It seems like things are so mixed up these days, it’s hard to know where to start for the most meaningful impact. I think having real awareness of what’s going on and how systems and institutions stack the odds against us would enable people to come up with better solutions. That’s on a large scale and a big pill to swallow. There are so many things that don’t make sense to me. Like the use of plastics in packaging. Unnecessary waste. The use of sugar, chemicals and harmful substances in food and products we ingest or put on our bodies. Cruelty to animals exacerbated by lack of conscious consumption. Dogmatic programming. Shaming. Not treating ourselves and each other as sacredly sentient, sovereign beings. I could go on, but regarding a movement, having people take action in their own lives in the areas they’re most passionate about, would be a great place to start. Educate yourself, start making those little changes, communicate with integrity.
As a part of my interview series with popular culture stars, I had the pleasure of interviewing LONDYN, a #1 charting singer/songwriter whose music has previously been released through Sony & Universal & has been played on thousands of radio stations all over the world. Her music has been the sound of ad campaigns for major brands and licensed for commercials and TV.
Thank you so much for joining us Londyn! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thanks for having me! So, I grew up doing musical theatre. I loved the arts & performance. At some point I thought I was supposed to “grow up” and get a “real job,” so I went to college, got a degree and then decided to screw it and try my hand at acting in TV and film. After several guest starring roles and some smaller film appearances, I quickly became disenchanted with the industry and decided to do the one thing that scared me most. The thing that would require me to be more vulnerable than I’d ever been. To put myself out there like I never had. I started singing and songwriting.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I was in Atlanta working with Grammy nominated, multi platinum producer, Jbeatzz at OutKast Studios. It was our first time working together, so he asked if I wanted to keep the session more intimate where he and I could just vibe, or if I was cool with other people hanging out to observe.
I told him I’d rather find our groove together one on one, and the next thing I know, I’m rapping Kesha style about the zodiac in front of several people, one of whom, was Big Boi.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I had no idea who was who in music when I was starting. I’d somehow heard about a big label A&R rep looking to sign a pop artist and they wanted candidates to send their best track for consideration. I had never recorded before, so I didn’t even have a demo to send. Instead I wrote a message saying that I didn’t have material to send but that if he didn’t meet with me and hear me sing in person, he’d be making the biggest mistake of his career. Thinking back on that, I wonder where I got the nerve! Fortunately, he setup a meeting with me, purely based on wanting to meet “the girl with big balls.”
In person he was impressed with my voice, though ultimately the label went another direction because I was “too soulful” with “too much depth,” which silly enough has been something I’ve heard many times throughout my career. It’s only now that this depth is the thing bringing me the biggest opportunities.
So the lesson here is two-fold.
- Believe in yourself & take bold action even if you don’t think you’re ready.
- Often the very thing that will make some dislike you, is the thing that may ultimately bring you the biggest opportunities. Stay true to you.
Another story that comes to mind was meeting one of the biggest global A&R execs, not knowing who he was, telling him that if he wanted to see me, he could meet me at the dog park with my dog. Most people would beg for meetings with this guy and I barely gave him the time of day.
Fortunately I’ve grown up a lot since then, so for anyone new to the industry, the lesson here is:
- Be humble and treat everyone you meet with kindness.
- If you want to leave an impression, start taking meetings at dog parks.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m releasing a new single, LEVITATION, which is a follow-up to my Parisian #1 Love Me Harder & a precursor to my debut Dream Spell EP, which will be released in conjunction with & promoted by a live streaming concert to approximately 50 million viewers. I’m also pitching a TV show I wrote that features my music and me as a character in the show. Funny how it all comes back around.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I was working with Jon Secada years ago. We did a big show at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida for about 5,000 people. It was fascinating to watch him work, from being in the studio recording to doing meet and greets with fans after the show, I learned a lot from him. Similarly, around the same time, a friend had introduced me to Josh Groban, who I had a big crush on. I got to spend time with him while he was touring and was able to see firsthand the intricacies, pros and cons of that lifestyle.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I tend to be a bit of a workaholic because there is always more to do, but when I start burning out, I know that I need a reset. The best way for me to do this is to get out of my normal routine and environment. Recently I hit burnout and went to Kauai for a week. It’s amazing how much space is created by doing that enabling more creativity, inspiration and enthusiasm. Doing this proactively, making time to nourish yourself and other interests I believe is vital too.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It seems like things are so mixed up these days, it’s hard to know where to start for the most meaningful impact. I think having real awareness of what’s going on and how systems and institutions stack the odds against us would enable people to come up with better solutions. That’s on a large scale and a big pill to swallow.
There are so many things that don’t make sense to me. Like the use of plastics in packaging. Unnecessary waste. The use of sugar, chemicals and harmful substances in food and products we ingest or put on our bodies. Cruelty to animals exacerbated by lack of conscious consumption. Dogmatic programming. Shaming. Not treating ourselves and each other as sacredly sentient, sovereign beings. I could go on, but regarding a movement, having people take action in their own lives in the areas they’re most passionate about, would be a great place to start. Educate yourself, start making those little changes, communicate with integrity.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Allow yourself to evolve without overthinking everything or needing to be “perfect.” It’s better to take action and have room to grow than sitting on the sidelines hoping someday you can act from a place of having it all figured out. You learn and grow by going through it. I spent many years trying to figure out the right move, the right sound, the right collaborators, the right branding, the right look…and the truth is, the more raw and authentic I can be in everything I do is what feels the best and makes me the happiest and most proud without looming expectations I may or may not meet.
- Forgive yourself when you make mistakes. Learn from them and keep going. Life moves too quickly to obsess over what we’ve done wrong. If we keep our attention in the past, that makes it really difficult to create in the present so that we may thrive in the future.
- Write a lot of songs with a lot of people, hone your voice, find the ones you like the best, both collaborators and songs, and only invest in what you really believe in. Don’t waste money on producing songs that you hope someone else will take action on, on your behalf. People will always be happy to take your money and will often tell you whatever you want to hear so you’ll give it to them. Align with those who believe in you, who you’re inspired by. Invest what you can, but find people who will work in your budget.
- Don’t wait for anyone to give you validation, permission or support. Act as though you are your own record label and do everything yourself. Typically labels aren’t going to sign you solely based on talent. They want sure wins, so that means you’ve either written a song they think will be a smash hit, or you already have a large enough fanbase that you’re generating revenue. It’s easy to fall into the idea that we will be the exception to the rule. I say make your own rules.
- You don’t have to do things the way everyone else does. Get creative. Pave your own way and don’t apologize. In a session with Migos & Drake’s producer, Murda Beatz, he said, “no one wants to f*ck with you until everyone wants to f*ck with you.” One day they think you’re crazy and the next day they think you’re genius.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Creativity takes courage.” — Henri Matisse
The life of an artist takes so much courage! I think people forget this part and don’t always appreciate just how much strength and vulnerability is necessary to survive as an artist…and ultimately it’s all so that we can share something real and pure with the world.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’m incredibly grateful for former Atlantic Records/ APG A&R, Gary Bowen. He’s someone I kept in touch with over the years who always believed in me and always wanted to help. Last year he put me in songwriting/recording sessions with Delacey, who wrote Halsey’s #1 Without Me as well as writers and producers from LA Reid’s camp, Monroe & DAV and it changed everything for me.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
I’ve spent so much of my career caring about “big names.” Now I just want to connect with incredible and interesting, passionate, driven people who have integrity and believe in the magic of life. If you’ve made it this far and want to connect, message me!
Also — shout out to my future hubby — where you at? 😉
How can our readers follow you on social media?
My instagram is: @londynmusic
My personal site with links to all platforms: www.londynmusic.com
See you there!
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!