Since his self-titled debut album was released in 1998, the multi-talented Tyrese Gibson has continued to raise his own bar time and time again. Growing up in a tough town with an alcoholic mother, things could have easily gone awry for him, but Tyrese vowed to never drink himself, and turned into an advocate for positive living.
With over 15 years of acting on television and in movies, professional modeling gigs and some hit songs under his belt, the past two years have seen the enigmatic Gen-Xer turn to writing. The result was his 2011 New York Times best-selling book How to Get Out of Your Own Way.
Now, as he celebrates the release of his fifth studio album Open Invitation, Tyrese also basks in the continued success of his book, a third powerful box office run with the Transformers franchise, and a legion of fans who look to him for advice and encouragement on a regular basis.
So where does Tyrese find the juice to maintain such a hectic lifestyle? What does he consider a waste of a day? How did he go from writing a comic book to a motivational memoir? And which R&B diva stepped in to the room during our interview? Read on as UrbLife.com gets a dose of Tyrese’s “Tough Love” with a gem passed on to him by Will Smith!
What got you into the literary world?
Tyrese: I never went into this whole book writing thing thinking, “I want to be an author.” For me, it would add another slice to my name. I just felt like the timing was right not to be able to write a book that’s cold, raw, and uncomfortable truth. It’s my truth, it’s not everybody’s truth.
Based on the feedback and the energy it’s gotten – it’s already on its 15th reprint – a lot of people have been able to connect and identify with the content of this book. I get these tweets that my book is a part of these book clubs, being sent to prisons. It’s just one of those things where I have a problem with dysfunction in every capacity, but whatever way that I’m able to get rid of it and plant the seeds and try to bring love and peace into people’s households, then that was my motivation.
Plus, all of the folks that are inspired to get to the next level in their life and career, I wanted to be able to put that energy out there too, and hope that they were able to grab their hands around the content of the book and take flight. It’s all worked out beautifully.
A couple of years ago you released the Mayhem comic book. What originally inspired you to get into comics?
Tyrese: To be honest, every year like most of these actors in these big movies, we have to go to Comic-Con because it’s such an influential demographic of comic book fans out there that will go to the movies, and will blog, tweet, and write about how much they love these movies. I went out there and experienced Comic-Con two or three years in a row. This passion for comics in this world from these fans is very inspiring.
I’m always motivated by passion. They’re dressing up in their favorite costumes; it’s just so much love and passion for it. I was like, “Let me not just show up to this, but try to add to this world.” That’s kind of what happened. I didn’t grow up on comics. I was inspired by comics from going to Comic-Con.
What are some positives that you have gotten from your fans around the world through the Transformers movies?
Tyrese: It’s very humbling for one. I just think that it’s unreal. Man I’m from a little ghetto city called Watts, this little bitty city. My mama gave me the name Tyrese, so for me to go to other cities and countries with people that barely speak any English know my name is mind blowing enough.
I grew up watching Transformers, I’m a real Transformers fan, and luckily my mama never stopped me from watching cartoons. It’s not like they had to educate me on the world and tell me all about it. I was very familiar with Transformers, very excited to do it, and it’s unreal that the opportunity presented itself. We’re at Transformers 3 now and hopefully 4.
You have a music career, an acting career, you wrote a book; and on top of that you’re a father and a family man. How do you balance your life? How do you find any peace of mind?
Tyrese: Classic! I’m on the phone with you and Faith Evans just pulled up at my gate. Motion baby, we’re in motion! I got Faith Evans singing on the “Stay” remix. That’s what it’s about for me, I just love being in motion. I can’t stop, I refuse to stop. I love work, I love being busy! I’m just a make-it-happen type of guy.
So many people out here talk a good game, but ain’t doing sh*t. I’m the man that’s trying to grind it out. I’m really in the trenches, in the thick of it all. Just trying to make it happen. That’s what I’m all about. If I’m not in motion at least 15 hours of the day, then it’s a waste of a day for me. There’s never a dull moment in my world, and the people around me know two days are never the same.
Give us some of your best motivational advice.
Tyrese: You can’t get points today for yesterday’s game. A lot of people are arrogant and cocky about sh*t they accomplished 5 or 10 years ago. It’s like, get over it, it’s a new day. What can you do today that can create a shift in the universe? That’s what it’s all about for me.
God will never give you something somebody else is supposed to have. People are threatened and insecure and intimidated by someone else’s blessings. It ain’t yours. I’m not the wealthiest guy, not the most accomplished in music and movies, I’ve definitely done my thing but I don’t want Will Smith box office receipts, I want mine. I don’t want no one else’s record sales, these are mine. I’m very secure in what I have, and if I wanted something different, then I have to work even harder to do this or do that. That’s just the way it goes.
[Faith begins singing in the background]
If you had to give someone who wanted your career some tough love, what would it be?
Tyrese: Tough love would be, you can often tell how far your life and career will go based on the five people you spend the most time with. If you have a problem with your life, you should have a problem with the people in your life. You’re now a victim in your own house. You’re on the receiving end of whatever they decide to do to your life. You have to question self-love. Do you really love yourself if you’re allowing these people to still be in your life? I got this thing, that there’s an expiration date on loyalty. Loyalty is used and abused these days.
Watch Tyrese’s “Stay” video featuring Taraji P. Henson