Diddy on His Big Return to Music & His 'Night of Surprises' as Host of the Billboard Music Awards (Exclusive)
By Tionah Lee
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The 2022 Billboard Music Awards are going to be a Diddy party! On Sunday, the 52-year-old mogul is set to host music’s big night, and it’s going to be one to remember.
“I thought it was time for me to get back outside, reintroduce myself to the world and throw music’s biggest night,” Diddy tells ET’s Kevin Frazier. “I’m one of the greatest hosts in the world. You know, I love entertaining.”
For the awards show, Diddy is pulling inspiration from one of the world’s best showmen, and one of his biggest inspirations -- P.T. Barnum.
“This time you’ll see that personal side of me and it's electrifying,” he says. “I’m telling you, it's electrifying. You know, P.T. Barnum is my muse so I’m gonna have a night of surprises. I want to tear the internet up.”
“It really is a celebration of life and it’s a night that’s rooted in love and love wins,” he says. “That’s the energy we're bringing. We're bringing celebration 'cause, look, we're outside, we're talking with no masks. I'm going to keep us locked in to the appreciation and the gratitude. The gratitude for being able to get the chance to be nominated, to have your dreams come true, get up on the stage and do what we do.”
And it wouldn’t be a Diddy party without some friendly competition. The Making the Band host said he’s bringing that energy with him as he personally ranks the night’s performers.
“I’m going to rate the performances myself,” he says. “I’m 'Making the Band' Diddy in there.”
During the show, Mary J. Blige will be the recipient of this year’s Icon award, and for Diddy, it’s a special moment. “It means everything to me. That’s my sister. That’s the first artist that believed in me,” he says. "This is truly, truly a full-circle moment. It’s truly a time of celebration and to be, you know, having it fall in line while she’s getting her Icon award and it’s just gonna be a beautiful night.”
Diddy received his first Billboard Music ward in 1995 with artist and best friend, Biggie. “That’s the first award we had ever got, so that was such an important night,” the rapper says. “It’s such an authentic connection with me and the Billboard Awards now.”
“If it was another award show, we wouldn’t have gotten the award. But they celebrated us. I remember Biggie was so excited, he almost fell. He was like, 'We did it.' He was running to the stage. So it was like an incredible moment,” Diddy recalls.
And Diddy is determined to make sure this year's show is just as incredible. “The night for me, even personally, is such a big night. This is not a gig for me. I don’t have to do this. This is something that I want to do,” he says. “I can’t wait to see the people, to feel the people, 'cause that got taken away from us. I’m just living in such gratitude. It’s just I have a lot of things that I wanna do. I got a lot of work to do. I’m here to change the world and this is like my coming out party.”
Diddy is also gearing up to make his return to music. This week, the entertainer announced that he was launching his own record label, Love Records -- focusing on R&B.
"I wanted to bring back real R&B so I decided to start my own label Love Records," he shares. "It's really also me getting back to what I love. I have to decide what I was gonna do at my next era. What I love. I love making music so I’m back in music. I have an album coming out, I have a single coming out."
He adds, "It's really an evolution of my sound. It definitely has those elements of all of my hit records, from Jodeci, from Mary J. Blige. You know, all of the greats. Faith Evans, 112. All of the great R&B stuff that you love. The return is real and I’m better. I’m better as a producer. I’m here to touch souls."
The Billboard Music Awards air live on Sunday, May 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.