Musiq is always Mr. Cool.
With his usually calm demeanor, it's hard to imagine the crooner running around shouting. Yet the Philadelphia singer said that when his second album, Juslisen, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 last month (see "Musiq Tops Albums Chart, Lauryn Hill Makes Big Debut"), it almost got a fervent reaction out of him.
"I should've screamed," Musiq said last week with a light chuckle. "To be honest, it's always a surprise when I accomplish things such as getting a #1 like that, because I don't really set out to do that. I don't want to sound like one of those 'all about the art artists,' but in a lot of respects I am that way. I do expect to get something, but to be supported so much, I don't really factor that in. I'm just concerned with doing a good job."
The 24-year-old singer said he had a lot of fan support on his just-wrapped tour and was pleased with his performances, but what got him the most hyped every night was watching his opening act.
"Man, Cee-Lo is my new superhero," Musiq marveled of the man who, in his words, possesses the energy of a "hip-hop/funk/soul/rock star." "His show is incredible. You would have to witness it to understand what really goes on. He's definitely one of my mentors as far as artists out there today.
"It was weird that he was opening up for me," he continued. "I was more excited about seeing his show than seeing mine. I love my show, but I would make it to the venue early to see his. I was like, 'How am I supposed to go on after that?' "
Musiq will have to switch places during his next series of outings, which kicks off this summer. He'll be setting off concerts for fellow soul child Alicia Keys (see "Alicia Keys To Hit The Road In July").
"In my show, I went to all the major markets," he explained. "With her show, she has a major market in all the corner towns. I'm looking forward to tapping into those new markets. I find I have fans in places [where] I didn't know I had fans. I want to be able to be able to represent for them."
With his next single, "Don't Change," Musiq reps for what else? love. He just finished filming the video in L.A. with director Chris Robinson.
"He's really good with capturing the essence of the point," Musiq said of the clip's shot-caller, who also directed "Half Crazy." " 'Don't Change' is a song dedicated to unconditional love. It's a song that's designed to pacify insecurities."
Musiq even got in a bit of acting during the shoot. In the video, he plays a married man with a child who's about to go to college.
"Funny enough, you see me in prosthetics," he said of his role. "I'm depicting different ages, from 21 to 35 [to] 45 to 57 to 75, going through different stages. That's showing the growth, the time that I'm going to be in love with this person and the different things I may have to go through [while] being with this person.
"There's a twist in the video," he added, "that's basically supposed to show 'something [unexpected] could happen, but it doesn't matter, because I will still love you.' "
Musiq's heading in front of the camera again on Friday and Saturday in his hometown to shoot a clip for the remix for "Half Crazy." That video will center around a day in the singer's life, and it ends with him taking the stage.
"It's called 'Medio Loco,' which means 'Half Crazy' in Spanish," he said of the song. "It's more of a party vibe."
Musiq said he wants to get back in the studio before the end of this year and drop another LP, possibly in early 2003, though he's going to be touring most of the U.S. before then. After his outing with Keys ends in September, he hopes to go on another headlining tour in November.
"The road was beautiful," he testified. "I can't wait to go back out. I just love doing that. I love going from city to city especially a city that I've never been to and seeing people respond the way they do. It inspires me to go back in the studio and work on some more material."