The pop star co-wrote Leona Lewis' No. 1 hit Bleeding Love and now has a new album, Departure, in stores May 20.
What's different about Departure?
It's a little more R&B-infused, and it was also written on the piano as opposed to the guitar. It's a 21-year-old male's perspective on women. I came out of a three-year relationship, so that made for some good songwriting.
Why transition from pop to R&B?
I've always known that I've wanted to gravitate toward soul music. My parents' record collection was James Brown, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley. For me, that's where I've wanted to be. I just never pulled the trigger on it.
You lent your voice to two films Horton Hears a Who and Alvin and the Chipmunks. What was that like?
I like to entertain in general; I don't want to be pinned down as just a singer. When they asked me to be [Theodore] in Alvin and the Chipmunks, I flipped out because that was my favorite cartoon.
Did you ever worry that you would become a one-hit wonder?
When you have a song [the 2004 hit Beautiful Soul] that does those kinds of numbers, you all of a sudden have something to top. It can be tough. For me, there is such a thing as having a song that's too big, because it's hard to exceed what you've already done.
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