By Denny Patterson
Bobby Newberry may be known for choreographing music videos for high profile artists like Eminem, Nicki Minaj, and Missy Elliott, but the performer is stepping out on his own with the release of some brand-new tracks.
In July, Newberry gave fans an infectious summer jam called “Ride,” which is a feel-good track about taking chances and chasing after life’s wildest dreams. With an accompanying music video, he showcases his own razor sharp moves with an all-male cast of dancers and appears in his first-ever intimate acting scene. “Ride” is the first single off Newberry’s upcoming EP, which he says will most likely turn into a full-length album.
Continuing to take chances, Newberry has plenty more surprises in store. He will perform “Ride” and a couple other new singles September 18, 2021, on the mainstage at Miami Beach Pride.
Newberry took some time to talk more about “Ride,” his artistry, and his upcoming Pride appearance with OutClique.
Denny Patterson: Can you begin by telling us more about the concept and inspiration behind your summer jam, “Ride?”
Bobby Newberry: I wrote the song about a crush. I was trying to think, what can I talk about, especially during this climate, that will make people happy and feel good? What is something they can focus on that is a feel-good moment? There is nothing better than a crush. Crushes are the best. So, I wanted to do something that would make people feel good after hearing it, and hopefully, have a fond memory of a crush.
DP: How has the track been received by listeners?
BN: So far, so good! The video is out, and the response has been great. I have been receiving the most amazing messages. Obviously, I wrote the song from a gay perspective, so I wanted to go all in. This is my first time doing that in a video. I have gotten so many amazing messages like, I am so proud of you and thank you for doing this for the community, giving other artists the courage to do the same.
DP: This is the first single off your upcoming EP. Can you tell us more about that, and do you have a projected release date?
BN: My EP is scheduled to come out, I believe, the third week of August. However, I have been recording so much, I think I am going to do a full album instead of just an EP. It is turning into a full album. The music is coming out, and I just want to get it all out there. There are going to be dance records, feel-good records, I wrote about a lot of stuff in my life, different relationships I have gone through, so it is a bit of a roller coaster. That might be what I title the album. I am going back and forth between a few options, but it might be titled, Roller Coaster.
DP: You said you hope “Ride” breaks down barriers. What kind?
BN: I feel like there is such a stigma. For example, it has been brought up in the media quite a bit recently about the whole Lil Nas X making out on the awards show, versus what happened with Adam Lambert. When he did that while performing live, he got such backlash and there was so much cancel culture on him for years. For me, I was scared to do anything like that for a long time because a lot of people were like, you can’t do that. People are not going to want to see that. People won’t receive it well. Even though I have always been openly gay, people are like, we just don’t want to see that. So, for me, I chose to fully do this moment for this video to break down that barrier. Hopefully, this will be something that is more acceptable in music videos.
DP: Ah, so that is why you included intimate acting scenes, crop top outfits, etc.? To make it as gay as possible?
BN: Correct! It should be all inclusive and I think that is so important. Growing up, before Instagram and social media, I had no idea what was going on in the world. For me, I want kids who are young and gay to see this. I want them to be like, wow, I can be this type of gay. There is a whole different type of thing that they can be, and I want them to know that everything is okay. They can be accepted out there and they can be any type of artist. I feel like that’s why I chose to wear the crop, and that is just what I wanted to do. I have always been inspired by Aaliyah, she has always been one of my biggest inspirations, and she was a main inspiration for this. Janet Jackson as well. Like, let me fully go there for this project.
DP: Can you talk more about that acting scene with Joey Gentile? This was your first time doing an intimate acting scene. What was that experience like?
BN: Stressful [laughs]. It is such a weird feeling to have six people staring at you. In my mind, I had so much anxiety, so I was like, does this look hot? Do I look stupid? Does it look like I’m trying? It is a very weird feeling, so I got very, very nervous. I had to take a couple shots of tequila. I was so nervous to watch playback, but once I did, I was like, okay, it’s not that bad. It just isn’t a natural feeling to me.
DP: Have you always had a passion for singing and songwriting?
