A blonde Chris Brown covers the latest issue of Billboard magazine. With his new album X arriving in stores in just a few weeks, the singer opens up about his tumultuous past year in jail, moving on from Rihanna, living life in the public eye and more.
Check out a few excerpts below:
Did you spend time writing while you were in jail?
No. You know, jail isn’t a place of many creative spirits. But as far as my creativity, I put it on hold until I got out. Jail is more of a regimen and a structure. I’m more of a free spirit when it comes to creating music, painting and art. So when I got out, I was very excited to get into the studio. I didn’t have any ideas or concepts; they usually come as I go [in to record]. I was drawing and sketching most of the time, biding time.
What was the daily routine like?
A guard wakes you up; you eat. You stay in your cell most of the time, basically 24 hours a day. Maybe on Mondays you go to the roof inside of a cage and have a phone call. It’s isolation. You have time to focus on what matters, on what to do and what not to do.
What lessons did you learn from the experience?
My maturity level has risen as far as my realizing what’s important. Realizing that I’m human like everyone else. At the end of the day, it’s just a humbling experience. You’re more appreciative of everything else that’s on the outside. A burger tastes 1,000 times better when you’re out (Laughs.) I’m just more appreciative of the things I’m blessed with and the things I do: music, being able to take care of my family, being able to see my friends and family. And do what I love and still be able to do it in a timely fashion to where people don’t think, “Oh well, he fell off.” Still being able to be consistent.
What did you miss the most?
I just missed my family. At the end of the day, music is definitely a passion. But when you’re dealing with your own personal issues, family is first. I just dealt with that. I missed my dad and mom, all my cousins … seeing people’s faces and smiles … seeing people who were just encouraging and positive.
How did you keep yourself motivated?
[I had to feel] like this happened for a reason. There was a purpose. Maybe I was out of control too much. Or I needed something to humble me to the point where I get it. At that point, I didn’t look at it as trying to get out of the situation but learn from it.
You’ve moved forward, and Rihanna says she also has moved -forward. Do you see a day when your relationship won’t be brought up at all?
When we’re not relevant anymore, that might be the case. As long as you’re doing something good, people will always bring up old stuff or negative stuff because they don’t want you to surpass a certain level or elevate. But as long as you have your head on straight, it shouldn’t matter what people want to say.
Explain what it’s like to live in the public eye.
I just have to realize it comes with the territory in this day and age of social media. My age group and younger stay on the phone and Internet. It’s easy access. So I just like to focus on what I’m doing instead of getting caught up. Everybody gets caught up watching Instagram or whatever; they have jokes and all kinds of things. I can still engage in it but not participate in the negative side. Not everyone in the world is going to particularly love me. But I’m cool with that. As long as I love myself and my music, I’m fine. People are going to say what they want to say. I don’t look over my shoulder or wish I could turn back the hands of time. Life is a learning experience, so I’m learning as I go. I’m not walking around angry about anything. So you just have to let it be.
You can read Breezy’s full cover story over at Billboard.