Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007

Lloyd Polite Interview

Time to showcase more of my shit yo. Here's an interview I did for www.thesituation.co.uk

k-os and illa man features to come - stay tuned kids cxx

With his new single 'You' currently burning up the airwaves, Young Lloyd is ready for an R&B invasion. The Situation talks to The Inc. star and finds out why even the 'most ruggedest' gangsters need some loving.

Are you ready for young Lloyd? Because young Lloyd is ready for you.

Armed with a decade of experience in the game and many heavy hitting collaborations (from Rick Ross to Young Jeezy to Ashanti), the Atlanta-based singer/songwriter is currently blowing up on the R&B scene on both sides of the Atlantic.

Born in New Orleans to two musically gifted parents, Lloyd Harlin Polite Jr was destined to get into the business. He was 10 when he joined R&B trio Ntoon under the management of R&B veteran Joyce Irby and impressively recorded at Dallas Austin’s studios in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 2001, the young star signed to US basketball star Magic Johnson’s MJM label, a venture that - regrettably for Lloyd – buckled, leaving him back at square one. However it wasn’t long before his skills began to attract the attention of industry bigwigs Antonio ‘L.A.’ Reid of LaFace Records and Murder Inc. founder Irv Gotti. When both execs offered up deals, Lloyd chose to join the ranks of The Inc. army with hip hop superstars Ashanti and Ja Rule.

The perseverance is paying off. His hot new single ‘You’ featuring Lil’ Wayne has shot to number one on the US R&B charts and had to be taken off BET's 106 & Park’s Top 10 Live after returning as number one on the network for 34 days straight.

Speaking from the Universal Motown offices in New York, the soft spoken singer tells The Situation in his first ever international interview why even the ‘most ruggedest’ gangsters need a little romance and the secrets behind his unwavering drive and ambition.

So you’re in New York, but you seem to be really tight with your family in Atlanta.

Where I’m from family is most important. They were with me before the music. Before anything man, they were my biggest fans. I remember singing for them on Christmas Eve in my pyjamas and now that I’m here – they’re still my biggest supporters – they travel with me too.

Who’s travelling with you now and how have they influenced the decisions you’ve made in your career?

Well right now I have my uncle Ronnie with me. (My family) have always influenced me because they’ve supported me and haven’t ever been opposed to my decisions or my creativity. They’ve always embraced my core development.

In addition to being a recording artist, you’ve started your own label Young Goldie Records and consider yourself a business man…

I think it should always be about pushing the limits with the music and the business. And music is my business so I take it very seriously. I feel like people see me being young and talented and assume that will go far. But they also think that because I’m young, I might not know as much as I need, or I might not have what it takes to become successful on my own two feet. I’ve got a lot to prove.

Do you think it’s important for young black artists to stay in control of their own business dealings?

Oh definitely. I think it’s important for not only young black artists, but young artists in general. Young people period. Because we are the future.

Who’s had the biggest musical influence on your work?

My mum. Yeah, she’s my biggest fan and my best friend, I have her on speed dial at all times.

What about other artists?

Well in terms of my music, I’d have to say my friend Jasper Cameron – who wrote the song ‘You’. He’s been my greatest musical influence because he was the first person to believe in me enough to write my own songs, to encourage me to write my own songs. Jasper is incredible. He co-wrote Ciara’s ‘Promise’, co-wrote for Christina Aquilera and for Nelly. He’s very talented and I’m proud to have him as a friend.

What did you listen to growing up?

My mum tells me the first song I sang was that [breaks into Salt ‘N Pepa’s ‘Push It’] “Oooh babay babay...' She said that I wouldn’t know how to speak, talk or do anything, but I could clap on beat and sing that song.

Also I have a big brother named Dallas Austin – and when I go to his studio in Atlanta and I look on the walls where he keeps big plaques of people he’s worked with in the past, such as Gwen Stefani, Boyz II Men, ABC (Another Bad Creation), and TLC. If you look further down the hall you’ll see Bjork, Madonna – you know those kinds of artists. And that opened me up to all different sides of music, because up until then I was mostly into hip hop and R&B.

When I was younger I listened to Sam Cook, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Usher Raymond until I met Dallas – where I opened up. Now I’m into Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Greenday and Beastie Boys. Also the Beach Boys and the Beatles – all different kinds of things.

Having acted as a member of a group and as a solo artist, which do you prefer and why?

