Having worked on the soundtrack for Gatorade's campaign "G Series: Evolve & Before/During/After," taking on the world of advertising (Gillette and Marvel Vs Capcom 3), and most recently producing a song for Mercedes-Benz, there's no denying that David Banner is taking his creativity to new heights.
"This has actually been the best year of my life," Banner tells Billboard.com's the Juice. His work for the Mercedes-Benz campaign spawned the song "Benz" with Estelle and Daley, who he recently performed at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show. "You have three artists who are at different points [in] their careers but still have that burning flame to be the best at what they do," Banner says.
Garnering movie deals, such as scoring the lead dance sequence in upcoming film, "Footloose" (Sept. 2011), he has been doing just that - striving to be the best. With his newest ventures in mind, Banner mentions that he's always been into entrepreneurship but what really sparked his interest in the business side of musicianship was what he went through while working on relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
"Nobody really gave me a hand, played my records or helped me after I had done all the stuff that I did and it was really hard for me," Banner says. "Katrina was my recession." It was because of that, that Banner began looking towards other means of success. "At one point, I was willing to give it all up," he says. "God forced me to find other ways of being successful. I said I would never be in that situation again, where music was the only thing, [where] rapping was the only thing that I was doing."
Banner says meeting Jimmy Smith from TBWA\Chiat\Day and working with Gatorade was a life changing experience. "I can do commercials and score movies for the rest of my life," Banner says.
Working on campaigns such as Gatorade, he says, has allowed him to explore his creativity. In order to combat the uniformity he describes as common in today's music, he released last year's collaborative album "Death of a Pop Star" with 9th Wonder, which he claims was the "most political" album of the year. "I'm doing it not by talking about it but by being an example. I always tell people, for me, where I'm from, 'Death of a Popstar' is not what my core audience wanted. I put my career up for what I believe."
Although songs such as "Get Like Me" and "Play" have allowed him to be where he is today, he proposes that there needs to be more of a balance. "In order to save that kind of music and not burn it out, we can't do that all the time," he says, also giving advice to up and coming artists. He suggests that they don't chase stardom. "Stop chasing the light. You are the light. If you stand still and shine bright enough, everything will come to you."
The first single off his next solo project, which he says will more likely be released by the beginning of next year (2012), will be a song titled "Malcolm," which he describes as a new-aged Public Enemy. "It's the music [like] 'Get Like Me,' but with the message of "Death of a Popstar," Banner says. "It's a good compromise between what people want from me and what I want to do."
David Banner is one to take matters into his own hands. Banner has partnered with Corey Smyth, of Blacksmith Management, and Samantha Selolwane to launch a music house/production company called ABV. Under ABV, Banner and partners will be producing music for commercials, as for his former projects, and putting out movies. "I have to create my own situations and really, that's the thing that I'm most excited about."