Cris Cab on Where I Belong: "Great Albums Tell a Story, and That's What I Wanted to Do"

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Most 21 year olds don't spend their days traveling around the world, performing their songs for crowds of adoring fans while collaborating with some of the biggest names in the music industry. 

But Cris Cab is not most 21 year olds.

Thanks to a combination of hard work, determination, talent, and luck, he linked up with singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, musician, and fashion designer Pharrell Williams. 

The Grammy winner took Cab under his wing and exposed him to a world of superstars before young Cris was even out of high school.

Now this 21 year old is getting ready to release his debut album, Where I Belong. So we here at Crossfade caught up with him to get the story behind this first full-length record.

See also: Miami's Cris Cab on Pharrell: "I Couldn't Ask for a Better Mentor"

Crossfade: Tell us about Where I Belong?

Cris Cab: The whole album tells a story, every song builds on that story. Growing up, I listened to so many great albums, and the one thing I realized is that every great album has its own feel. Great albums tell a story, and that's what I wanted to do with mine.

What story do you tell?

It's funny because the story really developed subconsciously, it was never something that I originally set out to do. The songs on this project, I've been writing this music from the ages of 17 to 21, you know? So the whole not-being-in-college, just-being-out-on-my-own grind. The past few years have been a huge time for me to really figure out who I am, who I want to be, what I want to do, and what message I want to send. For a lot of people, college is a time of growth, and I didn't have that. The whole album has a theme of self discovery, of figuring yourself out. 

You've worked with a bunch of big names in the music industry, any special collaborations on the album?

I've definitely been blessed to work with some incredible people. But for this album, with it being my first album, I wanted to keep it very closed. Obviously, I worked with Pharrell and Wyclef, but going into my debut I definitely wanted it to feel like I had a major hand in it. 

So are you in Miami right now?

Yeah, I'm home. I actually just got back. I was in France recently, playing over there. And then I was just in Missouri. It feels good to be here in Miami. 

See also: Five Richest Rappers of 2014

You've toured pretty extensively. What are some of your favorite places to perform?

I really enjoy going over to Europe, it's such a different experience. I love playing in France, Germany, Italy. Scandinavia is great too. I have a lot of fun performing over there.

How does an overseas crowd compare to your hometown fans?

Whenever I play in Miami, there are obviously a lot of friends and family in the audience. Nothing compares to playing at home. But playing for these European crowds, it's just special because a lot of them don't speak English, and they learn to speak it through music. That's why it's always so cool whenever I play over there and they know every lyric and they're singing along to every word. 

Have you connected with any other artist in a similar way to how you connected with Pharrell?

Definitely, man. Of a Revolution, O.A.R., they've been blowing me away musically, and with just how down to earth and grounded they are. Being around them really shows me what I need to know about stage presence and performance. We've been on two tours with them now, and it has been great.

Besides the release of your album, what's next for Cris Cab?

New music, for sure. It feels weird to say, but I'm already starting to work on my second album. Just gearing up. And we still have some tracks left for this album coming up. The third music video is going to come out. I'm about to go on the road with Pharrell for about two months. We're doing a whole European tour. Hopefully, I'll be able to have some more updates around November or December.

It sounds like you've got a lot on your plate.

Yeah, man. But that's what it's all about. Always trying to improve. Trying to be better than you were yesterday. Better than you were the year before. Get more done, accomplish more, and that's what I'm trying to do.

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Cris Cab's Where I Belong Album-Release Party. Saturday, September 6. Hyde Beach at the SLS Hotel, 1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The show starts at 8 p.m. and ends at 11. Tickets cost $20 and up plus fees via hydebeach.com/liarliar. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-674-1701 or visit hydebeach.com.

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

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