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Film and TV

Tyrese Gibson: One-Man Band

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Wed, May 15, 2013 at 5:00 AM
click to enlarge Tyrese Gibson - KEVIN SCANLON
  • Kevin Scanlon
  • Tyrese Gibson

One of the fascinating Angelenos featured in L.A. Weekly's People 2013 issue. Check out our entire People 2013 issue here.

Tyrese Gibson is checking out new office space for his expanding record label, Voltron Recordz, while talking to a reporter and fielding phone calls from underlings. "I like this space," he tells his real estate agent. "This is obviously a medical office. It looks like a few heartbeats have been checked in this room."

The 34-year-old had his heart checked recently, along with other vitals, as he admits to spreading himself too thin with movies (Fast & Furious 6 hits in May), music and behind-the-scenes moves. This spring he released A Black Rose That Grew Through Concrete, which includes a documentary, a double album and a book about his life. The latter will be the fourth title on Amazon bearing Gibson's name as an author.

Yeah, the kid from Watts who broke into America's consciousness as the star of John Singleton's Baby Boy in 2001 seems to balance more gigs than Bon Jovi, and sometimes it shows. Gibson says he never dreams; his whole life is a dream. "I dream with my eyes open."

From R&B singer to rapper, model to Transformers actor, he's a one-man band on par with Sinatra. He sleeps only a few hours a night — so little rest that he has ended up in the hospital for exhaustion. "It doesn't always get reported," he says.

But here's the thing. He does it all because he can. Gibson says that when he was only 8 he would ask people for their shopping carts so he could turn them in for a quarter at a local grocery store parking lot. All the times he heard "no" hardened him to the contemporary hustle of Hollywood.

"When people were telling me no, it hurt my feelings, but it also made me fearless as an adult," says Gibson, who now lives in Woodland Hills. "If you have projects you're pitching, when people say no as an adult, it doesn't mean anything. It makes me work hard every single day. I know that broke is right around the corner. It never stops for me. I'm blessed to be making these moves to keep things in motion."

His moves also include producing reality television, including the YouTube series K-Town, dubbed the Asian-American Jersey Shore. Asked if making online content was an alternate way to diversify Hollywood, he says no, it's just another avenue for his creations.

"My motivation isn't black," Gibson says. "It's very true — African-Americans don't have opportunities. But how long you going to sing that song? Asians don't have a lot of opportunities, either. It is what it is. I don't sit around and harp on that. I don't play the race card. We all know what's going on. Get off the pity potty and do some work."

One of the fascinating Angelenos featured in L.A. Weekly's People 2013 issue. Check out our entire People 2013 issue here.

Follow me on Twitter at @dennisjromero, and for more arts news follow us at @LAWeeklyArts and like us on Facebook.

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