Preparing for my interview with heatseeking r&b singer/songwriter Oneinthe4rest was a dream. His talent leaps out of the speakers the moment you hear his voice. Not only that, but he’s endlessly entertaining, having built a mystique and peerless pedigree at a very young age. I was excited to meet him.
He’s riding high on the success of his first official single, “Jiu Jitsu,” a buoyant and infectious collaboration with Chris Brown. He also wrote Brown’s latest smash, “Party,” and has written for Nicki Minaj, Big Sean, Tyga, Kid Ink and many more.
We met conference room on the top floor of a massive West LA high rise. 4rest, aka Melvin Moore, strode in with the confidence and class of an industry vet. We covered a lot:
How did the sessions for “Jiu Jitsu” come about?
Just good vibes, really. Just like any other session. We probably do like eight songs a night. “Jiu Jitsu” happened to be one of the special ones. I did it with a friend of mine, Prince Kreyshawn, and A.O., Triza, and “Keyz.” Those were the producers. It’s just a vibe. It wasn’t really thought out too much. We were trying to talk about love in a new way, in a fly way.
How do you do eight songs in one night?
You just need really dope beats. And some alcohol, probably. I don’t always drink it. But it’s just a vibe.
What alcohol is good for recording?
Any alcohol. It’s not about the alcohol, really. It’s about the way that it loosens up the vibe. I don’t use it all the time. Some nights I don’t really do anything. Cause I don’t really drink or smoke. But it keeps the vibe. Everybody else is drunk so that keeps the energy turnt. Might be a few young ladies in there. Keep the room smelling good. They come in, smells better, you know what I’m saying?
Tell me what it was like growing up in Kansas? Was LA a big adjustment for you?
Huge. Kansas is extremely slow. LA is one of the fastest places. New York is the fastest. But Kansas is one of the slowest for sure. Crabs in a bucket. But it’s good for roots. There’s a lot of jazz. They have juke joint nights where you might catch your guys from church, you might catch the everyday singers. Everybody comes out, all the best musicians. Kansas is like the place you go to raise your family. LA is like, go be a star.
Would you ever go back? Say if you were 50 years old and you accomplished everything you wanted to?
Definitely. It’s really flat, lots of land. I grew up around farms and lakes. It’s a cool vibe there.
Is that where you cut your teeth musically? At jams and whatnot?
No actually I grew up around it because my dad was a percussionist in a gospel band, my mom sang Broadway songs, she was into theater.
Tell me about your name. How’d you come up with it?
Honestly, I wanted people to think it was a band. Cause that’s where I come from, and that’s where I wanted to go. I play guitar. And it’s also symbolic of me being in my own lane. Oneinthe4rest.
How’s your family responding to your success?
At this point they’re used to it. They’re like, he’s in LA, he’s doing stuff, he’s working with everybody. I think when I come home and do something grand, my mom will be like ‘What the…”. Right now she’s just chilling and praying and supporting me. I don’t think they fully grasp things like I have a song with Chris Brown and it’s been spinning on the radio.
I noticed your face is covered a lot. Is that intentional?
Absolutely. I want people to pay attention to what the music sounds like. Today’s generation is really caught up in what you look like. There’s a lot of Photoshop and…I’m just not a fan. I don’t even know if women are real anymore. [laughs] My reason for doing that was to say, pay attention to the music, who cares what I look like?