After the "down" tone that pervaded his chart-topping sophomore album, 2011's "Take Care," Drake says he's charting a different course for his next outing, which he's already started recording.
"I think my mood will be reflected in the tempos I choose for the music," the Canadian singer and rapper told Billboard.com during a conference call to promote the upcoming U.S. amphitheatre run of his Club Paradise Tour. "A lot of 'Take Care,' it's down... and I think a lot of it had to do with being back in Toronto, getting reacquainted with the life I had before (fame) and difficulties with that, and at the same time trying to express excitement, express joy...
"Now I'm in a very, very, very, very different place than I've ever been, really focused on myself, really focused on my health, my body, my mind, really wanting to be the best I can possibly be...I'm in a different mindset now that I'm very proud of... It's going to be a very interesting album -- probably, to be honest with you, conceptually one of the most exciting projects I've worked on, just 'cause there's so many new things going on in my life."
Chief among those, Drake added, is relocating from Toronto to Los Angeles, which he said has made a distinct difference in the feeling of the new material. "I still live in Toronto and love the city," he said, "but there's just so much going on for me in the U.S. I recently made the move to L.A. There's a new atmosphere. I'm getting to know new people...Anybody knows that when it's new, that's when I thrive. When there's new things to talk about that's really when I get off." Drake didn't say much about who he planned to work with on the project, though he's recently made comments about doing more with Jamie xx, who produced "Take Care's" title track (which features Rihanna), as well as 2 Chainz and longtime creative partner Noah "40" Shebib.
Drake's primary focus, however, is on the Club Paradise Tour's next U.S. leg, which launches May 7 in Concord, Calif. He explained that he set out to "over-extend myself a bit from a budget and production standpoint (to) give people an absolutely stunning show from top to bottom." The package includes J. Cole, Waka Focka Flame, Meek Mill, 2 Chainz and French Montana, but Drake explained, "I don't want it to feel like a bunch of opening acts and then the headliner. With the stage, every act that comes out, something about the stage changes... It's going to keep people's attention. It's going to be an energetic and very interesting evening for sure." There are also ripe prospects for collaborating, as Drake notes that he'll have recorded in some way with all of the other artists by the time the tour goes out.
"I know a lot of these guys very well; not only am I a fan of their music, but I have very strong alliances with these guys," he said. "I guess it's safe to say now that anybody I didn't have a song with before I have a song with now. I made sure of that. I want to go out on the tour with the most exciting artists right now and I want to make sure I have songs all of them." That includes Rick Ross' "Stay Schemin'," which Drake and Montana feature on, and Waka's "Round of Applause." Drake also promised, without getting specific, that "fans are going to get some exciting new musical material that will probably end up dropping a few days before the tour, so we can play them on the tour, which was really my concept.
"If we start getting really into and start vibing, maybe the last few nights it's a collaboration show. Maybe we do all our songs on the stage together, making exciting moments for people that are not just about seeing all of us individually."