The last time Tevin Campbell made a studio album, it was his 1999 self-titled project. Since then, the talented crooner, now 43, has performed here and there, but overall, done things at the beat of his own drum, and done them outside of the public eye. He recently took part in Black Music Honors’ celebration of Freddie Jackson and afterward, was interviewed about it, as well as about being a child singing sensation.
“When I was a kid I loved to sing, that’s all I did,” he said. “So I wasn’t surprised when it happened. I’m actually really thankful and blessed that I’m still able to do it today. That’s all I know how to do. I can’t flip a burger, I can’t do anything. All I know how to do is sing. I’ve been blessed to be able to make a living doing what I love.”
However, while Campbell is grateful for that time, he was also burnt out at a young age and hadn’t even had the chance to really live yet, having worked in the industry since he was around 12. Once he became a twentysomething, he took an extended break.
“When I was in the business, when I was younger, it was more work for me. I didn’t actually start to live my life until I left the business, and you don’t want to do that,” he said. “So, you do make a lot of sacrifices in the business, but you have to stay humble and you have to live that normal life. That’s what I do now. It keeps me grounded.”
It wasn’t the smoothest transition though, Campbell admitted. The perks of fame weren’t at arm’s reach once he started to live a more private life. Nevertheless, he got adjusted to the changes and focused on doing the inner work he needed to.
“I don’t believe in being treated special or being entitled because you have a talent. I had to get over that,” he said. “I wasn’t always like that [laughs]. I was a brat. But I would just say, love yourself. You have to just be one with yourself. It’s really important.”
“Live to be happy, I don’t care what you do,” he added, noting that he’s living the life he wants to now, no matter what people might say or think about it.
“There’s a lot of people who are going to try and tell you who you are; try to convince you who you are. When you go home, away from all that, you need to be happy with what’s going on with you. It’s very important.”