Miami's Cris Cab on Pharrell: "I Couldn't Ask for a Better Mentor"
Cris Cab was a 15-year-old troubadour who liked to chill on the beach, fish with friends, and do the general Miami teenager thing. But then Pharrell was passed his music by a mutual family friend and took note of the kid's talent.
Fast-forward six years and Cris is a 21-one-year old ready to break out. His latest cuts feature smooth guitar work infused with poppin' reggae beats. A new Pharell-produced single, "Liar Liar," already has over 12 million hits on YouTube and it's a full-blown European smash hit.
So, as Cab finishes his new album, Where I Belong, set to drop this summer, and preps for a European tour, we here at Crossfade caught up with him on the phone. He was sitting at a restaurant, ready to order a burger. But he changed his mind and decided to go with the fish to be healthy.
See also: Miami's Seven Most Essential Rap Anthems
Crossfade: Where did you grow up in Miami?
Cris Cab: I grew up all around. But mostly the Kendall area. I loved to do things on the water, go fishing and stuff like that.
What kind of music did you grow up listening to?
My dad liked to play me a lot of Bee Gees and reggae. So I got really into that.
Pharrell heard you at 15. Then he heard you again at 16 and recognized a change in your craft that made him decide to produce you. What do you think changed?
When I was 15, a mutual friend introduced me to Pharrell. He gave me some advice.
And what was that?
He taught me how to use chord changes. But mostly, he told me to tell a story with my music. Try to get a message out in every song.
What is the worst lie a girl has ever told you?
She said that I danced good.
And you didn't?
Eh... I was OK.
Where is your favorite place to take a girl on a date in Miami?
I really like this place, Ortanique on the Mile. It's got a really interesting fusion going on. I like to take people visiting from out of town as well.
How is it being a 21 year old hanging out with these legends, like Wyclef Jean and Pharrell?
I'm extremely fortunate and blessed. I couldn't ask for better mentors.
Your fashion sense is different than Pharrell's in that it seems less flamboyant. What do you think of Pharrell's hats?
I think it's cool. He's got everyone's attention. Everyone's doggin' him for the hats, but everyone's wearing them now too. So something's working. Why dog him?
I see you have a show in Miami on May 4. You also have an upcoming European tour. Can you talk about the differences in playing to both crowds?
I love playing in Miami. It's like nowhere else. Everyone comes out with a lot of energy. European crowds are great too. Even if they don't know my lyrics, they try to learn them and sing along.
Growing up in Miami, did you do a lot of the open mic scene?
Sure, I did Bardot and I used to grab my guitar and go on stage at Churchill's. I love Bardot, there's great guys running that place.
Which of your work are you most proud of?
Definitely the music video for "Liar Liar." It was so fun to do.
Crossfade's Top Blogs
Cris Cab. As part of Cinco at the Jungle. With DJ Irie, Robbie Hunter Band, Jared Dylan, La Linea, Aaron G Trio, DJ Danny Stern, DJ Drew, Retrokidd, and Javi C. Presented by Brickell Fest Events. Sunday, May 4. Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami. The show starts at 4 p.m. and ends at 11. Tickets cost $58 and up plus fees via brickellfestival.com/cincodemayo/tickets. Call 305-400-7000 or visit jungleisland.com.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.