There are many young R&B hopefuls who would do anything to be in
Bertell’s position. After years of struggling on the streets of
Houston, the Capitol Records signee has finally reaped the benefits of
With his debut album on the verge of being released, you wouldn’t think
Bertell was a new artist. This is where he has wanted to be all along.
“I’ve always wanted to be anticipated,” explains Bertell. “I’ve always
wanted people to feel my music, feel my heart through my words.”
Born in Houston to a musical family, it was only a matter of time
before Bertell made a name for himself.
“The women in my family were all singers,” says Bertell. “I was the
baby of the family, so I followed their lead.”
It wasn’t until he saw his cousin singing to a group of girls and their
subsequent reaction that he decided to try his luck at singing.
“I would make fun of my cousin, but when I sung for them, they were all
surprised at how good I was,” says Bertell.
It was that experience that led Bertell to start crafting his own
version of popular songs. He took his influences, such as Marvin Gaye,
R. Kelly, Stevie Wonder and the Isley Brothers, and crafted his own,
funnier version of their songs.
“I would remake their songs, but with a new twist, and people loved
it,” explains Bertell.
After a short stint in college, Bertell moved back Houston with no
money, and no place to live. He turned to the life he knew, living off
“I got into the street life,” says Bertell. “Moving around, selling
mixtapes out of my truck, doing whatever I could to survive.”
In the meantime, a well known producer had heard a version of the rap
outfit, Dem Franchise Boyz song “Shorty What That Do.”
Bryan-Michael Cox (Usher, Mariah Carey) heard Bertell on the
single and knew he wanted to work with him.
“I met ‘B Cox’ in LA and he was impressed with what I was doing, and
that I was doing it on my own,” explains Bertell. “He encouraged me to
move to Atlanta and do it full time.”
At first, Bertell rejected the idea and continued living the street
life in Houston. A year later, the R&B producer finally convinced
Bertell to move to Atlanta, which led to him signing with Cox’s
production team, Blackbaby Entertainment.
The final product of the chance meeting is Goin' Hard, a gritty
collection of real life situations, with the background of soulful R&B.
With the gritty lead of single, “Beat It Up” as well as the buzz single
“She Bad” featuring Bun B, the album is off to a good start. Bertell is
especially proud of the track, “Open.” Bertell didn’t have to look far
for the inspiration, writing about the experience of a good friend.
“’Open’ is about a woman who tries to control her man with sex,”
explains Bertell. “My friend came to me with his problem, feeling
vulnerable in the situation, and the inspiration came to me.”
With the album finally completed, and soon to be introduced, Bertell
feels a sense of relief.
“This now means I get to exhale,” says Bertell. “Imagine you’ve been
holding your breathe for awhile, and now the time comes to let it out.”
Bertell hopes to be a breath of fresh air for the music industry filled
with R&B crooners. He doesn’t find it hard to separate himself from the
“My sound is definitely more gritty, but soulful,” says Bertell.
He goes on to explain that R&B is sometimes thought of as soft, and for
“R&B is can be about men,” says Bertell. “What I’m doing compliments
the others, being a little harder, a little more edgy.”
Just like his counterparts, Bertell envisions a career where he can be
relevant and anticipated years from now.
“I want Grammy Awards, a label with a few artists and I want to still
be relevant,” reveals Bertell. With raw talent, and “go hard”
mentality, there is no reason he shouldn’t.
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