Lloyd: The Inspiration

Most young R&B artists look to their lefts and look to their rights, sizing up fellow soldiers to the movement like straight competition. But for Lloyd, every true young lover of sound is a direct reflection of himself and his journey to our ears. Maybe it’s his long locks that caught your attention, or his clever take on a Spandau Ballet classic with his hit single “You”, but Lloyd’s success was far from overnight and his fame will last miles beyond that as well. His secret? Diversity.

The young musician/businessman sat down with us to elaborate on his Southern stomping grounds, a well-oiled machine of a career that he maintains himself, along with his mantra that big things don’t come easily. Formerly of Disney fame (little known fact), Lloyd is a grown man now, with grown hair, and rumors of grown relationships. If his boyish good looks don’t captivate you, his voice will.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives: A lot of people thought you came from left field [with your debut Southside] because there is a whole audience of people who never knew [about] the Disney stuff. How do you look at how your career has progressed over the last five years, and what do you think is the biggest lesson that you’ve learned?

Lloyd: The biggest lesson that I’ve learned within the past five years is that five years ago everything is “woulda coulda shoulda.” I was just a big dreamer, “What if I had a record deal? What if I had the opportunity to be here with you today?” Now that I do have that opportunity it really humbles me a great deal, because I understand the struggle that it took to get here. No struggle no progress is what I say.

AHHA: You were working with Joyce [Irby] from Klymaxx [who were] meshing Hip-Hop, R&B, Punk, Rock, everything personified into an all-girl band. To get that kind of tutelage from someone like her… I’m sure you learned a lot about performing.

Lloyd: It’s definitely a blessing to be surrounded by greatness, and I say greatness meaning the people who have really worked hard to establish who they are in music such as a Joyce Irby or a Jazze Pha or an Irv Gotti or Dallas Austin. To be surrounded by these divas and divos, as you say, at a very early age, it was very inspiring to me, because I would look at them and I would be able to see myself in them years from now. They would always encourage me to just push it there and take it to that and undiscovered limit. I’m very grateful to have them in my life because I’ve been able to learn a lot from them. When you’re surrounded by it you must be destined for it.

AHHA: Obviously your singing is something that people know you for now, but we saw your little uprock in the [“You”] video, so we know you can dance. What is your history in dance, and where do you see yourself going with that?

Lloyd: Southern music has always been heavily dance influenced, even now with today’s market in snapping and walking it out. It’s always about having fun and having your own style and reflecting your characteristics through dancing. For me I’ve always been a fan of the great performers and entertainers, not people that just sing and dance but people that do the whole thing and entertain such as the Michael Jacksons, Bobby Browns and even Usher Raymonds. For me to have the opportunity to showcase my talent I think I should give people every aspect of what I can do, not just one side but both sides.

AHHA: We talked to Sisqo not too long ago. He said that he felt his hair set him apart from everyone else [and] that Ne-Yo, Chris Brown and everyone else were a bunch of clones. Your hair is very distinguishable. What do people say to you about your hair?

Lloyd: [laughs] “Can I play in it? Is It real?” Let me just say something, people always ask me what separates me from my peers, the Chris Browns, Omarions and Ne-Yos. I won’t name everyone because it’s a lot of inspiration out there. For me when I see these guys they’re reflections of myself, so for me to have any kind of negative feelings towards what they do would be totally ironic. I look at them and they serve as inspiration for me and I think that we should inspire each other and embrace each others’ gifts. If anything the one thing that separates [us] from each other is our music. It’s not a feature like hair, or skin color or the shirt I’m wearing. It’s about the music that I’m making and the message that I’m delivering through my music. They’re all my good friends, whenever I see those guys if we’re out and about I always walk up to ‘em and dap ‘em off and thank them for doing what they do.

AHHA: This album has been a long time coming. What was your reason [for that and] where are you at with it now?

