T-Pain’s contribution to music via Auto-Tune in the mid-2000s not only made him ultra-successful and a pioneer, but it also created a wave of backlash, culminating with JAY-Z releasing the single “D.O.A. (Death of Autotune)” in 2009. By giving artists who couldn’t sing an easy lane to jump into, T-Pain unexpectedly changed music for the better and for the worst.
In an exclusive clip from the upcoming Netflix series This Is Pop, the Tallahassee singer explained how at one point, he went into a deep depression after fellow R&B star Usher not only told him he hated Auto-Tune, but T-Pain was responsible for messing up music as a whole.
“Usher was my friend,” T-Pain says. “I really respect Usher. And he said, ‘I’m gonna tell you something, man. You kinda f*cked up music.’”
T-Pain initially viewed the comment as a joke, but the Confessions star revealed he was completely serious.
“And then he was like, ‘Yeah man you really f*cked up music for real singers,’” T-Pain continued. “I was like, ‘What did I do? I came out and I used Auto-Tune.’ He was like, ‘Yeah, you f*cked it up.’ I’m like, ‘But I used it, I didn’t tell everybody else to start using it.’”
He added, “That is the very moment, and I don’t even think I realized this for a long time, but that’s the very moment that started a four-year depression for me.”
During a period where he proved he never really “fell off,” T-Pain began using his actual singing voice, including during an episode of NPR’s famed Tiny Desk Concert series in 2014 where he flawlessly weaved through some of his classic singles such as “Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin’)”, “Up Down (Do This All Day)” and “Drankin’ Patna.”