Starting out as a background vocalist to many well-known artists, now R&B singer, songwriter, and producer Lonny Bereal has recently debuted his very first single “Favor” ft. Kelly Rowland. He’s happy to say that he has gained much knowledge from some very talented people to help him release the hit track on his own. The WhatItDo was able to catch up with Lonny Bereal and find out his journey from background singer to rising artist.
TWID: Where did you grow up?
LB: I grew up in Carson, California in the south bay area.
TWID: What musicians were you listening to when you were younger?
LB: When I was growing up I wasn’t really allowed to listen to secular music. I come from a very strict church background. Both of my grandfathers were pastors and I was in church at least three or four days out of the week. My parents didn’t really allow me to listen to R&B and Hip-Hop Music but I had some older sisters who, when my parents left the house, they were in charge. My older sister Letonya would listen to some R&B music like 112, Jodeci, Brian McKnight, and I would listen too. And every once and a while I was able to watch music videos and there were some times when my dad would watch them with me until Mom got home and changed the channel. But aside from that, Michael Jackson was definitely an inspiration and Jodeci as well as R. Kelly of course.
TWID: At what point in your life did you realize that you wanted to be a part of the R&B music world even though your family was so strict?
LB: I started off doing gospel music and singing background for different gospel artists but when I had the opportunity to sing with KC and JoJo, that was one of the biggest highlights of my life because I grew up loving Jodeci. So when I got the opportunity to sing background for them, I took it. After that, it helped me branch off to do other background work with other artists that were on the Jay Leno Show and American Idol. I had the chance to sing with Ruben Studdard when he won American Idol. From that opportunity, that led me to sing with Kelly Rowland on her first album and then the flow of people calling and asking me to do background just kept coming. I just continued to go that R&B way. I still have my gospel root and a lot of things I learned growing up in church are still carried within me.
TWID:What was your most memorable moment early on in your career?
LB: The most memorable moment I had was with Jon P. Kee. He came to LA one year and I grew up going to his concerts. He was my hero as a kid other than Michael Jordan. So one day he was here in LA and Jon invited me and said, “Lonny, why don’t you just come and help me finish this tour?” I was shocked. He was right in the middle of his tour. He said, “This bus is leaving at four in the morning. Go grab some clothes. I got three more weeks on this tour.” It was 1 o’clock in the morning and I called my mom telling her what happened and I ended up living in Charlotte on and off for three years because I was touring with him and being a part of one of his albums as well. I believe that was the turning point in my life where I took my singing to the next level and it was like vocal class for me every night because he was always a mentor to me vocally and to be up under his wing was a dream. I will never forget being on the stage with him.
TWID:What was it like working with KC & JoJo?
LB: It was fun. KC told me before the very first show I did with them was, “Are you ready?” And I said, “Ya man, I’m ready.” He said, “Aight well all you have to do is have fun and open your mouth and sing. Don’t worry about if you sound flat, just sing man. Go all the way.”And that made me feel real comfortable because a lot of artists are really anal about how you sound and take their shows more seriously instead of just having fun and all they wanted me to do was just belt it and go with it.
TWID:How did you link up with Tank?
LB: Well we grew up listening to the same singers. Tank was a big fan of John P. Kee and I met Tank at a John P. Kee concert. When I saw him I was like, This is the dude Tank man; he’s dope! Then I saw him at another place, at a BBQ, and we linked up, exchanged numbers, and the rest is history.
TWID: How did you get into writing music?
LB: My cousins Kenny and Charlie Bereal had a studio and they started producing the same time I started wanting to explore writing and singing. So Kenny taught us how to work the studio. We didn’t really know what we were doing but we wanted to learn how to start making music. So, years and years of doing that with Charlie and Kenny really helped me develop my songwriting up until the point when I met Tank, then I really started writing with him. He really schooled me and took me under his wing and now you have Lonny Bereal in all these places now.
TWID: What is your relationship with Kelly Rowland?
LB: Well Kelly and I actually met on her first album. Right when I left Ruben Studdard, I got a call and was asked to help with this Kelly Rowland project. They said they already knew what I could do. They asked me to be the lead vocalist of the background singers. So I flew out to Houston, I met Kelly, we got together at rehearsals and immediately bonded. By day two of rehearsals she called me her brother. She invited me everywhere after that, and I fully supported and learned from her. She even flew me out overseas on the Destiny’s Child Fulfill Tour and we developed a brother and sister bond. Blood is thicker than water with us.
TWID: Who else has helped you obtain the success you have today?
LB: Definitely Tank and Jamie Foxx and Chris Brown of course.
TWID: What advice do you have for a young artist trying to make it in this industry.
LB: Don’t stop. Don’t take, No, for an answer. Work ethic is very important because while you sleep there may be hundreds and thousands of people that are awake and want the same thing you want. You just got to work hard. Work ethic is very important. Do your homework, study, and create your own sound.
TWID: Where can we find Lonny Bereal online?
LB: My Twitter is @Lonnys_World and then I have a Facebook fan page under Lonny Bereal. I am really hands on with my Twitter and my Facebook because I care what my fans have to say and what they like.
-Article Written By: Adriana Davalos
*Photos courtesy of Lonny Boreal
*YouTube video courtesy of Lonny Boreal