It’s not every day Drake shouts you out in a livestream, but LAVI$H makes it look real easy.
Hailing from Zambia but raised in Winnipeg, the rising star arrives on the scene with his own unique sound, style, and swag. While he’s been enthralled with music since he can remember, it wasn’t until he was discovered by Chubbs from Drake’s OVO Sound imprint when things really started to kick into gear… and he’s incredibly humbled by it all.
While LAVI$H used to rap, Drake’s “Headlines” was the first ever Hip Hop/R&B song he ever heard. He now describes his sound as “timeless and refreshing, sometimes even genreless.” LAVI$H explains, “You can’t really pinpoint the genre of music that I make sometimes, I don’t like to be put in one thing.”
Now, the 25-year-old signs to Def Jam, releasing his highly-anticipated debut project titled You Made A Big Mistake. The seven-track project is spearheaded by lead singles “Big Mistake” and “World In My Hands.”
AllHipHop spoke with LAVI$H virtually, who was located in Toronto. Read below as we discuss his love for music, how Chubbs discovered him, Drake shouting him out, the new project, opening for PARTYNEXTDOOR, goals, and more!
AllHipHop: When did you fall in love with music?
LAVI$H: Honestly, I fell in love with music when I was 10, 11 years old. My first time ever hearing music, any artist of any genre, it was Billy Talent. I was introduced to Drake by my sister. “Headlines” was the first ever Hip Hop, R&B melody type of music that I ever heard from any artist. That’s cool that we have a connection now, he was the first ever R&B type rap artist that I’d ever heard.
AllHipHop: I know Chubbs discovered you, but before that, when did you know you wanted to do music for a living?
LAVI$H: So in my African community back in Winnipeg, we throw a lot of parties. Our parents would throw a lot of parties, whether it’s somebody’s birthday or somebody’s graduation. You just always loved throwing parties. African parties go forever, until 4 o’clock in the morning. While the party’s going on, I’d always see my cousins freestyling by some stand, or somewhere outside or beside the building. I never wanted to jump in because I was always so scared.
One day, I jumped in. It was terrible, but they were super nice to me. My two cousins had a studio and I knew they were artists. First of all, I asked their parents if I could come over to the house and make music, because I knew they would say no. The first song I ever made was at their house. I gave myself a name. I called myself Kid Crew, because I wore a lot of crewnecks when I was younger. [laughs] That’s when I first started falling in love with music.
AllHipHop: How’d you get the name LAVI$H?
LAVI$H: I gave myself the name LAVI$H after 1500 names. It’s more so the voices that I’m able to sing in. I can sing in a deeper voice, in a high voice, in a falsetto voice. I can do all different sorts of things with my voice, and also my heart. I take pride in being a good person. It’s more so what’s inside that is lavish, rather than outside. It’s not the whole lavish lifestyle thing. It’s more so what’s inside of me, that makes me LAVI$H.
AllHipHop: How did Chubbs discover you? What did that mean to you?
LAVI$H: It was crazy. I have my friend, business partner, and photographer Astral, and this other guy works at OVO named Whoa. It was 2019, they were shopping my music around to different people. I had no idea, I didn’t know they were doing this. One of the people that they’d sent music to Chubbs. They were sending him rap records, R&B and trap records. One day just before New Years, they sent him the song I did back in my parent’s basement called “Somebody.”
It was the first song I ever sang in falsetto. It wasn’t the best singing, but I made it feel like there was the best singing because I knew how to mix and master. I knew how to do this, so I made it sound amazing. He heard that from Astral and Whoa. He hit me up on New Years of 2020 like, “whenever you’re ready to work, I’m here, I’m ready to go.” At first, I didn’t believe it was him. Because why is this guy that works with this other guy that I looked up to, the first artist that I ever heard, why is he hitting me up? What do I have that’s so special? It was surreal.
But going back to the messages, looking at the name and putting two and two together, yo this is Chubbs. This is happening. From there, he invited me over to a pool party. It was somebody’s birthday. Before I knew Chubbs, I knew him as this strong, standoff-ish Chubbs. The Chubbs that we know. I met him at the pool party, the way he said hi. His voice was just a shock to me. He’s like, “hey man, how you doing?”
I stood back like wait, this is not the same person. But it was. He flew me to Drake’s properties and we started working there. Worked there for a couple months, that’s when we started building EP out. We started working on the EP, working on the songs and forming a relationship.
AllHipHop: As someone that listens to Drake, what did that mean to you?
