As an up-and-coming artist, getting turned down by a major label can be discouraging. “In ’97, my band Gravy got passed up by Interscope Records in order for them to sign Black Eyed Peas,” recalls musician Printz Board. Before he could even wallow in his sadness or prepare his next move, he received a phone call that would forever alter the course of his career and life. “Will(i.am) out and asked me if I wanted to join forces and be part of B.E.P.,” continues Printz Board. At first, he politely declined the offer. But after further consideration, he accepted the invitation to play keyboards.
“Of course, that was my big break. It allowed me and everybody in the Peas the outlet we needed for our music,” he says. His keen ear for music and talent for conceiving catchy hooks allowed him to quickly rise up the ranks behind the scenes and assume musical director, producer and co-songwriter roles (“Where Is the Love,” “Don’t Phunk with My Heart,” “Meet Me Halfway”) as part of the chart-topping group.
While Printz Board’s work with Black Eyed Peas nurtured him as an artist, the then 10-year-old (!) from Columbus, Ohio born Priese Prince Lamont Board never gave up on his dreams performing his own music. At a young age, he’d picked up the trumpet (“’Cause I knew I’ll be able to sling that on my back and then make it do what it do”), fell in love with jazz and uncovered an array of sounds from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, the Eagles and P-Funk.
“You could never replace the feeling of holding the microphone and touching people,” says the Grammy winner. “As it was my dream then, it’s always been a dream that will continue.” The 35-year-old also runs a progressive multimedia entertainment production company, Beets & Produce, Inc., which encompasses talent management, music publishing, a record label and new media working in music, films, TV and commercials.
Printz Board has also written and produced music for Chris Brown, Dr. Dre, Fergie, Sheryl Crow, Macy Gray, Selena Gomez and Katy Perry. He credits his “easygoing attitude and his multi-instrumental abilities” for making him an in-demand collaborator to the pop world’s elite performers. “My good looks and jokes help too,” he adds in jest.
Today, Printz Board invites us to discover what he has to deliver as a solo artist. Over the years, the singer has cultivated a personal sound that’s a fusion of pop, hip-hop, club music and dub step. “My music is inviting, rockin’ and universal. I think people will play my album when they want to feel good. It has a feel good, fun musical vibe,” says Printz Board.
“#1,” the first single off his spring 2014 debut Board Games, is clearly a seasonal hit dedicated to the endless search for the right lady. “ ‘Hey You’ is a jump around, take your tops off, college stadium [anthem]. Then you have a song like ‘Mountains,’ which is my ode to how my mom and I kind of came up, but it is an uplifting song for those that feel like life is just a struggle. Then I have Slash on a song called ‘Rockstar Moments.’ I mean, who could go wrong with that?” he asks.
Judging by Printz Board’s hit-making ability, we’re betting his solo venture will have all the necessary ingredients to prove his staying power in the industry.
Alexandra Phanor-Faury is a Haitian-American writer living in Brooklyn, New York with a slight (OK, major) addiction to fashion and pop culture. When she's not up in the middle of the night filling her online shopping carts and catching up on style blogs, she’s writing about fashion and entertainment for a number of websites and her blog, Fringueuse.
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