Maryland native Reggie Becton became enticed by the R&B classics when he was 17. Now 25, Becton has set out to experiment with the modern ideals of R&B by delving deep into questions of masculinity. His high and smooth voice results in an atmospheric listen, one that shuts out the world when played through earphones. His newest song “Listenin'” was stylistically based on the late, great Aaliyah.
What’s unique about Becton is he doesn’t feel the need to make a show with his vocals. No fancy runs, no eccentric showing off; it’s organic, tells a story. “I make music for millennial men who aim to confront their emotions and inner demons in dealing with the struggles of love and everyday life,” Becton told LADYGUNN.
LADYGUNN chatted with the R&B protege about his inspiration and the trouble of dating apps in our modern-day love lives.
Who is your biggest inspiration? Both in music and in life.
My inspiration is constantly evolving over time. Right now, musically, Aaliyah, and Avant are inspiring me greatly. Aaliyah’s sound was just such a great fusion of hip-hop and R&B and I feel like that is missing a bit today. Avant’s tone is something I’ve been listening to a lot lately and I’ve been really trying to find that butter/sweet spot for my voice which has been fun. In life, I am being inspired by my friends and my team. Everyone on my team works extremely hard and dedicates a lot of time trying to make my dream come true. So every time I get the chance or opportunity to level up or push our mental limits, I do in hopes to set a new standard for each of us to keep growing.
Your voice is so soulful. Did your voice just naturally develop that way or were you raised with this sort of music growing up?
I am not sure if it naturally developed or if I pushed it in more of a soulful direction. My normal speaking voice is pretty light and high pitch. Around 21, I was a bit tired of sounding like an adolescent and started to add this raspiness to my voice in hopes to sound more like Prince and that really matured my artistry. I also have been working with my vocal coach, Bova, since 2016 and the strides that have been made are unbelievable.
Who is your dream collaborator?
Brandy and PJ Morton would be the dream team. I would love to create my album with PJ executive producing it and Brandy as a vocal producer. I know without a doubt that making an album with those two living legends, nothing but greatness would be made.
What is the inspiration for “Listenin’?”
“Listenin” was inspired by a conversation I had with my roommates about toxic love. The sound was inspired by Aaliyah and the performance was inspired by Avant. I really wanted it to be more laid back and not about this great big vocal performance like “Rainin’ in LA.”
What is the importance of releasing art during such a trying time for our country?
Personally speaking, I think it is a relief. A relief for me and my fans. It’s a little brightness in such a dark world. Despite everything going on, releasing music during this time has inspired me to keep going as it has given me hope that even in the midst of a pandemic I will be able to break through the industry and make a name for myself.
What do you hope to add to the world with your music?
I hope my music becomes the soundtrack for men everywhere to cope and properly DEAL with their emotions and true feelings.
In the Tinder age, do you think it is possible to form genuine intimate relationships? Or are they all toxic?
I think it is possible. I think it just takes time. Most millennials by the age of 23 start to feel like life is slowly but surely getting away from them and they have this need to rush everything just to check it off the list of to-dos.
Spotify or Apple Music?
They both have their strong points… as black twitter would say, “you can’t compare two bad bitches”!
What’s the name of your most recently listened to playlist on your phone?
“It’s the toxic for me,” which is a playlist I personally curated for The Village Music Group.
CONNECT WITH REGGIE BECTON
photos / courtesy of artist
story / Sam Berlin