Jamie Foxx is on such a roll that he didn’t even need to put out an album to become a chart-topping singer.
The Oscar-winning actor became a Grammy-nominated singer thanks to his No. 1 hit from 2004, the Kanye West-Twista collaboration “Slow Jamz.” And he followed up that smash with an even bigger one this year, singing the hook on West’s Ray Charles-inspired hit “Gold Digger,” which remained perched at No. 1 for weeks.
But now Foxx is looking for success on his own. He’s releasing the album “Unpredictable” on Tuesday. Though it features cameo appearances from West, Mary J. Blige, Ludacris and others, whether the album hits or misses will be squarely on Foxx’s shoulders.
AP: You had a CD out 11 years ago. What made you want to go back to record music since you had so much success in the acting realm?
Foxx: Consolidate the bills (laughs). After the “Slow Jamz” record, I was like, I still ain’t gonna do nothing, but then when (singing the hook to “Gold Digger”) “She take my money!” — when that hit, it was like, come on man, let’s go get this, and bring R&B back, let R&B crash into hip-hop and bring some of the music back. And plus, this is going to help for when I go out on the road, singing and stuff like that, and kind of putting it all together. I’m going to be doing spot dates in different cities to kind of get people used to the music, and probably like next fall we’ll gear it up and go get at ’em!
AP: You said you didn’t want to do a “Jamie Foxx thing” on this record — what would that have been like?
Foxx: The Jamie Foxx thing is how you get in to your own thing and you sing your own songs and you write these cushy songs and try to be safe. We just linked up with the hottest cats. I let them know my ideas and they would let me know if it was cool.
AP: “Gold Digger” was one of the year’s biggest hits. Now that you’ve had such amazing success, you’re probably getting a lot of attention from gold diggers yourself. How do you handle that?
Foxx: I appreciate women that want to be with someone who’s doing something. I don’t like a woman who has low self-esteem. Because for me, we’re not saying she’s a gold digger. The song is really not about a gold digger. It’s about a girl who’s not messing with no broke cats. ’Cause I got friends like that. I even tell my sister, I tell anybody, we’re not hanging around nobody who ain’t doing nothing. Potential is great, but ... I think it enriches us when we’re hanging out with people, as long as you’re doing something too.
AP: So I couldn’t just be pretty and unemployed?
Foxx: No no no. That ain’t acceptable. When I was in my 20s, yeah — you’ve got a nice body, we can roll. But I need to be with somebody who is doing something, knows how to act when we go out ... and usually the girls who do hang out with the guys who have money do know how to act.
AP: You’ve been working on the “Miami Vice” movie — I heard it’s been a hard time.
Foxx: It’s been a tough shoot. It’s been a very tough shoot, and we’ve been there for 10 months, we finished it finally. I know [co-star] Colin ]Farrell] has gone into rehab now because he had back injuries and things like that so we have our thoughts for him, hoping he gets on his feet and recovers and comes on back, because he’s a great guy ... hopefully the movie will come out and it will be fantastic.
AP: What was so hard about it?
Foxx: I can’t even put specifics on it. It was a real tough shoot. It was at night, we shot a lot of nights, a lot of hurricanes. We had to buckle down a couple of times and had to evacuate.
AP: You once said you have to be careful about what films you pick now that you’ve become an A-list star. What does that mean for your future roles?
Foxx: You just want to pick the ones that have meat on the bones. Like, with “Miami Vice,” what’s lucky is you have [Oscar-nominated director] Michael Mann who’s shooting it so it really is a film. So the next thing I am going to do is with Eddie Murphy and Beyonce in “Dreamgirls.”
AP: Do you think fans are more eager to see musicals these days?
Foxx: I know the thing that we have to be careful with is doing a musical. We have to do a movie that happens to be a musical. If it’s too musical and it doesn’t become a movie, then we’re in trouble. Whenever we’re not singing, that means the drama of it has to be hot — if not, we’re in trouble.
AP: You talked about doing standup again.
Foxx: Oh yeah. Not for a while, but I’ll still be on stage. I sneak on stage at the Laugh Factory and do my thing. I think it’s important because it kind of keeps you grounded, you come out of the clouds. You can float up into the clouds with people telling you that you’re this and you’re that ... and next thing you know you’re behind your gates and you’ve got security and you’re doing all these things and you slip off away from where real folks are. So going up and doing standup it makes it easier for me to stay connected.
AP: Have you gotten to your point where you’re always on point or do you sometimes bomb?
Foxx: You’ve gotta work your thing out. Most of the time, you try and stay as tight as you can. They’re going to give you a little bit of a cushion, but don’t push it.