Travie McCoy is best known as being the charismatic frontman for Gym Class Heroes, a hip-hop hybrid band that scored hits with "Cupid's Chokehold/Breakfast in America" and "Clothes Off!" But the singer has branched out with "Lazarus" - his solo album featuring Cee-Lo, T-Pain, Bruno Mars and Travis Barker, among others - which hit the streets Tuesday, June 8.
McCoy, who performs Tuesday, June 8 at the Pompano Beach Amphitheatre alongside 3OH!3 and Cobra Starship, talked to Miami.com about his new album, moving to Aventura last year and his past relationship with "I Kissed a Girl" pop princess Katy Perry.
What were you going for with your solo album?
Basically just a feel-good, summer-sound record, you know what I mean? I tried not to get too introspective and deep and personal on this record, to try to keep it fun. I think it's definitely gonna be a record that's synonymous with the summer of 2010. There was a conscious effort to make a lot of uptempo, breezy, feel-good songs.
You chose a bunch of different producers for this album. What do you look for in a producer for a certain song?
Definitely not names - I mean, a lot of people go for who's hot right now, and who's making the smashes. A lot of the producers I worked with are up-and-coming. I prefer creative people, and a lot of the producers I worked with are friends of mine, and I wanted to show the world that there are a lot of people out there aside from Pharrell and Kanye and Timbaland. I mean, I love their stuff, but I wanted to give young producers a chance as well.
So are Gym Class Heroes still on?
Of course, of course. There's a big misperception when people found out I'm doing this record. I like to look at it more as a side project put out on a bigger scale as opposed to me going solo. A lot of people, they hear the word "solo" and they go, "Oh no." But we're actually 12 demos deep into the new Gym Class record, so Gym Class Heroes is alive and strong.
I understand you live in Miami now. When did you move here?
Yeah, man. Last September. I actually wrote half of the last Gym Class record in Miami. There's just a vibe - I just get really, really inspired down there, and I was making all these trips there to work, and I was like it'd be a lot easier for me just to move there. I've been there since September in Aventura, and I love it.
What are some of your favorite hangouts?
Honestly, the Hit Factory [recording studio]. I'm kind of a reclusive dude, you know? I go out every now and then, to the Fontainebleau a couple times, but I have a studio at my place and the Hit Factory is like a 10-minute drive from my place.
Where do you think your eclectic musical taste came from?
A lot of that has to do with my dad is a musician, and I grew up hearing all different types of music. My dad's a bass player, so I heard Philly soul music, like Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Hall & Oates - from that to Phil Collins to Guns 'N Roses to Red Hot Chili Peppers, Curtis Mayfield. So it was really an eclectic upbringing musically. And my mom would listen to everything from Poison to Sade. So I was really lucky.
Are you and Katy still on good terms?
I haven't talked to her in a very long time, but I have no bad blood and I wish her the best, you know? In my eyes, that was a long time ago, about a year or year and a half since we split, so I've moved on and she's moved on, and there's definitely no bad blood.
Travie McCoy. Photo: Jeff Christensen/AP