The many talents of Chris Brown

LOS ANGELES — Not many songs can get Chris Brown into the holiday season quite like the late Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas.”

So when he was asked to perform it (as well as Otis Redding’s R&B classic “Try a Little Tenderness”) in the new romantic comedy “This Christmas,” which opens Wednesday, Brown was absolutely “thrilled.”

“Donny Hathaway, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke are my idols and biggest musical influences,” Brown said in a recent interview, flashing a smile as bright as his diamond earrings.

“With the song ‘This Christmas’ I wanted to do something that was kind of different,” the 18-year-old singer says. “I mean, Donny Hathaway is an amazing artist. “So I wanted to bring my flavor to the song so when people over the age of 45 or 50 hear it they’ll be like ‘OK, he did his thing with that record.’ It’s like I can appeal to everybody and not just a younger demographic.”

The multi-platinum, award-winning singer is also scoring points for his acting in “This Christmas.” He made his film debut in the box-office hit “Stomp the Yard” and also had a recurring guest role on TV’s”The OC.”

“Chris Brown is the real thing and such an incredible talent,” says Loretta Devine, who plays Brown’s mother in the movie. “What’s funny is I had been listening to and enjoying his music for a while without knowing who he was. But my 3-year-old nephew sure knew about him. Chris just has that ‘it’ factor and has such a following with young and older audiences. He’s so good.”

“This Christmas” star Regina King and writer-director-producer Preston A. Whitmore II were equally taken by Brown’s work ethic.

“This movie had such a large cast of veteran and new actors, it would have been easy for everyone’s egos to get in the way,” King says. “But they didn’t. We checked them all in at the door to make this movie. It’s really a heartwarming depiction of anAfrican-American family.”

“There are a lot of people out there that are in the music profession that can’t necessarily make the transition to film,” Whitmore says. “Chris Brown was not late one day for filming. And even though he is an international phenom, he could have brought an entourage to the set but didn’t. And to be so focused at such a young age is remarkable.”

At the rate Brown is going, he’s proving his flavor is everlasting. He recently released the album “Exclusive”; his concert tour with Bow Wow comes to Oakland’s Oracle Arena on Dec. 29.

Brown credits his mother — who travels with him on press and tour stops — for keeping him so grounded.

“Having the right people around you all the time is important,” he says. “I do take the acting seriously. But this is all fun. I look at it like smoke and mirrors. I still think it’s a dream, but I ain’t pinching myself yet.”

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

BART study: Ending paper tickets would ‘disproportionately’ impact low-income riders, people of color

When BART eventually eliminates its magnetic-stripe paper tickets from use, it will… Continue reading

Police efforts to stem 49ers revelry in Mission District spark backlash

SFPD preparing for potential bonfires, vandalism on Super Bowl Sunday

First transitional housing project for homeless transgender residents opens in Chinatown

Project gives gender non-conforming a safe, supportive space to rebuild their lives

SF e-scooters burst into flames in Golden Gate Park, ex-contractor reveals

Photographs obtained Wednesday by the San Francisco Examiner show the charred remains of at least two Skip e-scooters

SF politico who authored vape ban takes money from JUUL lobbyist, returns it after media call

Supervisor Shamann Walton made national news after he proverbially smoked e-cigarette company… Continue reading

Most Read