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BGR Interview: Nick Cannon

BGR recently had a chance to catch up with actor, comedian, musician, producer, host, tech-lover, and now father, Nick Cannon, to see how tech has impacted his life and career. Nick is one of the most prominent Sidekick users around, so we wanted to find out if T-Mobile’s first Android-powered Sidekick managed to keep him reeled in. We also wanted to see how the advent of social media has impacted his life and career — Nick has over 2.5 million Twitter followers, and we’re sure many of you will recall his huge social campaign attempting to battle Eminem in a boxing ring for charity — and even what apps and games Nick and Mariah are planning to use with their new twins. Hit the jump for our interview.

BGR Interview is a series of interviews and conversations with executives, influencers, tastemakers and innovators, covering the mobile and consumer electronics industries.

You used to be a really prominent Sidekick user, but what’s your device of choice now?

The new Sidekick just came out so I got that, but I mean, I got everything from the iPhone, to the BlackBerry Torch, to the G2. I just happen to like the Sidekick — it’s just the easiest thing for me to use because I’m so used to it.

What do you like most about the Sidekick 4G? Do you like the keyboard? Do you like how fast it is — the way you can jump into any app real quick? How do you use it to help what you do?

I like the keyboard and then just how everything, like access to the text messaging and email and the phone, is right there. It’s just mad easy.

Let’s switch gears to BlackBerry… RIM has a new tablet that just came out called the BlackBerry PlayBook. What would you pick between the iPad 2 and the new BlackBerry PlayBook?

Probably the iPad. That’s what I got now and I really hate having to learn how to do new stuff. If I have a device, I want to just use it for what it does best right then and there and not have to read a manual and all of that. Since I’ve had the iPad for a minute, I’d rather rock with that then have to learn a whole new device.

Speaking of the iPad then, do you use any specific apps or programs for making music, or anything on the go? If you’re not near a studio and you get an idea, do you have anything that helps you?

Not yet. I’ve noticed that there’s some stuff coming out. I even saw they have the DJ app on the iPad now — the turntables, the mixer, everything in one — but, I haven’t been able to jump into it yet. I’m just still an outboard gear type of guy.

You’re a really huge Twitter user with over 2.5 million followers. How do you think using Twitter, with the ability to connect and speak directly to your fans, has impacted your music and your other projects?

It just allows me to connect on a real level with everybody. It’s a dialogue amongst fans, and even people who aren’t fans, but it allows you to connect in a way that’s never been possible before.

Touching on the whole Eminem and Mariah controversy — and we obviously don’t have to get into any sort of specificity if you wouldn’t like — but feuds like this five or ten years ago would normally involve some back and forths in a song, maybe a couple interviews and everyone would keep it moving. Here, you launched a really big social campaign — a proposed boxing match with you and Eminem, for charity. You used a lot of social media and your radio show to spread the word. What kind of response did you get from that?

It was everywhere. Everybody talked about it… it was big! I wasn’t even going for that; it just was one of those things that happen organically and naturally when you do talk about it on Twitter and my blog and all that. I mean, at the end of the day, I guess it was what it was. It was entertaining.

Well, congrats on becoming a father man!

Thank you man, I appreciate it!

Have you started to think about any games or tech toys you can use or play with your kids? Has anyone given you any advice?

I am trying to figure out how to get them on the iPad as soon as possible! I’ve seen it on YouTube with all these babies using an iPad. I’m looking forward to all those kid apps that are out there. I even went and got the baby can read thing and all that so, I’m trying to have tech-saavy kids!

What’s your favorite app on the Sidekick 4G that you’re using now?

I haven’t really dove into any extra apps yet, but they got this Word document one that’s really easy to write in, and I’ve been rocking with that for a minute.

Tell us about the Showtime stand up Mr. Showbiz and the accompanying album.

Yeah man, I’m excited. May 16th the album is out. This weekend the special actually airs on Showtime, and a lot of people didn’t know I even did standup, so it’s like the first introduction for some. And then, it’s like a dream come true for me because it’s something I have been doing since I was a preteen, and to finally get to share it with the world is cool.

Wrapping up, can you give us a couple general areas where technology has impacted your career?

You know, you kind of hit it on the head. Everything with Twitter, with all the followers, and being able to connect directly with your audience in a way that’s never been done before, really on an intimate level where they feel like they can get to know you. That has definitely impacted my career. Then everything from Serato has really allowed me to be the best DJ I could possibly be without having to carry around, you know, 1200 crates, and be able to operate on a level, and do things in a nightclub, and on radio, that I never would have been able to do before. Those are probably the most two impactful things with technology in my career.

Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us today, Nick.

No doubt.

Jonathan Geller founded Boy Genius Report, now known as BGR, in 2006. It became the biggest mobile news destination in the world by the end of 2009, and BGR was acquired by leading digital media company PMC in April 2010.

Jonathan is President of the newly formed BGR Media, LLC., and Editor-in-chief of the BGR website.

What started as a side project at the age of 16, quickly transpired into 24-hour days and nights of sharing exclusive and breaking news about the mobile communications industry. BGR now reaches up to 100 million readers a month through the website, syndication partners, and additional channels.