Hip-hop artiste T-Pain doesn't want to talk on the phone because it'll strain his voice. With such dedication to his craft, you should expect a cracker concert this weekend. But keep your fingers crossed because like what happened earlier this year, T-Pain might suffer some real pain and miss his show, again.While Faheem Rasheed Najm (Yes, he's the same guy) won't tell us why his passage to India for Tuborg VH1 Hip Hop Hustle has been fraught with such difficulty, he says, "I knew from a young age that I was destined for this. I'm fortunate, but I don't take it for granted."
His Grammy shelf fills up courtesy of collaborations with names like Kanye West (Good Life) and Jamie Foxx (Blame It). T-Pain admits that it's not always fun charting the Billboards alone. "It's tough to cross audiences, and collaborations help that," he opines.
On his penchant for converting his baritone into the high-pitched squeal otherwise known as Auto-tune, T-Pain says, "It wasn't cool when I started using it. But I did it because it was different and felt good. Being yourself and doing what feels right are two fundamentals I live by."
Those fundamentals probably helped the singer leap from small-town Tallahassee to the big bad world of music recording. His stage name, T-Pain, stands for Tallahassee pain, a metaphor for the struggles he faced growing up. So was music his escape route? "Maybe. It was also a way to come up and out of Tallahassee, which is a great place to live in, but I like having options to see different things. Music gave me options," he confides.
Meanwhile, asking him if he's sampled Indian music draws a vague response, "Yes, there's lots of talent in India and all over the world, you just have to look." T-Pain agrees that music-oriented shows like American Idol/ Indian Idol and Glee help scout fresh talent. "I think these shows are good. They give amateurs an outlet to be seen and heard."