Rico Love has a God given talent that many people envy.
Known for penning hits like Kelly Rowland’s “Motivation,” Usher’s “There Goes My Baby,” and Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams,” Rico Love’s ear for good music has made him one of the best songwriters in the game.
GlobalGrind caught up with the busy songwriter to discuss his writing process, the “Beyonce” formula and of course, his music.
Check out the exclusive interview below!
GlobalGrind: You were talking about how you felt before you got your first placement with Usher … we wanted to ask you what were some of your insecurities before actually getting placement?
Rico Love: Actually I didn’t have any insecurities, because that was my first song I ever wrote, so I didn’t even really know about the business. If anything, I was kind of over confident because the checks I was getting. To be able to write your first song and you get a six-figure check in royalties, you’re thinking as a songwriter, that every song you write, that’s what happens. I think I was over confident. Then every other record I did after that, when I would see the royalties and I saw they weren’t the same, I was buggin’, like somebody needs to be fired.
But it was more about, I was young and fresh and didn’t understand what I was really doing and I didn’t understand my ability, how talented I was at that time. But now I know you have to work to be great, talent it comes natural, but you got to work to be great.
So do you think it takes a different kind of mindset to be successful in the industry?
Yeah, it takes a different mindset to be successful in anything, that’s why there’s not a lot of super duper successful people because it’s guys I know who may be ten times more talented than me, but they don’t work as hard. I work every single day, even on Sundays.
We know a lot of different songwriters just let it flow and some have a technical process. What’s your process?
Really honestly, I’m listening to the music and the lyric and melody comes to me like right away. I used to freestyle when I rap, so I don’t write anything down. I don’t over think anything, like “There Goes My Baby,” I wrote it in 10 minutes. I wrote Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams” in 10 or 15 minutes. I’m just this fast guru, it’s just that part of music comes to me and that’s how it feels and the lyric and the melody come at the same time.
We’re always amazed at men who can write for women. Did it take you some time to start writing from a woman’s perspective or was it easy?
We all know how women feel. It’s about our take or view on what they’re saying to us. I’m really interested for everybody to hear this record called “4am.” It’s for Melanie Fiona and I’m mixing it today. Once people hear this, it’s gonna be like my son’s moms is probably going to want to kill me, because it’s like you understand it, but you won’t act on it. We all know what we do wrong and I’m not trying to say I understand women at all, but I’m just saying that I understand the pain that women go through. I understand what they feel, I have a mother. So it’s our interpretation of it and you know, it goes back to that, if you knew better, you’d do better. And we do know better [laughs].
So do you have a hard time giving your songs away? Is it hard to give other people your creations?
Not at all, ’cause that’s what my gift is. I don’t have the desire to just keep every record and put it out. That’s not what I do. I make records for people, that’s why I just continue to be consistent, where a lot of the other top writers, they kind of fell off because they started focusing on their own careers as artists. That’s not where my head is at.
How do you feel about Kelly Rowland? People are happy to see her finally coming into her own solo career. How do you feel about having a part in helping her become more successful than she already is?
I love it! I’m just happy for her, she’s a good girl. I feel like when I first started working with her, her confidence wasn’t there, like she didn’t even know how great she could sing. I would tell her, you one of the dopest vocalists out here, you got to just believe in it. I’m watching her become the superstar she already had inside of her. I’m just happy to have written the song that did it for her. The song was an amazing part, I believe all the song did was give her a certified hit and now she can just really go on and just be the superstar that we know she is.
Do you have any other placements on the album?
I did five records on the album.
Wow. That should be good, because we all love “Motivation.”
Yeah, we hope lightning strikes at the same spot on the next one.
You said that a lot of artists were working for the “Beyonce formula,” what did you mean by that?
Basically, the reason why I gravitate towards female artists is because women want to be Beyonce more than they’d want to be with Jay Z. So if I could find the girl who could empower women, it’s more powerful than any man I could find because as big as Jay-Z is, if you could give a woman a choice whether you would want to be married to Jay-Z or would you rather be Beyonce, they would rather be Beyonce. When I see females, I believe it’s a bigger brand, that’s why Lady Gaga is huge, that’s why Madonna was huge, that’s why Cher was huge and Beyonce. It’s because women want to be that.
Do you ever work with any other songwriters?
I don’t work with other writers.
What songs are you most proud of? We know you have a long roster.
I think “There Goes My Baby” is one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever written. I wrote a song for Beyonce called “Save The Hero.” That’s one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever written. I was just proud of how that song came together. I love “Hello Good Morning.” What else? “Boyfriend #2” That was clever. I like clever songs. I like songs that make people think and I try to have substance in all my records, even with “Sweet Dreams” how it was a club record and it was up tempo, but it was melodic and it was like, lyrical.
Do you write songs for specific people, or do you write and then give it to who it sounds like?
I can do both. Like with Beyonce, I wrote “Sweet Dreams” right before she got to the studio. I wrote it for her. I wrote “Radio” while she was sitting right there. I wrote “There Goes My Baby” for Usher, but then other times you just write a song and it just happens to go with people.
Who is your favorite songwriter?
What’s your favorite color?
When did you start writing?
In 2003. I started writing songs and melodies in 2003.