LAVI$H: It was surreal. Either before or after I signed to Chubbs, we were at a house in LA. It was a party. Chubbs texted me like “yo, Drake’s coming.” He comes, I go find somewhere to sit. By myself, because I don’t want anyone around me. If he comes up to me, by myself. No distractions, but not thinking it’s going to happen. Next thing you know, I get a tap on my shoulder and it’s Drake.
I don’t know why I did this, I look up and then I look down. Then I look up again. [laughs] He’s like, “what’re you doing?” We had a little conversation. I introduced myself, we had a great talk. That right there meant everything to me. Not that meeting Chubbs and building a relationship with Chubbs didn’t make it real, but meeting Drake and all the other guys that made it even more real.
AllHipHop: I saw Drake shout you out recently, how did that feel?
LAVI$H: He was on Live with Stake, doing the betting that he does. He mentioned some artists that he’s listening to, I was one of the artists that came up. That was almost… it didn’t feel real. Because, in the moment, he’s saying my name. I kept repeating that in my head, I’m trying to take it in. It was so much, I couldn’t take it in until the next day. You got everybody hitting me up, you got management saying this. You got people commenting, “Drake shouted you out!” Oh my goodness, it was a lot. But it felt amazing. I’m finally doing something and somebody I look up to sees what I’m doing as valid.
AllHipHop: Definitely want to talk about You Made A Big Mistake, debut EP out now. Why did you name it that?
LAVI$H: People think it’s for a specific reason, I guess it is. I really named it that title for people to relate to. That title and the songs are for people’s perception, however they relate to You Made A Big Mistake is how I want them to. Because it’s such a broad, vast term that it’s easy for people to relate to.
AllHipHop: Who or what inspired “World In My Hands”?
LAVI$H: “World In My Heads” was inspired by someone very special, very close to my heart. A special somebody.
AllHipHop: A girl?
LAVI$H: Yeah. [laughs] A girl. A woman.
AllHipHop: How does she feel that the song’s about her?
LAVI$H: She loves it, one of her favorite songs. She couldn’t wait until it was out. She’s been asking me to put that out forever, but we had to deal with the paperwork. Now, she finally gets to listen to it. Because I played it for her before, but I couldn’t really send it. [laughs]
AllHipHop: How was it opening for PARTYNEXTDOOR?
LAVI$H: I did DVSN first, then PARTYNEXTDOOR a couple weeks ago. That was my most nervous nervous show I’ve ever had. Right before I’m supposed to go on, I had no idea that Drake was there. I had no idea Baka was there. I thought it was just me, my friend Savannah Re, that’s it.
AllHipHop: I love Savannah!
LAVI$H: Right before I go on, they show me whoever’s on the bill. They show me that and this rainfall of anxiety poured onto me. I’m walking out on stage, I was shaking. I’m gripping the mic with my dear hands. But once I was out there, it was amazing. I have to do this, it doesn’t matter who’s here. This is my opportunity to shine, to show them under pressure. It was amazing. Super amazing.
AllHipHop: Any goals for yourself?
LAVI$H: Definitely, to become everything I’ve always ever dreamt of. I want to sell out Madison Square Garden one day. I want to perform alongside a lot of these artists that I look up to. I want to do an album with Adele, an album with Morgan Wallen. I want to do an album with Drake, a full body of work. I want to take care of my loved ones, I want everyone to be good. I want to be that for everybody else. I want to be the person they can come to. Whether it’s personal or financial, I’ll be there.
AllHipHop: What are you excited for coming up?
LAVI$H: I have a tour. I’m going on tour with Tamia in South Africa. Very, very soon. We’re going to Cape Town, Johannesburg, and somewhere else in front of 10K people. I’m super nervous, so wish me luck. While I’m there, I’m going back to Zambia to see my family. Back to Congo to see my other family, so that’s super exciting. I’m going to the UK. I have a Toronto show coming up, I’ll give you the details on that too. It’s a lot of exciting stuff.
AllHipHop: Last question, how’s your family reacting to all this?
LAVI$H: You know, not to say they weren’t supportive before. They’re always going to be supportive, parents are always going to support the kids. But now that this is the only thing I’m doing and it’s good music. [laughs] For one, it’s really good music. Before, I wasn’t making the best music. I’ll take that. But now it’s really really good music. They’re seeing me with these celebrities, in the spotlight. They love it, they’re very supportive of it. I get calls from kids 12 years old talking about “can I have some OVO gear? Can I meet Drake? Can I meet Sevyn Streeter?” [laughs] It’s amazing.