Travie McCoy is a happy dude.
The 6-foot-5 frontman of Gym Class Heroes exudes a cheery attitude; he even glows about sitting in a comfortable chair.
"This is the first time I've sat in a chair where I can wiggle my feet. This is so awesome," McCoy, 28, says with a huge smile during an interview. "I feel like a little kid."
That kind of jovial attitude is all over his solo debut, "Lazarus," out this week. But McCoy acknowledges that the album didn't start off with that mood.
"A lot of the songs, they all had kind of a dark tone to them and they were really sad and somber," he said. "I didn't want it to go down that road. So I kind of reevaluated everything and I kind of put a lot of those songs to the side."
McCoy — who's going by his nickname Travie, instead of Travis, so listeners feel more connected to him — moved to Miami to record most of the album, which features T-Pain, Cee-Lo, Travis Barker and newcomer Bruno Mars. Mars appears on the album's first single, the feel good-hit "Billionaire."
The Associated Press: Why was the record initially a dark one?
McCoy: It's just where I was at mentally. Art imitates life and I tend to write a lot about my experiences and things I been through. And at the time I was going through a lot (in) my personal life. There was a lot of crazy stuff going on in my family, there was a couple deaths. All that was kind of creeping its way into the music and I was like, "I need to stop this right now." I've been known to kind of wear my heart on my sleeve so to speak, and I've been pretty vulnerable with the last few records that we put out with Gym Class Heroes. And this time around, I just wanted it to be fun.
AP: Was it therapeutic to record the upbeat material?
McCoy: I think it was more therapeutic to get that darker stuff out, you know what I mean? Getting all that out and you know, that was kind of my woosah. That's all out and it just made way for more positive and uptempo and happier songs.
AP: Why did you want to do a solo CD?
McCoy: Since the inception of Gym Class Heroes in '97, we all had, you know, projects outside of Gym Class Heroes, other musical outlets that we used to express ourselves musically. This is just one being put out on a bigger scale, you know, for public consumption. It wasn't necessarily meticulously plotted by the record label or something, you know, to get Gym Class Heroes in a necessary position and toss me out there as a solo artist. ... We're working on a record ... I think I'm saving all that personal and introspective, deep stuff for that record.
AP: How do you deal with being asked personal questions about your relationship with Katy Perry?
McCoy: Usually I just tell my publicist to tell whoever's interviewing me to not bring it up (laughs). (But) it usually does anyway. I'm a nice dude, I'm pretty easygoing about it if it does get brought up, but honestly, it's been a year and some change, you know. Like, I'm over it. There's no bad blood. I wish her nothing but the best in her future endeavors. I'm not the type to hold grudges. Why would I? Our time together was awesome and it's time to move on. And we both have gone our separate ways so it is what it is.
AP: Can you remain friends?
McCoy: We haven't really talked much since the demise of our relationship. I've since relocated and started over. ... With this record it definitely helped kind of rub some lotion on those old scars.
AP: Are you dating now?
McCoy: I'm single right now and loving it. For the past year and a half, this record's been my girlfriend, you know what I mean? I've been making love to this record nonstop and now she's all done, so I kind of have to let her go so people can have her. But we had a good time together. So, honestly, like, it takes a lot, especially being in this industry and being an artist and constantly touring ... right now it's just not the right time to be in a relationship for me. I got my dogs so I'm happy, you know.