Be a friendly face. Face time with anyone in the industry and creatives goes a long way. We had to learn how not to be “thirsty.” Don’t meet someone you don’t know and just start asking them what they are going to do for you or “when we working?” Be a human being first, and then get into making money together when you add value to whoever you work with. Show up to other peoples shows, support other artists, ask what you can do for them. Be the face that’s always there. It feels great to anyone.
As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Yacht Money.
Yacht Money penned their name after being inspired by Leo DiCaprio’s character in the legendary movie, Wolf of Wall-Street. They honed their beat making skills in Atlanta and moved to Nashville in 2016 to add songwriting into their production house. They slipped into the NashVegas scene with their “Neon Outlaw” sound. The duo wrote, produced, and guested on the Sam Tinnesz dark and brooding hit “Play with Fire” which has garnered over 100 million streams. They also wrote the quirky lead single, “Crush” with the artist Tessa Violet, which has over 150 million total streams. Yacht Money has a hunger for finding fresh musical artistry and throwing their unapologetic southern souls into whatever they make together. It made perfect sense when they met a fresh new powerhouse country artist, Gabrielle Mooney, in late 2018 — who features on the new Yacht Money single, “Fire Love.“https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/acd2b838e3a72d86a4c3814c42d09aaf
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you both grew up?
Lauren grew up in Powder Springs, GA and I grew up in Marietta, GA, which are both 30 minutes northwest of Atlanta. We were raised on a healthy diet of OutKast, Lil John, Gucci Mane, T.I., The Black Crowes, and a whole lotta 99X, which was the rock station. We would go dancing at a place called Cowboys on Saturday nights, and they would play trap music for 6 songs and then cut right into country music for the next 4 songs. It didn’t matter though, the DJ kept the crowd on the floor either in our Jordan’s or our cowboy boots.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you both to music?
We both grew up singing or working in “Mega-Churches” which is where we both met, and they are quite common in the south. I ran sound at one, and Lauren helped her mom with the choir at another one. The piano player said I should meet this cute R&B singer, so she came one Sunday morning. I couldn’t stop looking at her, cause I thought she was the hottest woman I’d ever met. I told her we should do a demo together and we fell in love in the garage studio at my parents’ house. She sang and danced around, and I was smitten. We’ve been together and recording with each other ever since ‘02.
What is the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Yacht Money is only two years old, so we are a baby band/ brand. I guess we are just excited that other people want to write and produce music with us or imitate our southern drawl. Meeting Gabrielle Mooney was kind of wild. She features on our song “Fire Love.” We met Gabby through a friend we were producing for, and he said there is this crazy girl he met at a coffee shop. He said the three of us all acted the same and were cut from the same cloth. We thought ok, she kind of sounds cool. Let’s meet her. Gabby walked in, and instantly we all clicked. She has a great voice, can sing and spit bars, she’s a former choreographer, can write her little ass off, and she talked all twangy and is funny as hell. We loved her and still are in love with her.
What is one of the funniest mistake(s) you made when you guys were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
We thought we were the shit when we moved to Nashville in ’15. We had a few holds on some major Nashville artists, and then they didn’t land. We had to humble ourselves and really learn how to write songs. We filmed ourselves arguing in sessions when we first started, and then posted the drama online for people to see. We learned how we both work now and just grind/ argue it out until it feels right… which is never sometimes!
You just released a new single, “Fire Love.” Congrats! What are some exciting projects you are working on now?
We are working on three more songs right now. We have a song that is our first single on country radio called “Hung Up On You” which we wrote with the artist Troy Cartwright. We finished up a song with Swae Lee and we have some sessions with Tessa Violet coming in the next few weeks.
What are “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Share a story or example for each.
1. Be a friendly face. Face time with anyone in the industry and creatives goes a long way. We had to learn how not to be “thirsty.” Don’t meet someone you don’t know and just start asking them what they are going to do for you or “when we working?” Be a human being first, and then get into making money together when you add value to whoever you work with. Show up to other peoples shows, support other artists, ask what you can do for them. Be the face that’s always there. It feels great to anyone.
2. Loneliness. There is a ton of alone time in being creative. Sometimes it’s painful to be that alone in order to work on what you have to but you also need it to experiment and discover your sound/ art. Sacrifice those drunk nights out with the pals or the binge TV show in order to get what you want. Get ready for some solidarity.
3. Take breaks. Working 24/7 is definitely a hustler mentality, but it also makes you a big ol’ asshole to the people you care about. Take a break — go outside and get some sunshine. Eat for once. Sleep is great, too. Sure get that deadline done, but please take a breather every once In a while.
4. Become a Listener. Listen to what others are saying. What they are excited about. Everyone in the room has stories and feelings — hear them out. Don’t bulldoze and use only your ideas — listen to see if people can take some of the workload as well. It might just benefit you.
5. Enjoy the moment. Everybody has a giant mountain they want to get too. Celebrate the small steps instead of just thinking about the mountaintop. You will live a happier life.
Which tips would you recommend to aspiring artists to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Chase what you love to do instead of chasing the money. You won’t burn out if you do exactly what you love.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Love is always the answer. So it would start with loving everybody. With us, that starts with southern hospitality. So cooking up some good cornbread for others might be the start — The Cornbread Movement.
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 have to say to each other in this regard. We have been burned by this industry. People telling you not to pursue your dreams or ask, “Why are you doing this?” So, Lauren has always talked me off of a ledge or inspired me creatively to pursue anything and everything. She’s my rock and greatest inspiration ever. I think I just annoy her though, haha.
Can you share your favorite life lesson or a favorite quote? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Start a Dream Board” — Sarah Hudson and Sami Diament. These are some of our friends out in LA. They told us to write everything we ever wanted down and cut out clippings of what we want and put it on a poster board. Sounded crazy at first, but Lauren and I took the advice and wrote down and pasted what we wanted and looked at it everyday in the mirror before work. Your subconscious mind figures it out somehow, and boom you start getting whatever you heart desires. You gotta make sure you cross off the things that happen though, take account of them and be thankful for them.
If you could have a meal with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Bucket of Popeye’s fried Chicken with Prince. I know he’s gone and he was one of the greatest musicians to ever grace the earth, but I think he and I just chopping it up over some Popeyes spicy breast meat and green beans would bring it all down to earth.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can hit us up on IG, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter @yachtmoneymusic