Trust Me comes out in the midst of what seems to be the third "British Invasion." What's your take on the current love for UK R&B?
The UK doesn't try to make music that America already has. We don't need to see another Usher or another Chris Brown because it would only be a watered-down version of what the world already has. If you can bring your influences and your experiences, you can inspire a certain genre and have something special that is completely different.
A lot of British artists have come and gone since you came out in 2000. What do you think made you survive and stand out from everyone else?
I think it was just about being young and all about the time and place and being ready for it. I'd been DJing and on the microphone in the clubs. I think all those factors helped me enter my life stage where I can refocus on the things I was trying to achieve. And everybody's like, "You know, if you just work hard and you've got the singles to back it up, then the hit is definitely in there." We had other songs on records that could have been singles, but you have to keep your feet on the floor and remember that you are only as good as your last song. Recognize that it is not always going to be perfect and go the way you want it to go. There are a lot of complications sometimes, but the one thing I do is make sure that I make great music and let the others do their part.
It's hard to believe that you have been in the music industry for a decade. What key lessons have you learned along the way?
I've learned, ultimately, keep your head down. The amount of people that I have seen come and go in the period of time I have been performing is ridiculous. I've seen so many artists, desperate for their big break, that literally come and go and are fixing cars and cleaning windows. You think, "Wow, how did that happen?" It just always keeps me very grounded. My management always keeps me grounded. My family keeps me grounded. I just love that I came into this world believing that I should enjoy myself and not let my ego own me, because the music is what got me to where I am. People want to listen to my music; they don't want to hear me preach to them. They are interested in the art because of the music, and when you start to forget that and you start thinking that you're bigger than the song, it all starts to go wrong for you.