Q&A: Nick Cannon Talks New Music, Howard University & Wild N’ Out

By Joseph Gaither  |  04/23/2018

Nick Cannon

At only 37 years old, Nick Cannon is a modern-day Superman. Juggling a multitude of hats, such as TV host/ personality, actor, manager, TV executive, entrepreneur, comedian, philanthropist, activist, and even a student at Howard University, the question that seems to rise is “What can’t he do?” Let’s not forget, the Californian native has his own music label and has been working behind the scenes with other artists for years. Whether the world was jamming to his music, laughing with/at him in movies and his utterly hilarious comedy sketches, or watching him host shows that connected families, Nick Cannon has been a heavy influence in the entertainment industry for a plethora of years.

We caught up with Nick to talk about his new music, including the sensual trilogy, F*ck Him and his upcoming album Model Music; his influence on hot new stars such as H.E.R. and Kehlani; being a student at Howard University; and the new seasons of both Lip Sync Battle Shorties and Wild N’ Out!

You’re back in the studio and have released a number of new singles like "Motivation", "Only You", and the most recent “F*ck Him,” and even the Singing with Dream Girls EP. Each of sounds are different from what we’ve heard from you before. What triggered the new sound and vibe?

The new sound really came from me having done it all. I didn’t want to do the usual rapping. I wanted to show my singing side. “F*ck Him” is actually a trilogy! “F*ck Him 2" is coming, and then, the third installment will follow. As far as the new sound, most people don’t even know that I can sing and that I can play like seven different instruments. I’ve always sung and wanted to show my singing side. I’m a pastor’s kid, I grew up in the church singing! I wanted to speak a message and uplift others. I was inspired by cats like Drake, Triple X, etc.

Nick Cannon

via Ncredible Entertainment

"The Motivation" video featured your grandma and was inspired by her and your daughter. How did that come about?

Basically, it was all my grandma. She wanted me to use my voice and platform to make an uplifting message. She heard one of my other records where I was cursing.... And Instead of “Bitch” this and "clubs" that, she said it should be something I wouldn’t have to turn down in the car with my 6-year-old. She was disappointed that I wasn't staying true to who I am and using my voice to uplift others. That’s how the song and message came about. So, from there we went down in the south, in North Carolina and shot the video. My great grandma was the face of all of that.

You have an album coming this summer! What can we expect from Model Music?

It is coming in May, and it actually started off as a playlist of music that models like to listen to and the type of music they vibe with. I was inspired by fashion week and the models. The whole world knows that I love fashion... and I love models. One thing is, I don’t like to ride waves, I want to be the ocean! I got with artists like Quavo, Blacc Youngsta, Yo Gotti... from that whole camp to all of the new artists that are signed to me. It’s a movie. Natalie Nicole, Wiz the Kid, all of these people and I got with them and really just tapped into something special. I kind of like... just Quincy Jones’d the whole project. I just produced and kind of put all of this music together of some really dope artists and we made some dope stuff!

You're honestly a modern-day superman with how you balance music, TV, hosting, comedy, business ventures, etc. It seems like you’re always working. How do you make time for free time and family?

I’ve done everything I wanted to do. I don’t even consider it working and having to balance anything, because it’s just normal for me. It’s not really considered “work.” I never went to school and that was something I hadn’t done. I wanted to make a difference and impact the culture.

What triggered you to want to go to Howard University?

Even though it’s not like I’m acing every test and stuff. I’m there. I have to be there at 8:15 am. I have professors. I have to deal with midterms, but I love it and being able to just make a change. But, education has always been important and holds the key to changing and impacting the culture to make a difference. That’s one thing they can’t take away from you... your education. Real success isn’t fame and the money, it’s education.

You’ve mentored AMAZING artists such as H.E.R. and Kehlani. How have mentoring these artists been rewarding for you? How has it helped you with your growth?

Yeah man, just seeing them sell out shows and arenas is amazing. I discovered H.E.R. when she was about 9 years old. People don’t know that H.E.R. could play different instruments too! Even with Kehlani, like when I found her I would be working with all of these young artists and I would kind of just be playing in the back, but I would still do the majority of instructing and producing. When I found Kehlani, I discovered her at a time where she was in a bad place and on the wrong path. It’s truly been amazing to watch them just do their thing and kill it.

After the huge success of Season 1, Lip Sync Battle Shorties Season 2 has been announced. What can we expect from this season?

Yeah, I’ve hosted talent shows for years and these kids are amazing. You can expect more amazingly dope kids, just killing it. I’m just trying to put on for talented kids and give them a platform to be who they are and show their talents.

You’re shooting Season 12 of Wild N’ Out! What will we see this time around?

Yeah, we’re shooting in Atlanta. Season 11 is about to air. However, we are already shooting for season 12. And you can expect southern vibes, more comedy, and really putting on for Atlanta and the southern culture!

What does the rest of 2018 have in store for Nick Cannon?

Of course, we got the album coming, you can expect us to come to a city near you! We are bringing the Wild N’ Out tour back! We’re gonna hit up some cities and do the same type of comedy on stage, but I will also be touring on my own showcasing my music.