After his elimination from The X Factor on December 1, 15-year-old Brooklyn rapper Brian Bradley, aka Astro, stopped by TV Guide Magazine's office to chat about his performances during the competition, advice he'll always remember from the judges, and his plans for the future.
TV Guide Magazine: What was the best part of being on The X Factor?
Astro: The best part of the experience was basically being able to perform in front of millions of people each week at such a young age. And basically being able to perform in front of four great people in the business, that was great. It's something that a lot of my friends that are trying to break into the music business would only dream of, performing in front of Paula [Abdul], L.A. [Reid], Nicole [Scherzinger] and Simon [Cowell]. That was awesome.
TV Guide Magazine: You wrote a lot of original lyrics to songs you performed. What was the process like with your mentor, L.A. Reid?
Astro: If they didn't let me rewrite the songs then I would've dropped out a long time ago. Basically I had to fight for that right a little bit to be able to rewrite the songs, but it worked out in my favor. And L.A., he understood me more than most of any of the other judges, than all of the other judges, actually. He let me write my stuff, he let me be me, and I respected that. We picked all the songs together. Some days we'd sit in a room and pick a song. Other days he'd have the song ready and I'd just write it. A lot of times he'd ask for changes, I'd change my verses a few times but it came out great each time so I didn't have a problem.
TV Guide Magazine: Was the whole experience what you expected it to be?
Astro: It was more than what I expected it to be because to be honest I thought they were going to say you can't write your own stuff, you have to recite the lyrics like everyone else. The fact that they allowed me to write my own music, I appreciate that a lot. I didn't expect it to be like that at all. I wasn't going to try out for X Factor. I wasn't trying to be in a contest. My mom convinced me to audition for The X Factor. And I just said, 'O.K., let me see what it's about. $5 million? Might as well try'. I tried out and it worked out. I got through top seven out of 200,000 so I'm proud.
TV Guide Magazine: What was your most challenging performance?
Astro: The hardest song was probably Michael Jackson's "Black and White." It's such a powerful song that you don't want to end up saying the wrong thing in a song like that. It took me, like, a day and a half to finish the song completely.
TV Guide Magazine: And the easiest?
Astro: The easiest was "Jump." Basically I wasn't rapping about anything, if you listen to it. I was just doing what a normal, 2011, modern-day rapper does: rapping about nothing. It was just me having fun. That was the very first one I did.
TV Guide Magazine: How has this whole experience affected you?
Astro: Now I know that people are watching. Diddy tweeted me when I did the "Missing You" song, and that was crazy. It feels amazing now because I've been doing music since a long time ago. I'm the type of dude that'll make a song and it'll be one of my best songs and I'm like, dang, nobody's even listening. I've only got 4,000 followers. I'd just get mad. I wouldn't even want to put the song up, it's a waste. Now when I put a song up, I've get 150,000 followers, so now if I post a song on Twitter I'll get like 10,000 downloads, at least. So I know people are actually listening now, so it feels much better that people are actually recognizing who I am, instead of just seeing some kid from Brooklyn.
TV Guide Magazine: Any advice from the judges that you'll remember?
Astro: L.A. said, 'Never let 'em see you sweat.' Basically never let anyone see what gets you mad because that's how they figure out how to annoy you and just pick at you and just get you angry. So I just try to stay a little calmer now because of that.
TV Guide Magazine: What are your plans for the future?
Astro: I plan to release just as much music as I can. Movies, I should be working on a cartoon, reality show, everything. Everything I could do, like a clothing line, like a lot of things are in the works. I plan on just performing everywhere. I'm gonna be worldwide!
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