Laytrel is a rapper/producer/instrumentalist, who is originally from DC but currently from Baltimore. Fresh off his release of “Talk About“, 1DF caught up with “DMV wonder-kid” Laytrel to talk about his roots in music, the local scene, aspirations, creative processes, and much more.
I know your Dad was involved in your origins as a musician. Can you tell me more about that and how his own influences and stylistic choices helped shape you as an artist?
As a kid, I watched my dad record music in the basement. I had to be about seven years old. One day, my dad surprised me with a guitar after work. Right away, I began figuring out how to play. Over time, my dad brought me a four-track tape recorder which is when I first laid down guitar tracks as he played my drum beats. Everyday after school, I was creating music while other kids were playing football and video games.
What kind of role does guitar play in your production/live show? Does it inspire your writing at all?
Guitars play the biggest role in my creativity. The majority of the time guitars are my go to instrument because they bring out my deepest thoughts, personal emotions ,and experiences. As a artist, I’m able to write my best lyrics when guitars are present.
Being someone that’s experienced both the Baltimore and the DC scene, what would you say are some differences between the two?
Baltimore & DC are so close in distance but have completely different cultures. DC is home to go-go and Baltimore is home to Bmore Club. The slang is completely different along with the accent.
How can we “do better” as a DMV scene?
In a lot of cases, there is no space to grow. Most promoters are looking to scam artists more than help their career. I could go out of town, perform, and make money. Or I can perform in town and get charged a ridiculous fee for a show that was barely promoted/left up to the artist through ticket sales, etc.
Along those same lines, what needs to change about the game today?
I always felt like the real lyricist are dying out. It’s all about what’s catchy with each new song sounding the same as the last.
I’m a media sponge like many in 2018. And the things I read and watch very much inform my own writing. Have any books or films in particular had a significant influence on your creative process?
As of now, the only current books I have been reading are marketing. I would say that learning marketing has taught me find my own niche. This is one of the reasons I’ve been exemplifying my love for guitars. Guitars brought out the best artist in me long before I got into rap/hip-hop.
I enjoy writing more than any other leg of the creative process (writing, recording, performing, etc). What’s your favorite aspect, and why?
My favorite aspect is writing. Being able to creatively put together metaphors no one else has thought of is my favorite part. It’s important to me that songs have meanings. I like to write from my personal emotions and relate to others to connect everyone together who felt alone in that particular situation. Recording is also therapeutic. It frees my mind of any troubles and puts me in a complete different world.
“Talk About” was a dope visual. Seems like you had a real vision there and executed it. Do you get in the director’s chair for your visuals or let the videographer handle that?
I’m always in the director’s chair with everything when it comes to my music, especially the visuals. My goal as a artist is to never be cliche. Even if it might be slightly similar to something that’s out, I will definitely have my own twist on it. I’m always open to input and advice when it comes to recording and videos, but ,overall, I have 90% say-so in my music.
Desert island album and why:
Desert island album would be KOD by Cole. One, he’s my favorite artist, but there are also so many messages within the album. He talks about government, drugs, tax money, meditate don’t medicate…Even the song towards Lil Pump had a way different than any other artist had taken before. He didn’t diss him back but instead stated facts. He made it clear that he understands Lil pump and hopes he makes the best decisions with his career.
2019 goals vs 5 year goals, Go!
2019 goals are releasing a lot of music and videos while executing proper marketing. Also, getting back on the road and doing shows out of town while meeting old and new fans. Expanding my brand, starting my clothing brand, more interviews.
5 year goal is establishment. Everything leading up to my 5 year goal is putting in the work, building, networking, traveling, and making my mark. Within 5 years I should have a solid foundation and groove in what I’m doing.
Break the people off with some choice words and tell them where to find you:
Never, ever, EVER let slow progress discourage you from your dreams. Also, it may be extremely hard for people to believe in your talents but with time and the right execution, they will all become believers.