Lloyd is back with a vengeance with his new single Do It Again, featuring Chipmunk, and the recently released single Dedication To My Ex, which peaked at No.3 in the UK charts. Shireen Fenner sits down with him during a recent trip to London…
You were born in New Orleans and lived in Atlanta. How did growing up in the south influence your career direction, and were there any music artists from there that were instrumental in shaping you into the artist that you are today?
I don’t know if this has anything to do with the south but it’s definitely more family orientated. The attitude is realistic, it’s possible, and it’s down to earth. At times it’s simple, country, just simple. I also think coming from the bottom you have that mentality of having to claw your way out. I see a lot of strength in where I’m from. If anyone knows New Orleans like I do, then they know it’s like a third world country sometimes. It’s really violent and corrupted, the home of the mob and all kinds of stuff. I just think when you’re born against certain circumstances it usually makes you stronger.
My father was into music he was a saxophonist and a choir director; he was a pretty popular singer in his neighborhood. My mum, I watched her sing in the choir for most of my early life, she actually got me singing in church first before anywhere else.
You’ve had a successful music career from a young age. Was this always your dream as a child?
Yeah man, I mean what child doesn’t dream of these things. I had many other dreams as a child, dreams of being Michael Jordan, or an astronaut, a fire fighter or a doctor, different stuff at different stages of my life. Music was something that I always enjoyed very much, I think ever since I can remember
Dedication To My Ex, is your biggest international hit so far. How does your rising stardom outside of the US influence the type of music you are making now?
It’s just a broader spectrum; I think that’s just the way the world is. Hip hop is much more integrated than its ever been, with that said you always have the need to grow and to try new things. Being abroad gives you an opportunity to realise a new direction. At the same time if I don’t have soul then I’m not doing this. I really enjoy the music I hear when I’m away; I think that personally we should do more of that in the States. They are catching on now the States, but I think the world has been dancing to a different beat for a little while now; it’s more fast paced in most places.
You have been blessed by having many talented and successful label mates. How has the close proximity of so many young stars shaped your career?
It makes me work harder, it makes me just want to improve myself more. It makes me less afraid to talk to people and ask for help to ask for advice, to collaborate. I think that’s one of my greatest assets is my ability to collaborate with the likes of many. I think through collaborations I’m able to exist even when I don’t. Even when I don’t have an album that I’m ready to release I can still collaborate, so it keeps me relevant.
Compared to the slow jams of your earlier music, Dedication To My Ex, is a different sound altogether. What has led to the evolution in your sound?
Just growing, getting older, age, experiences, the yearning to grow, to progress, and to try new things.
Love, pain and loss can be quite deep subjects to sing about. Do you feel that you need to go through all these in order to be able to sing about them, and to what extent is your music fuelled by your own experiences?
You don’t have to go through all of them to sing about them, but I think going through them allows you to sing about them more convincingly. It has more passion, I think you can hear that when you listen to music, and I think that’s what people are listening for. You don’t have to go down the wrong road to see what happens at the end, with that said I think you still have certain traits that you can relate to, that you can sing about, but you don’t have all the things that’s necessary to sometimes pull it off the way its supposed to be and that’s where experience comes in.
The title of your last album is interesting. Are you the king of hearts? Whose heart are you the king of, and is there currently a special queen of hearts in your life?
I’m the king of all the hearts. All the listeners, all the fans, all the women that have listened to my music. Not just my music but also my style of music. To all the women that have never been told that they’re beautiful before, that’s what I’m here for.
Yes there is a Queen of my heart, her names Andy Anderson, she’s about 3 ½, 4 weeks old, she’s my little niece, she’s beautiful, my little chocolate drop. I’m very happy, I get to hold her probably a day out of the week, so when I go back home I’ll go and see her, pick her up and make her laugh a little, and give her to her mama if she starts to cry.
You have been both in a group and as a solo artist. What are the pros and cons of each?
The pros of being in a group is obviously having brothers, having support, knowing that it doesn’t always depend on you and that relieves the stress and the pressure that one may feel when in the spotlight. The con is in my opinion is it’s not on you, sometimes you depend on other people, and people are unpredictable at times. I’m really not comfortable with putting my life, my career and my dreams in the hands of others. As much as possible I like to eliminate that and take more control of my career, and that’s where the pros of being solo come into play. The cons of being solo are you get lonely sometimes.
You’ve collaborated with rappers and singers. Do you find it more challenging working with other singers where comparisons are inevitable, than working with rappers?
It’s not more challenging it just takes a little more effort, because singing is just a more prolonged process than rapping. I mean a lot more goes into getting a nice sound vocally than rapping. I wouldn’t say it’s more or less challenging, that all depends on the chemistry and how people work together. I feel pressured very rarely, I think that that’s why I enjoy doing it so much, because if I do feel pressured it’s a good thing, it’s not anything that’s nerve damaging.
Is there anyone in particular that you would want to collaborate with in the UK?
I always wanted to work with Chipmunk, and I’ve had the chance to work with him recently, so I’m excited about that. I like Adele, Jessie J, Labrinth, Tinie, I like the whole scene.
To wrap it up, what can we expect from you next?
The unexpected. I’m coming back with a full band this March; I’ll be in London two days performing. I’ve just released a single called Do It Again, which is only for Europe and features Chipmunk. We just shot a video, which is a play off of Top Gun the movie. I’m looking forward to that.
Interview by Shireen Fenner
Edited by Natalia
Thanks to Live Base