BN: Always. I was singing before I was dancing. Like, that was the first thing I would do. Growing up, I would sing the Ariel song from Little Mermaid all the time. Who didn’t love Little Mermaid growing up? I would sing it, and my cousins would come up to me saying, you sound just like Ariel. This is crazy. Then I remember everyone always asking me to sing, then I started dancing naturally by watching Michael Jackson and Madonna. I would rewind, play, rewind, play, and teach myself everything in my room by myself. I then entered myself in my sixth grade talent show, and I won. That was the first time I ever did anything like that, and I did it all on my own. No one helped me, and that is when people were like, he is actually talented. He should probably do something with this.
DP: How would you describe your musical aesthetic?
BN: Obviously, it has a pop vibe, but I feel like I have influences from R&B. Growing up with Aaliyah being one of my favorite artists of all time, as well as Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Prince, I feel like I have always been drawn to their style. One of the first pieces of choreography and singing I ever learned was Madonna’s “Like a Virgin, Truth or Dare Version,” where she is on the bed and rolling around on the ground. I was doing that, and everyone was like, oh my God, that is so inappropriate, but I have always been naturally drawn to a more sexual vibe. That is just who I am as an artist, and I feel aesthetically, it is a pop, R&B, sexy vibe moment.
DP: Your first major break in the music industry was choreographing for Eminem. Do you prefer singing or dancing more, or do you want to do a leveled balance of both?
BN: To be honest, when people ask me this question, I like to fall under the umbrella of being an artist because there are so many outlets to that. I just love to create. Whether I am writing a song, coming up with melodies, writing songs for other artists, choreographing for other artists, creating choreography for myself – it all falls under that umbrella of being an artist and having that creative outlet. I hate to be defined as, oh, I only like to do this. I am so grateful that I am actually able to create steps, choreography, and write music. It is such a gift.
DP: How would you say you are constantly evolving as an artist?
BN: I feel like I am constantly evolving as an artist because I am inspired. As an artist, you are nothing without inspiration. I feel like you can tell when artists are not inspired because of their work, and I feel like that is sometimes why I have taken a break in the past from putting things out. Because I was not inspired. You are inspired by different things, and hopefully, you want to grow creatively in different directions. I always want to evolve, do something different and cooler, and change the vibe. My inspiration always changes.
DP: You will perform “Ride” on the mainstage at Miami Beach Pride. What are you looking forward to the most about that?
BN: Oh my God, I am so excited. I was originally booked April 2020, and I was mid-training, already putting my set together. My agent kept being like, they still say it is happening, and I was like, are you sure? I don’t know. Everything is being canceled. It ended up getting pushed, and it was supposed to be pushed to the fall of 2020, then it got pushed again. Now, it is happening in September. I am just so excited to be up on the stage and feel that energy. I have not felt the energy of a crowd in so long, especially in Miami. Miami is one of my favorite cities in the world. It has always felt like my second home. I used to go there 3-4 times a year before the pandemic. There is something about it to me that once I get there, I feel this overwhelming feeling of home. Even though I was born and raised in California. So, to be on the stage in a city that I love so much, be with that energy, be in front of a crowd, I am hoping and praying that the energy is going to be the same as I hope it would be.
DP: Do you perform at Pride celebrations often?
BN: I do. I have headlined at quite a few, and I have performed at a lot of Pride events. I am hoping, especially since my album is coming out and I will be on the Miami Pride mainstage, that I will be able to book a whole bunch of Pride shows next year. I am also releasing a new single that is a full dance record. That will be the next single off the album, and it will come out in August. It is, like, the craziest dance record, and that is going to be really fun to perform for Pride.
DP: What does Pride mean to you?
BN: Pride, to me, means so many different things. My family used to tease me all the time as a kid, calling me f*gg** and basically treating me like sh**. I was never supported. So, to me, Pride is the ability to authentically be who you are and to live in a world where you can feel that you can be yourself. You can stand up and be who you are and be proud of it without being scared. My whole childhood, I was always f***ing scared. My uncles were always like, you f***ing f*gg**, this and that. I always felt like I had to try and pretend to be more masculine than I was. So, Pride is being able to be who you are and be proud of it.
DP: What more do you hope to accomplish with your platform?
BN: I hope to inspire younger LGBTQ artists. From around the world, I get a lot of messages, so I hope they see that if I can do it, they can do it. It is still a straight dominated industry, even though there are a lot of LGBTQ artists. I am really hoping that I can inspire people and inspire other artists to come out strong and come out the way they want to be authentically as an artist.
Stay up-to-date with Newberry by following him on Instagram.