Lloyd: On the Inc., Making Love, and Music

In today’s music, artists are recycled faster than you can say “one hit wonder.” Competition is always ready and willing to knock those withstanding out of the limelight. With steady decreases in album sales, it can be really difficult to maintain your relevance. R&B upperclassman Lloyd managed to stay focused on his music during a time when his label was going through challenges and even released one of the hottest records of 2007, Street Love. Mr. “Long Hair Don’t Care” has long since made the pilgrimage to The Inc., a label that has been increasingly broadening its horizons post-Ashanti with signees like Vanessa Carlton. In the midst of all that [plus controversy] lies Lloyd – a rising superstar waiting in the wings to takeover R&B. He sits with us to talk about his new album Lessons In Love, a very tight-lipped discussion on The Inc., and how making music is a lot like making love. AllHipHop.com Alternatives: How did you initially get the attention of Irv Gotti?Lloyd: Through my music. I think that for all the young acts out there that start to get on, if you got good music it will get heard.AHHA: So when you first signed to The Inc., that’s when all the legal troubles were unwinding. How did you feel as a new artist coming into that?Lloyd: I just make good music. I don’t really let other things get to me. I just try to block out what’s going on around me and focus on what I’m here to do.AHHA: Were you worried that your talent wouldn’t get much recognition?Lloyd: No, I mean that’s the sole reason why I pushed the single “You” with Lil Wayne at the time, because Hurricane Katrina had devastated my family in New Orleans. I had no label support. So I just decided to take matters into my own hands and release what would become one of the hottest songs of the year.AHHA: At one point you went on to sign with ShoNuff Records with Jazzy Pha. Is that why you decided to go that route during that time?Lloyd: Well me, Jazzy and Noonie, we’ve always had a great relationship; they’re pioneers of the Atlanta sound. [Jazzy] was just someone who I’ve always wanted to work with. I’m actually managed by ShoNuff which is Noonie. So we all have a great relationship.AHHA: Back to The Inc., how do you feel about certain acts kinda separating themselves from that roster?Lloyd: Again, I don’t really focus on anything other than making good music.AllHipHop.com: So with Warner/Chappell, the publishing deal, how did that come about for you?Lloyd: Chris Hicks and Noonie have been really good close friends, just following my music. I think that by me waiting to do a publishing deal as opposed to just jumping right into it younger, I thought that was the biggest thing for me because it gave me a chance to develop my songwriting and to build my catalog before signing. AHHA: Did you write a lot of the tracks on this new album?Lloyd: Oh yea I wrote and I even produced.AHHA: How does Lessons in Love differ from your last two albums?Lloyd: Well you know it’s different from anything I’ve ever recorded. The sound is completely different. It’s a little more soul sometimes. Other times it’s the coolest up tempos. I chose to work with some new faces – Nelly, Polow Da Don, Ludacris for the first time. And I even went back to some good friends of mine who I worked with before like Jasper, Reese, J-Lac [Usher’s brother], Eric Hudson. I’m even producing on the album for the first time, and I always feel like making music is a lot like making love. The idea of always taking a different approach and trying new things and keeping it exciting. The sound is different, but the coolest thing about it is the stability in the music. I think that it’s a continuation of last year’s Street Love in a sense of feeling good and its great love songs. AHHA: Which tracks in particular do you feel display your growth the most on this album? It seems to be more mature than the last. Lloyd: There’s a song called “I Can Change Your Life” that I recorded with a good friend of mine, Oakwood, and it was written by R.L. of Next. That is a great, great R&B love song. I think that it was a big stepping out for me as far as vocals are considered. I tried to take it to a different place on this one that I never took it before. I think that that one was probably the most challenging to record.AHHA: Tell us about Young Goldie Music and why it was created.Lloyd: Young Goldie Music, that’s me! Young Goldie was created solely for the purpose of me making sure my sound was what I wanted it to be. Also, it was me making a stand for myself claiming my independence as not only a songwriter and an artist, but as an executive producer. Young Goldie is really just about the energy of the young people that’s actually out here making the music that the old guys is getting all the credit for. AHHA: Do you have any artists right now?Lloyd: No, no one is signed yet, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be by the end of the year.AHHA: What projects are you involved in outside of music?Lloyd: Outside of music, I’m very involved in my community, which is Atlanta. Always on the scene in the ATL trying to shine some light on the darker corners of the hood. Between that and just traveling a lot and actually even getting into other forms of entertainment like acting. Theater is something that I did a lot as a kid. So I have a lot of aspirations to try different things. But I’m really focused on the music right now. AHHA: Who are some of your musical influences?Lloyd: Marvin Gayne, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown. I really like Usher, who is one of the more recent people who I really respect. And to take it way back, even Sam Cooke. AHHA: What would you say are some of your biggest career accomplishments to date?Lloyd: I think the biggest accomplishment is that I’m here with you right now and not at home watching this on TV or on my computer. For me, the biggest accomplishment out of everything, is that I’m still here very much so and getting better and stronger. And for me to stay in the game when it’s so challenging and when the stakes are high says a lot. I’m not really nostalgic. I don’t really like to dwell on what was in the past, or accomplishments in the form of awards or medallions but more so about just still being able to touch people through my music.