Photo: Burak Cingi / Contributor via Getty Images
  /  03.22.2023

Photographer and director Travis Colbert has documented the journeys of artists like Cordae and Chris Brown and knows at any moment, magic can happen. And he’s always ready to freeze those moments in time and give fans memories they can have forever. 

“Chris comes across the stage, does a whole front flip, lands, and then does some sort of 360 ninja kick. He did that all on stage in front of the fans, and they went nuts,” Colbert told REVOLT. “As a photographer and videographer, that’s a moment we’re not expecting, but the camera’s already up ready to capture it.”

In this installment of “Tour Tales,” Colbert explains the bond he saw Cordae and the late Juice WRLD form on the road, how many unseen hours Chris Brown puts into perfecting his show, and how he makes sure to capture it all. Read the chat below! 

Who was the first major hip hop/R&B artist you went on tour with?

In 2018, I started working with an artist named YBN Cordae at the time. When I found him, he had maybe 4,000 or 5,000 followers when we first connected. I was working with YBN Nahmir before that. I did the West Coast leg of their tour with Cordae, and he was opening up for Juice WRLD at the time for “The WRLD Domination Tour.” That was his first major tour.

Do you remember the first show of his?

Yeah. We were in Southern California around the Orange County area. It was like the beginning of that tour. That’s when I first connected with Cordae. I was there for his first stage dive. That was his first major performance. The next city after that was my hometown of San Diego, and I saw people I knew in the crowd. I was shooting him stage-diving into the crowds and stuff in my hometown.

What did you notice about Juice and Cordae’s relationship on that tour?

They had a very strong relationship. We’d go onto their bus and hang out. One of my favorite moments is us on the bus while Cordae was playing [NBA] 2K next to Juice.

What lessons did you learn touring with Cordae that you take with you to this day?

It’s a lot of responsibility going into it. You’re managing terabytes on terabytes and loads of footage. You have hard drives and gear that must come in and out of the venue daily. Everything needs to be organized. I have all the cities and special moments broken down, making it easier to do that bigger documentary with that artists later.

How did you end up working with one of the biggest artists in the world: Chris Brown?

I started working with him last year for the US leg of “The Under The Influence Tour.” He had seen my work through his management team and really liked my editing and storytelling. My first show with him was in Washington, D.C. I got the call 48 hours before flying out there to join the tour for two months. This was the biggest tour I was ever on at the time. After the first show, he loved the video recap I created and instantly posted it online. That was a morale booster for me. We’re both creative and bounce ideas back and forth, making this job extremely enjoyable.

You’re currently on the European leg of that tour. What are your duties?

For the U.S. tour last year, I was doing photos and videos. I was a one-man army doing photos and videos, and I was doing recaps for every single city. We did 30+ cities and had a recap every day.  For the European tour, I took on more of a director’s role and brought on Tyler Fuhrmeister to help capture some of the docuseries stuff we wanted to create. We pitched the idea to Chris about doing a whole docuseries for the tour. He loved the concept I wrote up. There’s an entire storyboard and storyline for this tour.  All of the episodes will flow together. I wanted it to feel episodic, something you’d watch on Netflix or something like that. I didn’t want it to feel like a vlog.

His performances on this tour are incredibly intricate and take so much time to choreograph. What sort of dedication is Chris showing in those rehearsals?

I think we spent six weeks just rehearsing for this show. Chris was there every single day at rehearsals. He’s on time. He’s productive during these rehearsals. He’s very hands-on with the whole production. He’s working on the video wall to make sure the animations are exactly how he wants. He’s working on the dance moves. He’s working on singing. He’s working on so many different elements and knows so much about all the different teams for the production. He’s one of the greatest performers of all time because of how hands-on he is and how willing he is to take it to the next level.

There was a moment when Chris had the in-ear monitors in his ear, and his choreographer was on the microphone saying, “Chris, I want you to do something crazy for this moment. I want the fans to go nuts.” Chris comes across the stage, does a whole front flip, lands, and then does some sort of 360 ninja kick (laughs). He did that all on stage in front of the fans, and they went nuts. As a photographer and videographer, that’s a moment we’re not expecting, but the camera’s already up ready to capture it.


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What’s your typical workday like on tour with Chris Brown?

My workday starts early. I’m in the venues around noon editing, getting stuff prepped for either the night of or from the previous nights or even new episodes about to come out. Then, we shoot the show. It’s a two-hour show, and I’m moving around getting every angle possible. I’m onstage, offstage, in the pit, at the top of the arena, everywhere. Once the show ends, it’s time to prepare that content for him to post. He likes to post a lot of photos and live content, so we put together a lot of social media content, like little clips and stuff, for him to post. That’s still just the beginning of my work night. We have to go through all of that footage and find those key moments that will be used for the episodes for that week. There’s a lot of storytelling in those episodes.

Chris has some of the most diehard fans. What has been the most memorable fan interaction you’ve witnessed?

It was actually a recent show. I found a TikTok video of a young boy. It was his 10th birthday, and he received tickets to Chris Brown’s concert. The footage went viral. I had seen it on TikTok, so I had messaged him, and I was in touch with his mom, and I didn’t tell him I had a surprise in store for him. I messaged him and his family two weeks later, saying, “I want to shoot a video with you when you get to the show.” So, I brought him backstage and started shooting the video with him. He didn’t know that all the dancers would come in and surprise him behind him. He’s a very talented dancer. He’s like a mini Chris Brown. He was dancing, and all of the dancers were dancing around him. Seeing how big that smile was on his face made me think, “This kid’s life has changed.”

During the show, Chris spotted him in the crowd, and they shared a moment together. The little kid was dancing his heart out the entire show. Chris spots him, starts dancing, and then the spotlight goes on the kid, and he’s dancing with Chris. It was incredible to witness.

To capture private moments, you have to decide when and when not to film. How do you choose?

It comes down to comfortability and a relationship with the artist. The better you know an artist, the more you’ll know the space they need. There are a lot of artists that I work with who I’m very comfortable with. It’s also a trust thing on their end, knowing some things you capture will never be seen. I have the camera on me 24/7. But, if there are those moments I know we will not be used for documentary purposes or any public purposes, I’ll put that camera down to show them that I respect their space as well. It’s a very tricky thing to learn, too, because you never know if a crazy moment may happen very soon. Sometimes Chris will be in his room hanging out. I don’t want to always be in his personal space, bothering him, having those cameras rolling because he’s a human being, too, just like myself. 

What’s on Chris Brown’s rider?

I stole some fruit snacks from there a bit ago (laughs). There are lots of fruit snacks, some candy, and some chips. He’s very, very healthy. There are a lot of fruits, trail mix, and stuff like that. There is a lot of water. You don’t see anything crazy over there. He doesn’t have a bunch of bottles or anything too nuts. That guy’s doing a two-hour performance each night. So, having healthy food in him is definitely going to do the job for him.


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What do you have coming up for the rest of the year?

We have Rolling Loud Thailand with Chris. Chris is headlining that. That’s going to be my next major project. I own a few film studios in Los Angeles and will be directing a couple of major music videos in my own studio. So, that’s something I’m very, very excited to start doing.




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