Nick Cannon Credits His Early Success to Jamie Foxx, Will Smith
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Nick Cannon was recently a guest on The Diary of a CEO podcast, where he spoke to host Steven Bartlett about his rise to fame. The star talked about how Jamie Foxx and Will Smith were instrumental in his early success, and he shared how he discovered singer Kehlani on America’s Got Talent.
Nick Cannon Talks About His Early Success
Cannon shared that he started doing stand-up comedy when he was just 11 years old. Comedian Jamie Foxx took him under his wing when he was first starting out in Hollywood at age 15, even letting Cannon sleep on his couch.
He ended up signing with Will Smith’s company when he was 16, after being discovered at Foxx’s comedy festival Laffapalooza. Cannon said Foxx and Smith “trained me,” calling them “two of the nicest human beings you would ever want to meet.”
Cannon called Foxx “such a great storyteller,” saying he’s “stolen all of the tricks” he observed from the star growing up. He said he learned the value of hard work from Smith, adding, “If he wants something, he’s not gonna stop until he figures it out.”
He also shared that Smith helped him write rap verses. The star also passed on life lessons from his own adolescence, sharing that he “went broke at 19” after spending his fortune too quickly.
Cannon Reflects on Discovering Kehlani on AGT
After being mentored by Foxx and Smith as a teenager, Cannon paid it forward when he discovered the singer Kehlani on America’s Got Talent. They got their start on the show in Season 6 as part of the group PopLyfe.
Cannon was AGT‘s host at the time, and he joked that Simon Cowell “wasn’t paying attention.” After the show, Cannon learned that Kehlani was homeless. He offered to help the singer move to Los Angeles and introduced them to people at Atlantic Records, saying that “the rest is history.”
However, Cannon said it “doesn’t sit well with my spirit” to try to take credit for an artist’s success. Rather, he described himself as an “empresario” who “funded scenarios” for Kehlani to get into the business. He said he “didn’t want no money from it.”