I have no preference – I just want to be on stage doing music. The cool thing about being in a group was that I had brothers – the camaraderie was there – me and my amigos. We all loved to make music equally. So if I ever felt like ‘Dang, I need an extra energy burst’, or an extra push, I just looked to my side and I saw my brothers up there doing they thing. And now it’s me by myself. The cool thing about being solo is that I can’t really point the finger at anyone. It’s really up to me to make it happen. I’m cool with that challenge.

As an R&B singer – how important is it to be a romantic guy?

Oh, (it’s) important. I think it’s important to have a variety of personalities when it comes to music. So you have the hopeless romantics like myself; you have your more aggressive R&B artists like a Nate Dogg or an Akon. You gotta have you entertainers – your Chris Brown. You need that variety – you have Gnarls Barkley who are worldwide now and who do other kinds of music as well. Then you have your down south booty shake songs - like R. Kelly. You gotta just have all kinds of things to choose from.

I think that at the end of the day, everyone likes to feel loved; everyone likes love. At the end of the day when they’re hooking up with a nice girl, even the hardest most ruggedest gangstas – they’re listening to Lionel Richie. And you’re like, ‘I didn’t expect this from you’, but it just shows me that the streets need love and for me to be able to provide that… that’s my thing.

Where do you get the inspiration for your love songs?

From my experiences and friends’ experiences.

Do you have a special lady right now?

No, not right now. I’m lookin’ though – what you doing later? You wanna hook up?!

After so many ups and downs, a lot of people would have thrown in the towel – what drives you to carry on?

Yup – so many ups and downs. I’ve got a tattoo on my wrist and it says, ‘No struggle, no progress’ - it’s a [American slavery abolitionist] Frederick Douglas quote and I think that applies to everything. I think anything worth having is never gonna be easy – if it is I don’t want it.

You have to earn your way to where you wanna be. You have to prove yourself over and over again – and great success comes with even greater expectations. So I just try not to be too content with myself or my situation. I want to push for more and more and I always keep in mind that you have to put more to gain more.

Are you ever scared to get too comfortable?

Definitely – that’s one of my biggest fears.

You must have been really disappointed when the Magic Johnson Records deal fell through?

Um... yes. Because I felt like I earned a shot – that I deserved a shot and I was never granted that chance. You know the one frustrating thing for any person, any ball player, is to have to sit on the sidelines and watch the game being played by your peers, knowing that you have a lot to offer – if only you’d get the chance.

What I do though, is I take that and turn it all into motivation, and I say look, I might not have it now, but when I do get my chance to play, I’m going to go off.

Who is the most interesting person you’ve worked with and why?

Well there are a few interesting people – actually everyone I work with is interesting. Jazze Pha is interesting because he’s very energetic and focused on living in the moment. I might walk in the studio and sing: ‘Dah dah dah dah dah doo dah’, and he’ll say, ‘Oh my gosh – what is that? Go in there and record it right now!’ and I’ll say, ‘But Jazz – there’s no words!’ and he says, ‘Don’t worry – we’ll put words to it later.’ He’s got that ‘just get in there and do it’ attitude.

Andre 3000’s interesting ‘cos he doesn’t really work on anything, he just does what he wants.

What was that like working with Andre from Outkast?

Yeah, he raps on my song 'You', which is incredible. I actually wasn’t there, but he recorded it on Thanksgiving Day, and I had got hold of it a little later and fell in love with it.

And with Lil’ Wayne – did you record together?

Oh see, now me and Wayne have recorded together – I didn’t record (‘You’) with him because he was recording out of Miami at the time, but when I worked with him in Atlanta, we freestyled together. The cool thing with Wayne is we don’t write anything down when we work together. We just draw off of inspiration. Lil’ Wayne saves trees.

What is your creative process like? How do you write songs?

Sometimes I don’t write them – sometimes I just record them. Other times I write ‘em in my phone, in my Sidekick, or in between stops, you know? Other times I’ll hook up with my best friend Jasper Cameron and we’ll write together. Sometimes I just lock myself away in a room. It all depends on the mood and setting, the time of year, the weather – all different kinds of things.

Have you listened to any UK artists at all?

I like Lady Sovereign – [starts singing] ‘Love me or hate me that is the question.’ I think she’s just raw and rugged – she lets it go. She lives in the moment and that’s important.

What’s next in the pipeline for you?

Well, I’ll be promoting and touring my album ‘Street Love’. Hopefully I’ll be in the UK very soon!

Lloyd’s new album ‘Street Love’ is out now on The Inc./Universal Motown. For more information, please go to his official website, http://www.lloydpolite.com/