"Who's Hot?" Interview
We talked with emerging Houston, Texas rapper, Lona, in an exclusive interview! Just at the age of 21, he is barely scraping the surface of reaching his potential! Lona has gained support through consistent releases on his SoundCloud page, where he is best known for his songs "Have U", "Let U Tell It", and "Real Luv". He is gearing up to release a new album titled 346 later this month! This is an artist you will want to be on the lookout for in the near future!
We talked with Lona in an exclusive interview, check it out below!
Question: How long have you been making music and how did you get started?
Lona: I’ve been making music for about 5 years now. Music has always been something I loved, from being in band to writing songs as a kid but I didn’t start taking it seriously until I started rapping. I used to play basketball and after an injury, I was forced to find another passion. It was a rough time in my life, so I started writing songs to express how I felt and I fell in love with it.
Question: Musically, what are your biggest influences and who are your favorite musicians?
Lona: I could go on forever about artists who have influenced me, because I love so many different kinds of music and I’m a fan of a lot of artists but Tupac, Drake, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, and Brent Faiyaz to name a few.
Question: What musician would you most like to collaborate with and why?
Lona: Right now, I would say Drake just because everything he touches is gold and I’ve been a fan since I was like 12 years old so it’d mean a lot to me. Not to mention, he’s crazy talented so I feel like we could make some really dope music together.
Question: What do you feel is your best song you've ever released and why?
Lona: Honestly, I love all my songs but I feel like my best is yet to come. Real Luv is an important song for me though because I feel like that’s when I figured out how to say more with less.
Question: What motivates you and how do you define success?
Lona: I’m motivated by wanting to outdo myself just from a desire to be great, wanting to be able to take care of my family, and being counted out. I would define success as being financially comfortable and stable, buying my mom a house, putting my brother through school, just living out dreams that seemed distant as a kid. I just want to be able to share my art with the world and for people to be able to relate and connect, not all the materialistic shit.
Question: How do you generate new ideas?
Lona: I get ideas from everywhere and everything, so it would be hard to narrow it down to one method but as far as albums go I’ll duck off to look at what’s going on around me or in my life, do some self-reflection and that usually gets things going.
Question: How do you describe your music to people?
Lona: I just let the music speak for itself. I’m a man of few words by choice and I consider myself versatile when it comes to music so I just make whatever I feel at the time. My new project is definitely for driving, late nights, thinking, friends and relationships though. It’s a time piece of where I’m at right now, something people can live to.
Question: Do you believe there is a formula to being a successful artist?
Lona: I do but I feel like every artist has to figure out what that formula is for them. Every artist is different so everything doesn’t work for everybody.
Question: Who is your greatest inspiration?
Lona: So it’s like a 3 way tie. Tupac has always been like a ghost I’m chasing. To finish what he started and just how infectious he was to culture. Then I have to say Drake because he’s been the guy for our time and growing up his music helped me through a lot. I have to also say J. Cole for the same reason as Drake and I can relate to both.
Question: In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today and why?
Lona: Kanye and Drake for obvious reasons, I just feel like they have the ability to connect with people and create soundscapes that a lot of artists can’t which is why I hold them as standards for the level I want to reach.
Question: Which emotion more than any other, currently dominates your music? Joy, sadness, anger or passion etc. , and why?
Lona: I would say sadness, but it’s subtle. I don’t try to make people sad listening to the music but I feel like my music can be dark even though it feels good. And that’s just because I’ve had more of that in my life than anything but people deal with it so it’s important to talk about. Anger and passion also show up pretty often.
Question: What sacrifices have you had to make, to make your dream a reality?
Lona: I’ve had to sacrifice a lot, from friendships to love to family time but I know it’s all going to pay off.
Question: What aspect of the music making process excites you most, and what aspect discourages you the most?
Lona: The parts that excite me are telling my story in a creative way and seeing people connecting with it because that’s what I do it for at the end of the day. Music is therapeutic. And the most discouraging part I would say is just not knowing yet if all the work you put in is for nothing or if it’s truly appreciated.
Question: Where do you see yourself and your music in 10 years?
Lona: In 10 years I want to be on top of the game, 6/7 albums in, God-willing a few Grammys and focusing on pushing my own artists, writing films/shows, fashion, and acting. I don’t want to be pushing 40 still only making money off rap. And I want to be giving back to Houston, helping rebuild schools and improving communities.
Question: What advice would you give to other up and coming artists or people looking to break into the music industry?
Lona: I’d say to just to be 100% yourself and don’t be easily swayed. That’s probably the most important thing and I don’t feel like I’m in a position yet to just be giving out advice on how to make it. But I would say find a sound you like, study the legends and as long as you have talent and support there’s nothing you can’t do. But it won’t be easy and you can’t trust everyone, I will say that.
Question: Is there anything else you would like people to know about you or your music?
Lona: I just want people to know that it’s okay to feel, closing yourself off from emotions is just as bad as being in pain and that’s what I want my music to do. I want it to make people feel something while they’re listening. And my project 346 is dropping this month and I hope they take time to listen, sit with it, and unpack what I’m saying. Listen to it in your room at night or on a road trip or driving through your city. Hopefully everyone loves it like I do and the story I’m telling resonates.