He was taken under the wing of award winning actor, Will Smith, executive produced the film Underclassman and was named one of the most successful African American men Under 30. So why is Nick Cannon one of the most underrated businessmen, actors, and entertainers in the industry? Crossroad Magazine got a chance to speak with Nick in an exclusive interview where the 30-year-old entrepreneur, musician, executive, Top 40 radio host, actor and not to mention husband discusses how he’s been able to handle the heat and pressures that come with the business. At 30, Nick is definitely in a league of his own — and he’s just getting started.
You were very close with your mother and grandmother. What type of life lessons did they teach you? How did it prepare you for the Entertainment industry? They always told me to stay grounded and keep God first. When it comes to the entertainment industry which is probably one of the most non-grounded businesses that exist it actually assists quite a bit.
What was one of your earliest failures/disappointments? Every night on that comic stage, getting up there and telling jokes whether it was getting paid, sometimes it was nothing, sometimes it was a meal or $7 a night for a set, just hoping one day it would all pay off. Sometimes, it might go so bad you just want to give and get a job — I met that early on.
What was one of your earliest successes? On the stage. Being one of the youngest to win the Bay Area comedy festival. Being a teenager and being in The Improv and getting discovered by producers of television shows. Those things happened when I was a teen.
How do you respond to people saying ‘Nick Cannon is Mariah’s waterboy’? Or Nick Cannon puts his career on the back burn for Mariah Carey? (Laughs) I mean it’s a lot of worse things people could be saying. I definitely take it with a grain of salt. I address in my new standup act that will be debuting soon. It’s funny to me because I was taught that as long as they’re still talking you don’t have a problem. It’s when they’re not talking about that you have a problem. I understand what this industry is and I understand that there’s a lot of negativity out there but it’s all attention at the end of the day. It’s what you do with that attention and how you guide it and how you take your time in the spotlight to do positive things.
Eminem made some remarks about you and your wife via Twitter. You’ve had a larger audience than him on the site. Why did you feel the need to respond? At the end of the day, as much I want to be positive and lead by good example and know not to act on my emotions, sometimes when it comes to issues like family or love ones you kind of just act out emotionally. I’m not apologetic for that at all.
Why do you think people underestimate you? I don’t know why. It could be because people have always perceived me as a young person which is not a bad thing but I embrace that as well. I like being an underdog. I like them to never see me coming. I encourage that. If that’s what it is. I’d rather get this quiet money. In due time, they’ll see. Hard work always pays off.
We see celebrities “eating cake” because of the words they say on Twitter all the time. How much of a social responsibility do you think celebs have when it comes to communicating via social media? I love Twitter because it allows people to be who they actually are and not what the media, their label or publicist tries to paint them to be because at the end of the day we’re all humans. We all get our feelings hurt. We all say certain things like everybody else does. I always step out and say, I’m not a role model — never planned on being one, never wanted to be one. What I will accept is that I’m a real model because a role is something that you play. I’m gonna say things on Twitter all the time that some people ain’t gonna agree with but at least you can respect the fact that I’m being real with who I am.
Do you feel pressure or corporal responsibility when tweeting? I don’t really feel the pressure because like I said, I am who I am because this is the way I was raised. And I consider myself being raised extremely well. But at the end of the day I am a 30 year old man and I’m not gonna bite my tongue just because someone is not doing their parenting job properly and their kid is on Twitter at 2:00 am in the morning. I take in consideration what my family is gonna say. I take in consideration how I’m being represented and hopefully that falls inline with the same morals and aspects of everybody else that is looking up to me.
Some say you were poised to be the next Will Smith. Even Will took you under his wing, will you ever return to the big screen? Absolutely! People don’t understand that all the money in movies kind of went away especially when it comes to black movies. I had to go get my paper right. And now, I can finance and produce my own movies at this point. I was setting up an empire, a business to where the next movie you see me in will be on a different level.
Although men such as you, Will Smith, Tyler Perry and Barack Obama have taken the Executive seat, very few African American men are found in these positions. Why do you think? how do we change that? By being an example. imagine how the world is going to change in the next 15-20 years that all these young black kids that are in school can look to the White House and see somebody that looks like them. That’s never happened before. As much as the young kids in the generation before would say “One day, I’m going to be President.” It was a farfetched dream but now it’s more than a reality. It’s been done before. I always say we were given less than and made more than so imagine now that they put us in even playing fields — it’s gonna be game over.
What are the advantages/disadvantages to being “behind-the scenes”? Some of the advantages are that you get to be quiet. You get to be creative and make a lot of money but it doesn’t live or die on your personal performance. But some of the disadvantages are that as well. When it comes to the performer in me, it’s like almost having to take a backseat. i get the itch every now and then like, “Man, I can’t wait to get back out there!”
You also started NCredible Entertainment. What kind of music are you listening to right now? So much different style. I’m a huge Gospel fan so I’m still listening to Marvin Sapp and Smokey Norful but at the same time, I make Hip-Hop music. I’m listening to everybody from Roscoe Dash to Wale and also a musician trying to tap into our culture with artists like Solomon Burke or Billie Holiday. I DJ so I listen to a little bit of everything and I host a morning show on Top 40 so I gotta know all that stuff and there are some amazing Pop songs. I can’t even front that new Lady Gaga song is a smash.
How is NCredible Entertainment different from other celebrity “vanity” labels? I feel we definitely have a niche market to where the majority of the people that are signed to my label young talent and they’re growing and developing so we have time to build a fan base, their craft and their art. It’s wide open and on a certain level I monopolize at this point in my career it’s no longer about how successful I can be, its allowing other people to be successful and accomplish their dreams.
An fears as a young executive entrepreneur? If so, how do you tackle them? I’m never fearful of anything. Obstacles and hurdles are meant to jump over so I welcome them.
What legacy do you plan to leave behind personally and professionally? I want to represent the goodness in life. When it comes to professionally, I’d definitely say I want to be known as someone who made people smile. Personally, my footprint that I would like to leave is helping people understand that you can live life in a positive way — being able to leave this place better than when I got here.
Any questions, comments and remarks you’d like to leave us with? Get ready for the takeover! (Laughs) The plan is unfolding beautifully. Follow me on twitter @NickCannon, Facebook.com/nickcannon and nickcannon.com
Source: Crossroad Magazine/ Nick Cannon Archives