Who Is Willis Earl Beal?

On Being Noticed By Mos Def, James Blake, and Questlove

Willis Earl Beal: "Well, the Mos Def thing was more or less a miss, I did in fact talk to Mos Def but I hadn't talked to Mos Def since Albuquerque. I forgot to tell you that. The only reason I talked to Mos Def was because in Albuquerque when Found Magazine printed out that article about me, they left my phone number on the advertisement on the front of the magazine.

"Mos Def happened to see it, called me, and told me he was inspired by it. We corresponded like four or five times and he actually put me in touch with his agent. He said he was going to do a biopic of me because he felt that this was something that interested him, it was a small little project that he could see himself doing.

"When my girlfriend and I broke up, I lost my cell phone and left everything in Albuquerque. We ceased to correspond and I haven't talked to Mos Def since. That was the only capacity where Mos Def was going to work with me.

"As far as James Blake is concerned, I've never met James Blake and I don't know what they're talking about. Questlove did in fact invite me to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which I attended last night. I played new music and then I shook his hand afterward, so that's real.

"But none of these people have expressed a real interest in working with me. If I did work with other musicians, I would have to compose all the music because I've had time to really flesh out my ideas in the studio and figure out how it should be done.

"I do consider myself to be a musical composer and the only way I would work with other musicians would be if I had complete control. I don't want anybody around me giving me their ideas. Collaboration can be cool but I've collaborated enough in my life."

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