IN CONVERSATION WITH LONDON ON DA TRACK
London on da Track is a Grammy nominated producer, songwriter and rapper. He has collaborated with Drake, Young Thug, Lil Wayne, Ariana Grande and many more of the world’s biggest artists. His 2020 song ‘Positions’ with Ariana Grande debuted at No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming his first chart topper as a composer, lyricist and a producer.
Firstly, let’s go back to the start. How did your career in the music industry begin?
Wow, my career in the music industry started formally back when I was in high school at Westlake in Atlanta. Before that I was on the scene making beats with my rap group ‘Dem Savages’. While doing that I connected with the OG’s, like Gucci, Waka Flocka, T.I., Jeezy and more, ultimately leading to my union with Young Thug that led to Birdman and ‘Lifestyle’ was born. It was a bonafide hit to this day, a We Got London on da Track club banger. From that culture shift in music, almost 10 years ago, the club scene was on a whole new wave.
What artists did you listen to growing up? How have said artists influenced your own music?
I love old school music. I grew up listening to a wide range of artists. I wasn’t limited. Of course rap and hip hop artists, like Lil Wayne, were my influences. These artists really set the bar and when I create, I always pay homage sonically. Whether it’s a snare or a bass line, I make it my business to incorporate my influence with something new.
You are a Grammy nominated producer, songwriter and rapper with platinum and diamond records. What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment thus far?
In music, my biggest accomplishment to date was ‘Positions’ with Ariana Grande. I was prepared when the opportunity presented itself. The list goes on, but to work with Ari was a goal of mine.
How do you approach the creative process from start to finish when producing a new song?
I study music, I study the artist, I’m a student to the art of music first. I fuse my music with the feeling of pain and joy respectfully through instruments. I love music, I love the ability to tell a story sonically long before lyrics marry each and every sound. My music has always been before it’s time or right on time. For example, my collaboration ‘Falling In Love’ with Mary J. Blige on her most recent album is old school, finger snapping, slow grind steppers meet skating rink vibe. It’s pain and joy combined.
You’ve created music with Drake, Young Thug, Lil Wayne, Ariana Grande and many more of the world’s biggest artists. Who has been your favourite to work with?
Each artist is amazing, but my favorite will always be Young Thug. His artistry is unmatched. I could work with all of them again and it would still be as exciting as the first time, but Thug took my sound to new levels that I’m forever grateful for. It’s personal.
Who would your dream collaboration be with?
How would you describe your personal style? Do you use fashion as a tool to express yourself outside of your music?
Fashion plays a huge part of how I express myself. I am extremely fashion forward, high fashion. I love ease of creating and crossing boundaries with music.And I take the same approach in fashion.
You started your own music label: LiV records. What was your motivation behind this pursuit and how do you go about signing new artists?
Introducing new artists has always been my passion. When I launched LiV (Live In Volume) Records, I envisioned a place where new singers, songwriters, producers, etc. could turn their dreams of being the next big thing into reality. I’ve had the luxury of being in the forefront of so many up and coming artists. Helping to define and introduce their sound is important to me. I was doing that a lot for other labels, so I took my time to curate my own. I spent relentless hours and money in some of the best studios all over the world. I built a state of the art LiV compound and it was years in the making.
interview by JANA LETONJA and PATRICK BOYLE
photography and creative direction: Tyler Patrick Kenny
styling and creative direction Gloria Johnson
videographer: Richard Copier
assisting videographer: Geri Torres
model: Dominique Hollington
studio techs: Reno Ronquillo & Madi Sileo
styling assistants: Ondrea Lee, Pili Malawa & Aisya Washington
editor: Timi Letonja
PR: Simone King
Location / Special thanks to A Pasta Bar