Ghetto Revelations, an album that included Billboard R&B hit single “Where Were You”, was released almost 13 years ago. This album blessed us with the introduction of R&B and neo-soul recording artist Urban Mystic’s rich and powerful voice. His sophomore album, Ghetto Revelations II, gained a lot of attention as it showcased Urban Mystic’s growth as an artist. This R&B and Hip Hop album included his second single “I Refuse”, which reached #10 on the Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and #36 on the Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart. Urban Mystic teamed up with Paul Wall, Trick Daddy, Smitty, PitBull, and Stack$ on this album.
Southern Laced recently had the chance to chat with Urban Mystic about his biggest influencers, the future of upcoming artist and his upcoming projects.
Check out his interview below!
Q: Where did you get your start?
I got my start in 1999 when my oldest brother Christopher Johnson aka “PoBoy” featured me on the compilation album of the record label he was signed to at the time… BigBaller Records. From there, in 2000, we formed a group by the name of First Family. After that, I started getting very popular. In 2001, I signed my first major contract with Sprite doing a sprite commercial under the name Top Dolla. This was the start of the next level. By 2003, I was preparing to sign my first major record deal with SoBe/Warner Bros.
Q: What inspired you to become a professional singer?
Coming up in a family of singers, musicians, and rappers… listening to all genres of music from Gospel, R&b, Hip-Hop, and some country… watching movies like Jackson 5, Purple Rain, The Temptations, Five Heart Beats and being the baby, I had no choice. But I was truly inspired by my mother, father, and brothers because of their talents and abilities to bring joy to others with it. To me, they were already famous. So I wanted to be just like them. But I knew to make good money at doing it, I needed to become a professional. So that was my goal.
Q: Where did the name “Urban Mystic” originate?
I received the name Urban Mystic by the CEO of SoBe Entertainment, Cecile Barker. Once we met and got to know each other before I signed, he said with my background and lifestyle, he had the perfect name for me. “Urban” is speaking of where I come from and what I represent. I was born and raised in the urban areas of my city. “Mystic”, with the spirituality meaning it has behind it, represents me as well. I’m very spiritually grounded. I was raised in the church. My father was a minister and a strong believer in God. So once it was broken down to me, I was like, “Yes! That’s Brandon Williams, Sr. in a nutshell. Urban Mystic…
Q: Who are some of your biggest influencers?
K-Ci & JoJo, Gerald Levert, R. Kelly, El Debarge, CeeLo Green, Mary J. Blige, Escape, Betty Wright, Ann Nesby, Al Green, The Temptations, The O’Jays, Sam Cook, Bobby Womack and Stevie Wonder.
Q: Who have you worked with in the past? And who would you like to work within the future?
I’ve had the opportunity to work with El Debarge, KG of Naughty By Nature, PitBull, Trick Daddy, Rick Ross, Yung Joc, Jadakiss, Bun B, Busta Rhymes, Anthony Hamilton, Angie Stone, Betty Wright, producer Scott Storch and Bigg Dee. I would love to work with K-Ci & JoJo, Fantasia, Mary J. Blige, R. Kelly, Bryson Tiller, Drake, Wiz Khalifa, T.I. Kodak Black, Keisha Cole and Jazmine Sullivan.
Q: You have a very unique voice. Who are you most often compared to vocally?
I have always heard that I sound like K-Ci, Bobby Womack, and Tyrese.
Q: Some of our readers may not know that in addition to being a singer, you’re also a writer. What was the first song you wrote?
My first song I wrote was released on my first album Ghetto Revelations titled “Momma Song“.
Q: Why do you think it’s harder for today’s upcoming artist to make it in the music industry than it was previously in the past?
Because there are so many (artist) doing it now with great ideas and (there’s) music from artist everywhere, it’s hard to fall in love with just a few. The internet/social media has made it to where anybody who can sing, rap or dance can release it to the public at any time. So you must have a great marketing and promotion plan today versus in the past (when) all you had to do was know how to perform.
Q: What key information do you believe they are missing and/or not interpreting in today’s music industry?
That it’s not just about being famous, but how to set up and handle your business so that you can get paid what you deserve and take care your family.
Q: What other interest/hobbies do you have other than music?
I love to barbecue. I love going to church. I love playing WWE 2k17 with my sons. I also love animals.
Q: What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on my new album entitled “UNDERRATED” set to release in 2018. Also, I’m working on the first two singles, “Freakin” and “I Don’t Wanna Lose”.
(“Freakin” is scheduled to be released August 2017.)