From "Get it Shawty," to "Southside," R&B singer, Lloyd has made a name for himself in the pop and R&B world. Hailing from Atlanta, the charismatic singer talks to me about his life and latest CD, Lessons in Love.
Check out our Q&A:
BGG: You seem extremely excited. Are you happy to be here?
Lloyd: I’m here in New York City and I’m extremely happy to be here! This is the city of opportunity that never sleeps! It feels refreshing to be in a place that's alive and full of life. Where I’m from originally, New Orleans, is pretty devastated. It hasn’t been restored to the place of musical genius, exquisite taste or fun-loving people like it used to be. So to come here and just see this place alive feels good.
BGG: When did you move from New Orleans? I know that you currently live in Atlanta.
Lloyd: I’ve been in Atlanta since the age of 2. So basically pretty much all of my life. Ever since my father was murdered, we moved to Atlanta.
BGG: Do you have siblings?
Lloyd: At the time it was just my sister, Brandi, my mom and me. From there, my mom would go on to have 4 more kids.
BGG: Do you want to expound on your father’s passing?
Lloyd: He was shot. It wasn’t the nicest neighborhood where we’re from. In fact, it was the worst neighborhood in New Orleans. My father was a saxophonist, vocalist and choir director. He’s someone who I often credit for giving me my gift. I think it’s hereditary. A lot of things that I do, my mom says reminds her of him. Certain ways I look at her, etc. So I didn’t know him, I just knew about him. Throughout the years he has become probably the foundation of what really drives me to be the best. It's like he didn’t die in vain. He died trying to provide a better life for us. It’s like the ultimate sacrifice he made in order for me to have a better life. If he had never been killed, then we probably never would’ve moved to Atlanta. It’s also taught me to just find the blessings buried in tragedy.
BGG: So I was reading that you used to be a member of the singing group N-Toon? Tell me about that.
Lloyd: We had a single and we had a video. This was back in like 1999. Sammy was out right around that time too. We were all really good friends. We also had the same management. We’re actually still really close to this day.
BGG: Why did you decide to leave the group?
Lloyd: It really wasn’t a decision; it was more like an ultimatum. It was like, if you want to continue doing music, you’re going to have to do it by yourself because for some reason that’s greater than myself the group couldn’t go on. I always try to encourage the guys to get back together.
BGG: How many members were there?
Lloyd: Four, including my little brother!
Lloyd: That’s hot right there!!
BGG: What’s hot? (I didn’t notice that his newest music video, "Girls Around the World," starts playing on the TV while we're talking)
BGG: How does it make you feel when you turn on the TV and there you are?
Lloyd: It makes me feel even better to see Hype (Williams’, the music video director) name up there!! (laughing) It’s a great feeling! It feels like I’m breathing the freshest air right now. It feels like I’m on top of my game and that I’m giving the people all that I can and I feel really good about it.
Check out the video for "Girls Around the World":
BGG: What was it like working with Lil’ Wayne on Lessons in Love?
Lloyd: Well, he’s the hottest rapper in the world so being able to collaborate with him is like an out-of-body experience. I hope to work with him again in the future. We’ve already had a lot of collaborations over the past few years. I think we really have pretty good chemistry. When you’re making music, it’s not rocket science. It’s just feeling, emotion and the moment. It’s about trying to capture special moments in time. You never know if someone is going to like something. I just know that whenever we work, we always enjoy the music that we’re doing. We always have a great time. We’ll be jumping off the walls, saying, “When people hear this they’re going to love it!”
BGG: So was this ("Girls Around the World") song the most fun to record?
Lloyd: Definitely. Out of all of the songs I recorded for this album, this was my favorite; in terms of having to be the most fun while making it. It was very organic. I came in with a bass line idea originally. We had already recorded about 12 songs for the album, so we were near the end of the recording process. The base of the album had already been recorded, but I still wanted that banger. I had the bass line in my head, but I just didn’t know how to get it out! So I called up my friends and they met me at the studio, they called the bass player, the piano player, etc. We ended up creating it right there, starting with the bass line. It was just on and poppin! It was like a party.
BGG: Was Lil’ Wayne there?
Lloyd: No, I sent it to him. You know due to our schedules he wasn’t there.
BGG: How did you get signed to the Inc.?
Lloyd: I met Irv (Gotti) from a friend of a friend and we just hit it off immediately.
BGG: How is this album different from your two previous CDs?
Lloyd: It’s less selfish, it’s not so much about me, me, me – give me what I want, this is how I feel. It’s less about Lloyd and more about the listeners. I’m sharing lessons that I’ve learned with them. Before, I was growing into my own skin. I was just recognizing myself with my fans. Then I was the student, now I’m the teacher! (laughing) The music’s much better. It’s more solid and the ideas are a little bit more advanced. I think that’s good and healthy for your creative mind.
BGG: What do you want your listeners to feel when they hear this album?
Lloyd: I want them to feel good! I want them to feel like they can depend on me to help make them feel better. They can depend on me to be those missing words that will make their love lives a bit better. I want them to feel like this is great music.
BGG: Do you prefer singing ballads or up-tempo tracks?
Lloyd: It doesn’t even matter! It just depends on how you feel. Sometimes I want to party – I want to go fast. I’ll drop my top and play “Get it Shawty,” “Girls Around the World,” etc. Then there are times when I’m at home and I just want something that sets the mood and that’s when the ballads come into play.
BGG: What lessons have you learned pertaining to the music business since the last album?
Lloyd: That thee most challenging thing to do is to challenge yourself. The best thing for music is more challenges. There are more young acts representing for themselves and their families through their music. When I listen to the radio today and hear all of these young kings coming with it, it forces me to do better. It only fuels the drive. At the end of the day, we only have ourselves to fight. You can become your worst enemy, you can lose yourself so you have to have a very strong mind and you have to be willing to push yourself and give people more than what’s expected of you. Now I’m not just writing or singing, I’m I’m executively producing and releasing projects through my own company. I’m taking a bigger stand and I’ve learned that music’s opportunities are limitless.
BGG: What inspired you to create your own label? What kinds of artists are you looking for?
Lloyd: I’m looking for artists who are creative individuals who dare to be different. I’m looking for any genre because I like all music. I love John Mayer, Coldplay, Phil Collins, etc. I just like all music.
BGG: How do you handle female groupies that throw themselves at you? What keeps you focused?
Lloyd: My upbringing, my family, what I stand for ultimately. There are days when I want to succumb to temptation, but then I remember why I’m here and how I got here. Not taking a girl’s heart for granted and realizing that by going out and indulging in these temptations, I’m no really helping out – that’s not the answer to the problem. You know sex and love is misrepresented through the media. Sex is overtly advertised, but nobody wants to talk about before you have sex, you should understand who you are and what you’re looking to get out of your relationship. Love is something that’s supposed to last forever. Sex is just for a moment.
BGG: Will guys feel left out if they bought your Lessons in Love?
Lloyd: No, not at all. That’s the cool thing about my music; I’m the guy that the girls want to be with and the guys want to be like. Not to say that arrogantly, but I want to be the guy who has the song with Rick Ross or just be crazy with it or I want to be the guy who sets the mood. Kind of like John Travolta’s character on Grease; tough guy on the outside, but nice good guy on the inside!
BGG: What do you want people to know about Lloyd?
Lloyd: I want people to know that I’m one of the good guys! I’m looking out for them. I’m not going to be the one who disrespects them. I’m the gentleman of my crew! I want them to know that. I also want them to know that music isn’t just a check for me. It’s something that I really value and cherish and hold dear to my heart. When I record I try to give it all that I have.
Lloyd's CD, Lessons in Love is in stores now.