A funk artist from Houston, Tx, Uché was recently a Top 10 finalist on season 2 of ABC’s American Idol.
Known by millions as an artist who can render a crowd completely speechless, Uché makes no apologies for leaving it all on the stage and “going hard” every time he performs for an audience. Since making headlines as a Top 10 finalist on American Idol, Uché has amassed a huge fan base while working nonstop on projects with legendary artists such as George Clinton, Howard Scott of War, and Bootsy Collins, just to name a few.
Music Industry Weekly sat down with the very talented, charismatic and bigger-than-life, Uché, to get a sneak peek into the mind of the artist who was dubbed “Mr. Entertainment” on what is arguably the biggest stage in the world.
MIW: Millions of AI viewers witnessed you being christened “Mr. Entertainment” by the one and only Lionel Richie. How did that moment feel for you and how did it change your life?
Uché: Dude it felt super dope! I love to “go hard” and give my all every time I get on stage. It’s like this other “being” takes over and I just go off. I’m so confident and free on stage. Then once I get off the stage, all of my insecurities slap me in the face again and I start questioning myself, like, Did I do too much? Was I too extra? Did I freak people out in a bad way? Should I not have picked up the mic stand and slung it over my shoulder? This would happen every time I would get on and off the stage. So When Lionel Richie the legend himself, who knows music and performance inside and out called me “Mr. Entertainment,” he silenced all of that negative self-talk noise forever for me.
MIW: You quickly became a fan favorite due to your flair for showmanship and the vocal pipes to back it up. What goes through your mind in the few minutes just before you hit the stage?
Uché: Before I hit the stage I’m usually somewhere on my knees praying for God to take over. My best performances are when I completely lose myself on stage, just like flowing – not thinking.
MIW: When it comes to performing, would you consider yourself a perfectionist, or do you always just go with the flow? How do you prepare mentally?
Uché: I can be a perfectionist when it comes to preparing and rehearsing. My s*** needs to be right and feel right or it needs to be changed…adjusted. Once I’m on stage though I have to just let all of that go, lean on my instincts, and hope that everything I practiced is in my subconscious – then I can focus on feeling, not thinking or remembering. At that point, it’s just like, Did you practice enough?
MIW: Did you grow up in a musical household? How did your family life contribute to the artist that you are today?
Uché: Kinda, but not really. My sisters sang growing up and we would sing together all the time, but we were the only ones who were even a little musical. My mom told me when she was young she asked God for kids that could sing and that’s what she got. Hah. My family has always been supportive so that support gave me the reassurance to push harder for my musical aspirations.
MIW: What has been your greatest challenge in becoming an artist so far and how did you overcome it?
Uché: Trying to catch a break was hard af. There are so many artists in the world, everybody and their mama wants to be a star! I have auditioned for so many things. I’ve gotten so close to things and had it ripped out from under me literally at the last second. For example, last year I auditioned for the show “The Four” on Fox. I fully got cast, signed the paperwork, shot my package, and was literally backstage about to walk through those huge doors onto the stage to perform. I was soo excited – I was thanking God – and I was ready to slay. Bruh… at last second one of the producers pretty much told me I was written out of the show. They sent me home and that was that.
The year that followed was dark and depressing. I was engaging in self-destructive behavior, letting doubt and negative self-talk take over my daily thoughts. I felt stuck and broken. I was so over trying anymore and an inner battle started to stir within me. One side had a little bit of hope but the rest of me was like, Dude, your trash. You’re too different. When are you gonna give up? You’ve been at this for years. Through all of it though, I consciously tried to stay faithful and thanked God every day for the disappointment, literally thanked him through the tears. Every time one of the commercials for the show popped up on my Instagram and it was my friends from the show killing it and not me, I’d get sad but then I’d thank him. Thanked him, even though I was thoroughly pissed off at him about it. And I discovered that’s OK. Then Idol happened.
MIW: What is your favorite part about the music industry? Your least favorite? Why?
Uché: Getting to make a career out of being creative, making badass music with badass people for badass people who need to hear it. Least favorite, early af call times – I’m a night owl.
MIW: What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Uché: Develop yourself. In other words, find out who you are as an artist, study artists of the past, and try to find yourself within them. I am a little bit of Prince, a bit Rick James, George Clinton, a dash of Janet Jackson, Madonna, Freddy Mercury, and Bootsy Collins. I’ve come to realize that all of the stuff other people hate about themselves or the things that make them weird or different when comparing themselves to their peers, classmates, co-workers – all of the differences that make up you, and everything that some may consider weird about you, it is exactly the thing that makes you dope and great! So embrace your weirdness and the thing that makes you different. It’s a good thing, lol.
MIW: When it comes to songwriting, what is your creative process?
Uché: Writing flows easily when I’m in the thick of an emotional situation. For example, if I just found out some terrible news that puts me into an emotional state, writing lyrics and creating the melody at the same time come effortlessly. Other times, I usually will start with either the melody or the lyrics first. I will come up with a general vibe of something that sounds catchy to me, then I come up with melodies using an onomatopoeia, like “La” or “Da” all the way through the Chorus. Then I will begin to write lyrics. I feel like creating melodies and writing lyrics uses two different parts of your brain, and if you try to do it at the same time, one may suffer. I don’t know if that makes any freaking sense, lol. But it’s my process.
MIW: You mentioned that some of your musical influences include Prince, Rick James, Freddy Mercury, and Bootsy Collins. If you had to pick one artist who had the greatest influence on you as an artist, who would it be and why?
Uché: Prince. I grew up in Minnesota. The first song I ever remember singing was “1999.” He was the epitome of cool to me. I studied how he worked a stage, how he used the mic stand and his stage persona. He’s part of the reason I fell in love with funk music.
MIW: Although you have a massive fan following as a music artist, some people don’t know that you are also an established actor and model as well. Do you still have time to do those other things now that your music career has taken off?
Uché: Literally my entire life is music right now, that is my complete focus. I barely even have time to see my friends – I miss them. I feel like the music, acting, and modeling goes hand in hand though. Everything seems so symbiotic nowadays.
MIW: What can you tell us about your latest music project?
Uché: It’s going to be funky but I’m dipping into other vibes as well. So many funk legends have reached out to help me and have expressed wanting to help me with my music career and contribute to my project. From, Bootsy Collins, Howard Scott from War, and even freaking George Clinton, The Godfather of Funk. I’m literally still shaken by it all. These guys are music royalty. The level of support I’ve been getting from these guys who have inspired so many other artists’ music and paved the way for sooo many is something I could never imagine, and they’re so down to earth. My project, the music, is going to be incredibly raw and honest. Its gonna be me just being human. In my circle, I am the rock for so many of my friends. I’m always the one giving them advice, talking them down, and keeping it together. But in my music, I don’t want to be that guy. I just want to be who I am when I’m alone in my bedroom and somehow translate that wholly in the music so you guys can begin to understand the guy behind all the extra, obnoxious shit. I’m gonna reveal the things that I personally go through, think, and worry about. Don’t expect too many sappy love songs out of me… that’s not my thing right now.
MIW: Where have you performed recently?
Uché: I just wrapped up headlining for Pride Houston. Prior to that I did my first hometown concert – played a show with the legendary funk band “War.”
MIW: When can we expect to see your next project drop?
Uché: Look for a new single from me late August.
MIW: How can our readers connect with you on social media, learn more about you, or stream/download your music and/or videos?
Uché: DM me on Instagram, I will respond and I love talking to yall:
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