Lloyd: Timing is everything, so for it to be a long time coming that just means that it took the time that was necessary to create the album. The worst thing I could have did was rushed it out or put it out too soon. I just took my time and made sure everything was right and now we have StreetLove which will be in stores March 13th. Cop that, yeah shawty [laughs]

AHHA: How do you personally feel about putting your music together? Is live instrumentation important to you?

Lloyd: I think the one thing that separates me is the ability to bridge the gap between Hip-Hop music and R&B music, which some people would consider much more of a live kind of thing and Hip-Hop more sampled music and heavy drum ridden beats. What I do is I take those heavy drum ridden beats and I put original melody to ‘em and that’s where you get StreetLove.

AHHA: As a young man, you have someone like D. Woods [from Danity Kane] in your video, and people start rumors. What kind of rumors have you heard about yourself?

Lloyd: I really don’t pay attention to ‘em. I don’t really stick around long enough to listen to ‘em. If there are rumors out there I don’t know about ‘em, I don’t really care to know about ‘em. If there’s questions about me and her, I get those a lot. I just tell them, “She’s my good friend”. We grew up together, she helped me promote my first album Southside as a backup dancer. She’s a great dancer, vocalist and entertainer. It just goes to show how we keep the unity amongst each other

AHHA: Break down to us how your project is being supported, because you do have so many companies involved…

Lloyd: Just to get the record straight, Sho-Nuff is my management team. Shout out to Noonie and Jazze who are my mentors and business partners. These guys helped me create my own production company, which is Young Goldie Music. At 21 years old one of the only artists to executively produce his albums, have creative control over his albums and to sign himself to himself and garnish the rights of the act to the label as Young Goldie.

For me it was a big step, it was about growth and development from the last time around and not being afraid to take it to the next level because there’s always another level to take it. For me I’m very confident in my sound, my first album I wasn’t quite so sure of my opinions. Now that I’ve done it, I’ve been out and experienced what the world has to offer I’m very confident in who I am, what I wanna be and where I wanna be. I just decided to kind of take my destiny into my own hands with the help of Sho-Nuff and I’m still signed to The Inc. Shout out to Irv Gotti, I can win it! New energy all around the board.

AHHA: A lot of young performers in the 20-21 age range are adults, but a lot of your fans are teenagers. Do you ever feel pressured to design your music a certain way because of how your younger audience might perceive it?

Lloyd: I definitely just take heed in what I say and do, because ultimately people do watch what you do, what you say and how you present yourself. It all comes from having a big family of six siblings, me being the oldest guy having three younger brothers and wanting to be rebellious at times, wanting to be wild and rambunctious then having to pull myself back and say “Man what are you doing? They’re watching you.” For me I’m very cautious, but I also understand the minds of the youth and I understand that even kids wanna have fun. So why shouldn’t I be the one to bring it to ‘em? Ultimately at the end of the day sometimes people are too literal, we should have fun and that’s what it should be about, letting music brighten your day and make you smile. If the kids smiled at TLC and their dances that’s fine with me.

AHHA: Your next song is called “Valentine”?

Lloyd: Actually I’m cross-promoting two songs at once. One being “Valentine”, which I would really target towards my older audience, my 21 and older grown folks. “Get It Shawty” is all formats [from] young, old, whatever. It’s very upbeat, up-tempo, it’s gonna make people wanna dance. I’m bringing it back to old school ATL style dancing, just real crunk yeeking is what they used to call it. It’s just very wild and spontaneous; I wanted to kind of bring it back to the essence of what the Atlanta sound is.

AHHA: How do you feel about that? A lot of people have said you’re from New Orleans originally.

Lloyd: I was born in New Orleans, but I’ve heard it’s not where you’re from it’s where you pay rent. I grew up in Atlanta, all my friends are in Atlanta. I got my start there, it was because of my move to Atlanta that I’m able to be here today. So for me to not acknowledge and respect that would be preposterous, I still have love for New Orleans, that’s my second home.

