"Music for me has always been my way of saying everything I don’t say in my day to day life." – Lilo Key

Brooklyn-based rapper Lilo Key has been building a name for himself as an independent artist in the industry. Since he released his single “Too Young” in 2016, Lilo has consistently dropped good music and earned himself a strong fanbase thats well over 100,000 monthly listeners. In 2017 he dropped his biggest song to date, Strange Things which has been streamed over 2.3 million times on Spotify alone. While building this impressive following, Lilo utilized music as a vent in which to sort through emotions and issues he was dealing with at the time. I had the chance to speak with him about his recording process, his ascent to his current position, and artist’s he’d like to work with.

Chris: “You think you could tell me more about the recording process for strange things?”

Lilo: “That was legit one of the quickest recording processes of a song I’ve done yet. Like I was browsing YouTube for new beat releases from a few producers I liked, and stopped at 1998’s beat called Stranger Things… I immediately loved the beat and the idea of changing the concept slightly to me and my people being “Strange Thangs”, and It was an easy concept to market even before writing the song. I think I came up with the hook within the first 3 min of listening to the beat… laid that down. Then with each of the 3 verses I just kinda looked at it as a challenge for myself to see how differently I could approach each flow wise, and linguistically. All while keeping the kinda loose central theme. I think in total it probably took me 45 min to write the song. 15 to record it. Few hours to mix it and shit, then it wasn’t but like 2-3 days after I finished the song that something came up, where I had to release a song to maintain a few promotional relationships as promo outlets were changing hands, and it just made sense to go with that song. Honestly one of the quickest turn arounds I’ve ever had from hearing the beat. Writing the song. Then less than 5 days later it’s out publicly, and doing the best Numbers I’d done on a record.”

Chris: “While you were recording it did you know it would be a hit or was it unexpected? Also is it personally your favorite track you’ve made or is there another?”

Lilo: “I didn’t know until I finished it. I never do with the ones that end up being my favorites and it’s a really similar thing like when I’m shooting a film. If while in the process of creation everything seems to be going great. It usually ends up being underwhelming by the end of it. But when I’m working on it and I’m making subtle mix changes and shit for so long, and I just can’t tell anymore if it’s good or not. I typically finish the song. Give it a few hours then go listen to it again. That’s when I knew it was a hit…..It’s one of my favorites I’ve released so far. Right up there with “24” “Doing 2 Well” and “Back To Me”. My all around favorite records tho I’ve yet to release.”

Chris: “Can you talk a bit on your inspirations both in your life as well as other artists that inspire you and how both of those translate into your music?”

Lilo: “Music for me has always been my way of saying everything I don’t say in my day to day life. It’s me way of talking through the things I’m struggling with. It’s my way of venting. Of talking about my accomplishments, and dealing with everything involved with growing up. That’s also why I’ve stuck with this for so long. I was making music for 8 years. Constantly. Before anything ever started to get recognition. I’ve thought about quitting so many times, but I always come back to song writing when I’m at my lowest, and it helps to bring me back… when Lilo Key started taking off. At the very beginning of it all. I was in a terrible place in life. Had just lost a relationship with a girl I loved who cheated on me with a rapper I looked up to at the time, and I was so fucking broke that the electric company was sending people to shut off our power every week. It was a really tough period of my life, and making music got me through it and helped me escape. These days idk really what artists really inspire me. It changes, and the last year it’s been more so single songs that I hear. If I listen to something and feel that passion and that heart behind it, and the hunger that I try to bring to everything I create. It inspires me, but I primarily listen to my own music honestly. I used to get super inspired by big artists to the point that I’d subconsciously be trying to replicate them when I was making music. I had to get away from that because it wasn’t authentic to me and my story.”

Chris: “It’s inspiring how you’ve used music to get you through the low times in life and how you’ve put emphasis on staying true to yourself as an artist and create you own sound/lane. Let’s talk about your favorite artist/producer you’ve worked with. What Producer if you have one you particularly use more than others? And what artist you’d most like to work with in the future (if any)”

Lilo: “As far as producers. I really like 1998 Beats, Penacho… I’ve made a couple tracks with Dave Cappa who produces for a ton of big names. He actually reached out to me super early, and I love the work we’ve done together. I like anyone that can create a movie with only music. Producers that create soundscapes behind their trap drums. I’m a film maker by trade, and I’ve got a bit of a synesthesia thing, so I love production that I can see vividly. Whether it be darker in tone or more up beat…. Artists I’d like to work with? I want to try making some records with Lil Baby. I think we would compliment each other well and help bring the best out of each other musically. 100% want to work with Thugger. Kevin Gates. J Cole, JID, Id like to make a few records with Kendrick Lamar and on one of them just absolutely body him ahahaha just to have that as a personal trophy. I’d also really like to work with James Blake, Billie Eilish, Daniel Ceaser, Kid Cudi, Tallest Man On Earth, Grimes…Anyone that really has passion, talent, and puts a lot of thought into what they create…I’d also be super down to make a record with BlueFace. I think we could make something off the fucking wall..”

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