Justin Bieber for a brief moment. I mean, there’s no way that I could actually put myself in his shoes, put myself in Chris Brown’s shoes or into Usher’s shoes. I mean, the whole goal should always be to just make a great song. And I think that’s when I started to transition into not trying to go into the studio and sound like the artist I’m writing for because you tend to overshoot or undershoot. But you can never miss the hole when the goal is to make a great song. If the song is great. It will find a home, even if it’s not the desired artist. Somebody will eventually hear the song and love it and take it. So, to all aspiring songwriters, your goal should just be to make great music. And me being an artist, you know, I make a good song, and nobody takes it but it’s still a win-win because I can put it out myself. 

I don’t feel like any song should be wasted. So if you write a song specifically for an artist and go in sounding just like them, doing their tagline, or doing their ad-libs, and it’s super tailored to that artist then it automatically turns them off. 

That’s really interesting to hear and I definitely agree with that, and as you said, if nobody takes the song then you can use it for yourself. So it really is a win-win for you. You also released an album recently, Mood Swings, and I love how versatile it is. I’ve been reading that listeners have even found their wedding songs on there! Can you tell us about the whole creative process behind making the album?

I still wanted it to be R&B, but I didn’t want it to be the typical sexual, sensual R&B that I have been putting out and that the other R&B artists have put out over the years. I kind of wanted to have an R&B album that can highlight things that we go through as human beings. We all have mood swings. We’re sad, we’re happy, we’re insecure, we’re questioning ourselves, even in relationships, nothing is always perfect. And I think a lot of people turn to music for that validation, like, okay, I’m not tripping. But the process for this was kind of different because I’ve always written everything myself. I thought that if I collaborated with some dope writers and different producers they would help bring my vision together and also help tell their stories. Because to be a songwriter, to be a poet is to have something to talk about. And, you may not be a great storyteller, but you may have stories. So I left my comfort zone and went to a big studio, and we did all the good stuff. It was pretty fun, and then we got it done fairly quickly, and we came up with some really great songs. 

That sounds great, sometimes you really do have to leave your comfort zone to create greatness. You have also collaborated with quite a few big names in the music industry such as Tink and Chris Brown. How did these collabs come about? 

We were actually distributed by the same distributor company. So it was kind of a win-win. Tink has always been a really dope artist to me, very underrated in my opinion. So I wanted her to bless me with a verse. I believe in asking, so if you don’t ask, you don’t know. And luckily, Tink was a fan. She loved the record. And she did it right away. With Chris Brown, of course, I’ve written several songs for him. And we’ve kind of built that rapport over time. Like, that’s the homie. And one day, I just felt it. I’m like, yo, let me contact him and see if he likes this record, and can do this verse. And I shot my shot. He was like, yo, I love the record, I’ll do it. And it was stuck there first because he’s so busy and always moving around. So it’s hard to kind of keep in contact.  But right in the nick of time, he sent it over. We got everything cleared through the label. It was dope. 

So when you’re writing a song and you want someone to feature on it, do you have a collaborator in your mind already when you’re writing it?

It comes about eventually. But for this one, I think for me, the decision was made on who should be on the song based on relationships. Instead of trying to go get somebody that I don’t really have a relationship with on the song, why don’t I just call Chris Brown? 

But yeah, it kind of comes as you go. 

What’s your dream collaboration? 

I would love to collaborate with Stevie Wonder. To be visually impaired and that talented and that prolific in what he does I think is amazing. I used to listen to him so much when I was a kid. It’s what we call world music. He is probably one of my top five artists of all time. 

Let’s speak it into existence! Word on the street is that you’ve already got a new album wrapped up. 

Yeah, I’ve been locked in. It is the grind that got me here. It’s work, work, work, work, work. And that’s what we’ve been doing. So yeah, the new album is already done. We’re going to let things ride out a little more. Do some more live videos, some music videos, and some more things. And then we go with the next album. It’ll probably be here in a year, probably, maybe fall or winter. 

Oh wow, your fans will be very excited. You’re also working on your own tequila brand. So what can you tell me about that? 

Yeah, white tequila. It’s in the beginning stages. I want smooth-tasting tequila. It’s a fun process. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, venture off from music and do something else!

Sounds like you’ve got exciting things coming up, thanks so much for your time.

Listen to Mood Swings: