NOW PLAYING Artist, Lecrae Talks Keeping His Marriage First, His Faith & Dealing with the Pressure of Success

Photo by Michael Rowe
Check out part two of our interview with NOW PLAYING artist, Lecrae.

In the first part of our exclusive interview with NOW PLAYING artist Lecrae, we learned about his taste in music, his love for J.Cole & Kendrick, as well as what he plans to bring to the ESSENCE Fest 2015 stage.

This time, he spoke about his personal life, including his amazing relationship with his wife and kids, as well as what's next for him after the success of his seventh album, Anomaly.

ESSENCE:  After the Billboard recognition and the Grammy win, is it harder for you to walk down the street unnoticed?  Did your life change at all from all you accomplished last year?

Lecrae:  I think it has, but it’s been so gradual that I haven’t felt it… Now, there’s never a time now where I can go out and expect somebody not to know me or to stop and say something.   It’s fine.  I don’t mind it but if I’m trying to sleep or something, then it’s a different story.

ESSENCE: Ahh, that’s gotta be annoying.  You could be drooling and someone is like, “Lecrae, let me take a selfie!”

Lecrae: Yea, that’s not cool. (Laughs)

ESSENCE:  Would you say that’s the worst part of being famous—having to deal with always being on?

Lecrae: Yea, and I tell people all of the time.  I was just in a mall and a guy was like, “What are you doing in here? Oh my gosh!”… In that moment I was like, “Yea man, I’m here just like you.”  I’m just a regular person.  I’m just trying to get my phone fixed just like you.  I don’t like putting on airs, that’s not my thing.  I’d rather just be myself, just connecting to people genuinely.

ESSENCE: Exactly.  How about your family?  I know your wife was the inspiration behind your hit, “All I Need Is You,” and you have three kids… How is your family dealing with the fame? 

Lecrae:  Well, my kids don’t know any different, this is all they’ve ever known.  They’ve grown up with me doing concerts.  They’ve grown up with me—well, they’re not grown up, they’re still little bitties.  They just think “Wow, more people know my dad than normal, but no big deal.”  It still hasn’t really set in for them and my wife likes to keep a low profile.  She’s not like, “I’m ready to be one of the Real Housewives of Atlanta.”  She likes to keep a low profile and that’s just her lane.  But, we’re all excited!  It’s also cool for her to get to go places that she would’ve never gone.  ESSENCE Fest is a big deal, so stuff like that is great for her.  She loves it.

 

 

ESSENCE:  I saw that your wife had a cameo at the end of the “All I Need Is You” video.   How do you keep your relationship first in the midst of your growing career?

 

 

Lecrae:  She’s a priority.  She knows that and we build things around that because that’s what’s going to last forever.  The relationship is what’s going to last, the music is going to end one day.  I can’t tour forever… At the end of the day, that’s where my solace is, that’s who helps carry burdens with me and she is a part of the fabric of who I am. 

We just make sure that we keep our relationship a priority and some of that may mean making sacrifices.  Every year we get together and we say, “Where do we want to be in three years?”  We’ll literally block off dates on the calendar for the upcoming year and say, this is our time no matter what happens.  Even if I get invited to perform at the Super Bowl, this is our time.  Little stuff like that keeps it meaningful.

 

 

ESSENCE:  Our theme for the 2015 ESSENCE Fest is #BringtheLove. Is your wife coming?

 

 

Lecrae:  First of all, I will be sleeping on the couch everyday this year if she doesn’t get to come.  Trust and believe I will be bringing ALL the love! 

 

 

ESSENCE:  I also read that you were given a full scholarship to school for acting, back in the day.  Will you ever get back into that?  Are we going to see you in any movie roles?

 

 

Lecrae:  I really want to do it, but it’s just that the music is very demanding.  I also co-own my label (Reach Records) so I’m really involved there as well.  I just don’t want to be the artist who’s out on the road and has no real perspective of what’s happening at home. If it happens in a more casual way, I’m very interested and I’ll make it happen.  If the role’s right and the opportunity is there, then I’m all about it.

ESSENCE: Have there been any people that you looked up to growing up that have reached out to you since your accomplishments last year that blew you away? 

 

 

Lecrae: Yea, I got a phone call from my management and they said they got a phone call from Lauryn Hill’s camp.  They said she reached out ask about me doing an interview for a project she was working on.  When I heard that I was even being considered by her, I was like, “Are you serious right now?”  Why are you asking me if I’m interested?  You should just ask, could you get on a flight right now? 

ESSENCE: Do you feel any pressure with your music moving forward now that Anomaly has seen so much success?

Lecrae:  I can totally see how people get jaded.  Once you’re around all of it [the music industry], sometimes it feels like high school again.  There’s the cool kids table and there’s the cheerleaders and there’s the captain of the team… If you try to chase it, you could find yourself really discouraged because the cool kids won’t let you sit at their table. You really have to have a sober perspective in looking at it all.  It is what it is and you deal with it.  I try not to let it get to me.  I just continue to try to be the person that my mother raised me to be and not the person the industry may sometimes pressure you to be. 

ESSENCE:  What’s left for you to accomplish?  You’ve got the Grammy, you have your family, so what’s next in your career?

Lecrae:  Moving forward, hopefully the platform my career has given me will allow me to continue to be a voice in culture.  Whether that’s doing lectures on campus or writing books or whatever that looks like. I feel like that’s really the lane that I uniquely connect with.  I’m very content. I don’t know what else I could ask for but I feel like when the social issues happen or any other things...I feel a strong pull to have a voice.

ESSENCE:  A lot of people are afraid of faith and believing because they feel like they have to be perfect. Since your faith is so strong, what is your answer to people who think this way?

Lecrae:  I remember wrestling with something very similar to that.  I’ve come to realize that I’m not a Christian because I am strong.  I am a Christian because I’m weak and I admit I need faith.  I can admit I’m not perfect.  I can admit I mess up. I don’t want to be imperfect. I don’t want to mess up but that’s the very reason why I need a savior.  Faith is not about serving some tyrant in the sky that says, “You need to get your act together.”  Faith is about having a loving father who says, “Hey, listen...I’m here with you.  I’m going to hold your hand.  Just rock with me.”  That’s it.

Don't miss Lecrae during our NOW PLAYING Concert sponsored by Verizon, in July. Buy your tickets now!

Don't miss Lecrae during our NOW PLAYING Concert sponsored by Verizon, in July. Buy your tickets now!

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