AHHA: We have a resurgence of people that can really sing and perform in R&B. There was a gap where everyone was complaining about R&B being in the toilet. Do you feel that R&B was bad for a while?

Lloyd: Personally, I feel that no genre should be oversaturated with one thing. The key to great music is a variety of different things, so “Feelin’ On Your Booty” in your opinion might not be good music, but to me it was a much needed variable to serious everyday life. I was 15 and to hear R. Kelly say “b-b-b-b-booty” I had to laugh. That’s what you need in music, today I think that everything is a stepping stone to now, and in the years leading up it took people like a R. Kelly to break the barriers with what we could and could not do with music, so that now we are limitless. To have someone like R. Kelly and to have someone like John Legend in the same boat – I own both albums and I like both artists. It opens my mind to everything.

AHHA: We talked to Ne-Yo, and he said he wanted to do a rock album. If you really wanted to just change directions, your fans said “I’m not touching that with a 10 foot pole” but you felt good about it, is that all that matters to you?

Lloyd: I think that it’s a 50/50 relationship; I am here today because of my fans embracing my music. If I know that my fans wanna dance but I’m doing slow 30’s rendition music it’s like “Hey, it’s not adding up here”. It’s like a relationship; I view it as a marriage. I’m married to them, so I kind of have to match what their expectations of me are. It’s like if you married me yesterday and I was this sweet guy who always brought you roses and candy, the next week you bought into this for life and it’s like “Wait a minute, you’re not the same guy anymore”. It’s that kind of thing, so you just have to be mindful. I say be mindful, but I also say never be afraid to take it there, never limit yourself no matter what you do.

A lot of times I’m very much so inspired by the left field. When Andre [3000] started switching his game up, everyone didn’t like it at first until he sold 10 million records then it’s like “Oh this stuff is good”. Sometimes people don’t understand change until you prove to them why it’s necessary. In our cases, us being the artists, the people who make the music [we] have to be the example. Look at Gnarls Barkley Cee-Lo Green is from Southwest Atlanta and he’s doing rock concerts with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There’s no limit to what we can do, it just has to be done the right way.

AHHA: What can we expect from your album production-wise, and what kind of guest appearances do you have?

Lloyd: Production-wise you can expect a wide range of the greatest talents in the world from Jazze Pha to Eric Hudson, [he’s] 19-years-old and plays five instruments, J-Lac, 22 years old incredible producer. Brian Michael Cox. Writing wise I had help working with Johnta Austin, Jasper Cameron and Big Reece who wrote and produced with me on this album. We form the Street Love crew, shout out to them. Feature-wise I’ve also worked with Lil Wayne, Andre 3000 and Nas. I’m pretty much keeping it limited, often times you’ll buy an album and it’s a lot of features where you don’t even really know whose album you just bought. I want to let people know that I’m capable.

AHHA: You came out with “Southside” and “You” – people are going to be looking to you for ballads and love songs. Is there anything on this album that people wouldn’t expect from you?

Lloyd: Well, I just say expect the unexpected. I’ve grown a lot since that last album, that first album is very cool and relaxed, a laid back kind of vibe. This album is much more upbeat, uptempo. I think that I stick to my formula, that being bridging the gap between Hip-Hop and R&B music to create one sound which I consider being street love. Since my first album I’ve been able to work with the likes of Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, 8Ball & MJG, Lil’ Scrappy, Snoop, DJ Khaled, DJ Drama. Working with those guys just helped me express myself in a whole ‘nother light because those guys are the hardest of the hardest of the streets. I just had to kind of adapt my game to fit what they do and now I have a whole new side of me.

AHHA: Is there anything else you want people to know?

Lloyd: Yeah StreetLove in stores March 13th, go get it. I also want everyone to know that we do it because we love it. Forget the money, fame and notoriety. It’s coming from the heart, it’s genuine and that’s why people relate. I encourage every young person to follow their dreams – chase the stars because they’re very much so attainable.

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