Chris Brown, in the opening moments of Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life, says, “I’m tired of giving people something to talk about, you know? They should be talking about how I’m the baddest motherf—er on the stage instead of I’m the baddest motherf—er in the courtroom.”
Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life is a documentary about the singer/songwriter’s rollercoaster career and life. Three years in the making, the 90-minute chronicle made a special one-night bow Tuesday evening (June 6) in Los Angeles.
To accompany the film Chris has released a brand new track under the same name, featuring rapper Cal Scruby.
Chris handles the chorus on the uptempo song, where he ponders some important life questions. “Have you been there? / Have you seen it all? / Have you done this once before?” he asks. “Did they tell you, you love this life and all these lights? / Now you’re lying on the floor / And they know what doesn’t kill you makes you want it more / And this is your life.”
Scruby, who previously teamed up with Brown on 2015’s “Ain’t Shit Change,” delivers two thought-provoking verses.
Listen to the title song below.
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Listermann, who co-produced Welcome to My Life with director Andrew Sandler, promises that future surprises are in store as the documentary begins its rollout. He and Sandler, along with Brown, were on hand for the film’s Tuesday premiere at Regal L.A. Live.
Addressing the film’s overall takeaway, Listermann told Billboard, “Idolized and criticized, Chris has been through more scrutiny than anyone I’ve ever met. He’s also caused a lot of the issues that he’s gone through, which he admits in the film. And that’s what this film is about: He’s admitting the things he’s done wrong and lessons learned. At the end of the day, he’s human.”
Noting that the most difficult part of the process was cutting down all the footage that was shot, director Sandler expressed hope that Brown fans and naysayers will “sit back and really watch the film without judging and try to understand Chris’ perspective of living in the spotlight. Filmmaking is about peeling back layers and telling a story that’s never been heard before.”
And Welcome to My Life does just that. Featuring interviews with family members, friends and supporters including Usher, DJ Khaled, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez and Mike Tyson, as well as Brown himself, the film takes viewers on a journey from the Grammy winner’s Tappahannock, Virginia, childhood through his meteoric rise as a pop/R&B phenomenon to his equally dramatic downfall.
Along the way, they will watch Brown talk transparently about his passion for singing and dancing, his courtship of Rihanna and what really happened that fateful night of the Clive Davis pre-Grammy party, as well as his subsequent skirmishes with the law. Complementing the dialogue is concert and backstage footage, family photos and other behind-the-scenes access.
Spotted in the house for Welcome to My Life’s L.A. premiere were Sean “Diddy” Combs, Tyga, Jhené Aiko, Brown’s attorney Mark Geragos and event host Terrence J — with the latter two also appearing in the documentary. After the screening, Brown’s mother Joyce Hawkins shared her thoughts about the film. “It’s not easy watching my son grow into a man with the whole world judging him,” she told Billboard. “He is not an angel or the devil. I hope this documentary will balance the negativity that follows him as his God-given talents continue to mature.”
From the red carpet, an exuberant Brown — who brought 3-year-old daughter Royalty to the premiere — boiled down the documentary’s three years of filming into one word: growth.
“Everybody has to look in the mirror and be OK with themselves,” he elaborated. “At this point, I had to get right with myself, learn, and then from there just be OK with being me. Then it’s to do what I came here to do: music. That’s the real reason why I’m here.”
Whether a Brown fan or critic, Welcome to My Life provides revealing insights about the artist and the person and is definitely worth seeing.
On Friday (June 9), the film becomes available for preorder on iTunes, after which it will be released Aug. 8 to 100 different transactional pay-per-view outlets, according to producer Andrew Listermann of Riveting Entertainment.