INTERVIEW: Big Sean Talks iHeartRadio Music Festival, Boss Moves & More
By Isha Thorpe
August 24, 2017
Big Sean headlined the first night of the 2017 Billboard Music Festival – and man, did he shut the stage down.
The Def Jam rapper performed a number of his chart-topping singles like “Moves,” “Bounce Back,” “Blessings,” “Clique,” “My Last,” and much more. The crowd couldn’t get enough of his high-energy, lit set and we couldn’t either. It was definitely the top highlight of the night.
Plus, before he left the stage, Sean made sure to share some of his wise words of motivation. He didn’t want any of his fans watching him that night to stop believing that they can do anything they set their minds to. This motivational speaker role is one of the many things we discussed with Sean, before his performance.
iHeartRadio decided to head to the Billboard Music Festival to chat with Sean about a number of topics. From his music, his upcoming iHeartRadio Music Festival performance, his charity work and more; Sean was an open book when he invited us to speak with him in his dressing room backstage at the concert.
Take a look at iHeartRadio’s interview with music superstar Big Sean below.
You're about to perform for your fans soon. What exactly do you want to bring to the stage each time you're on it?
Every time, my goal is to make people feel upgraded from when they came. Make them feel like they [are] on a high or like they're leaving [as] a better version of themselves or motivated… just something towards that direction.
“Bounce Back” went 3x platinum and “Moves” went platinum. How does that feel?
“No Favors” went gold, too, I think. Feels great (laughs). The album got certified, too. But, it feels really good. I'm thankful. I know I wouldn't be here without the fans. The people who download it, stream it, buy it… I Decided is a special album. It's different than any album I [have] ever done and it's an album for the dreamers. For the people who need inspiration.
It's not for everybody. It's really for the ones who really got their whole [lives] in front of them and [have] just big goals and need the extra inspiration. I know I needed that at a point in my life. So, songs like “Sacrifices” or “Bigger Than Me,” to “No Favors” and “Jump Out the Window,” “Bounce Back,” “The Light;” it all has a message to it.
What do you have planned for our iHeartRadio Music Festival?
We're still working on it, honestly. It's coming up. It might be new music out by then. Who knows? Maybe, maybe not… So, we just gotta wait and see what it's gonna be. We're still in our heads and that's the type of team we are. We go with the flow. We go with the times and how we feel in it.
What exactly made you want to sign on to perform at our iHeartRadio Music Festival this year?
The support from iHeart has been tremendous, I love it. I do a lot of things for them and they do a lot of things for me. So, it's definitely a great relationship… I'm trying to build more and more with iHeart, do special things and this is the second time or maybe even third time performing [for iHeartRadio]. So, anybody who supported me like how iHeart supported me, you know [it’s] nothing but respect for that.
I also saw that you got a Humanitarian award recently. How was that?
It was great. My foundation -- my mom runs my foundation. It was for Project Knapsack. That's one of the few things the Sean Anderson Foundation does. That's when we link kids from Detroit, specifically Bates Academy, with kids in Soweto, Africa. They're pen pals. It just teaches them how big the world is. It teaches them to be cultured. It teaches them to have a mind outside of just being in the city and vice versa. And on top of that, they get school supplies and things that they wouldn't normally get all the time. I feel like that's great to see. Some of them, I'm very proud of and I think the whole program in general [has] affected like 20,000 kids. I feel good about that.
We're also working on Mogul Prep, which is actually a curriculum. My mom was a schoolteacher. We keep developing it as time goes. But, it's a curriculum teaching people the ins and outs of the music industry [like] different jobs because coming up, I just wanted to be a rapper. But, that's only what I saw on TV. I didn't know that there [were] 50 other jobs that go behind it that are just as important.
From publisher, publicist to a creative director, a lighting technician and a sound guy… all these different jobs. As time progresses, just like technology progresses and phones change, I feel that education needs to change, too. And I think this is something we need to start implementing in school systems.
If there was one thing you could tell each and every one of your fans, what would it be?
I'd just tell them I love them. Truly. I'm not just saying that. I got real love for them and thank you for giving me such a long career already. I feel like we're just getting started still somehow. But, they're my motivation to keep going and to keep doing things when I'm exhausted and sick and just worn out. It's not the money. It's for my family and for my fans.
Where do you see your music or yourself in the next five years?
The next five years [I'm] bossin' up more and more, doing whatever I feel like doing. That's the beauty of life. Sometimes, it isn't always all mapped out in front of you. But, when you live with a open heart and you live righteous, good things come to you when you put that out and you vibrate on that level. So, I'm gonna just keep doing that. Putting those good vibes out there and just see where it takes me.
Photos: Rachel Kaplan for iHeartRadio