Interview: We speak to Kempton Park based artist, Slay’ By Lann, about his journey in music, the come up and his new project
The Innanetwav team has consistently proven to the game that they are the leaders of the new wave. With fresh acts, a growing catalogue and a strong following, they have worked and earned their position of influence in the game. The label is slowly breaking through to the mainstream and they are doing this by leveraging the strength of their roster. A roster that has artists such as Kempton Park based rapper, Slay’ By Lann, who is preparing to drop new music this weekend.
We spoke to the young rapper about how he started, Innanetwav, the come up and his plans for the future. Peep the interview below.
First and foremost, we have to thank you for your time. We first came across your work earlier this year on SoundCloud and later realized that you were part of the Innanetwav team. For those that may not be familiar with your work and your brand, please introduce yourself?
Thank you so much for the opportunity, and showing interest and love to me. I’m a 24 year old multi-talented artist from a small town called Newlands east. Born as Lesley Shahid Fuller but I’m more commonly known as Slay’ By Lann. I sing, rap and compose music and I work closely with a producer called 808x.
How did your journey in music begin? What sparked your interest and love for rap music?I’m a writer. I use words as a tool to communicate my thoughts and ideas to the world. Poetry has always been a go-to artistic medium for me to express myself as a creative. My journey in music was, funny enough, sparked by me wanting to escape loneliness. My natural knack and love for words helped me evade loneliness.
As noted in the first question, you are part of the innanetwav team. How did you link up with innanetwav? How much has your career grown since joining the team?
The idea of the Innanetwav brand has always been a dream of mine. Innanetwav was started by me, Tymon, 808x, MyKey, Solve The Problem and Oshoku. We all went to the same high school and lived in the same neighbourhood so it was only natural for us to have the same creative frequencies. We were and still are passionate about music. We would link up in random studios but we never really recorded until I started really connecting with 808x creatively. We made music and I was the first artist to release a project under the label. Six years later, I have grown to be a more refined, patient, confident and focused artist and I have to give all of the credit to my team. I’m grateful to be in a team that represents the new wave.
You’re quite a strong writer, very conceptual in how you approach your raps but somehow you manage to package your thoughts in a way that is very accessible and easy to the listener’s ear. Your flows, cadences and worldplay is world-class. How would you describe your creative process?
To be honest with you, I never would have imagined that one day I would be called a rapper. As a kid, I was more fascinated with dance and I picked up poetry along the way. When I was younger, my dad was in prison and my mom was hustling for me to live a better life. It became too much for my mom and she had to reach out to my grandmother who was living in Italy at the time. She came down to assist and quickly realized that I was a handful and very rebellious. For my 9th birthday I wanted a bike, but my grandmother bought me a book and instructed me to write my feelings down. She believed that writing and allowing me take the time to understand my emotions was a form of rehabilitation. I still do that to this very day – writing about how I feel.
My creative work is inspired by whatever I experience, what I’m currently doing and all the emotions I go through. Feeling is everything to me. Different feelings produce different sounds.
Who are some of your influences as an artist? Local and international.
Priddy Ugly, Frank Casino, Tupac and Drake. I also listen to a lot of DJ Fortee, Solve The Problem, Southside Mahommed, POPNOTYOURFATHER and MyKey.
As a young rapper on the come up, what would you say are some of your biggest challenges as an artist? Do you feel that the game is welcoming to new talent?
That’s a very interesting question. Firstly, it’s not easy being a new artist in the current industry. You have to make sure that you build a solid and you kinda have to be your own brand ambassador in the beginning. The game loves new talent but there are some challenges obviously. The current state of the music industry is not built around relevance anymore. It’s more about consistency and visibility. I know artists that blew up off of one song and they somehow managed to stay visible in the game, getting gigs and staying consistent while working on new music and leveraging the steam of the song that made them blow up. However, my biggest challenge as an artist is that music takes me away from my family and that can get hectic as I’m a family-oriented person.
You’re dropping an EP called NIGHT LIFE on the 25th of August. What can people expect from the EP?
NIGHT LIFE is an acronym and a play on words which stands for: Never In Guilt Having Time + Live It Fully Everyday. What people can expect is a brand new sound from me, originality and a unique perspective. This EP will serve as a proper introduction to the Slay’ By Lann brand. The project details my growth as an artist and provides some insight into my musical journey. It’s also a dedication to my best friend, who lost his life to the night life this year.
What inspired the NIGHT LIFE EP and what do you aim to achieve with the project?
The project was inspired by the streets of Kempton Park. The purpose of the project is give the masses some insight into my life.
What else can we expect from you in 2018?
More music, more videos and more heat.
Where can people follow you online?
You can catch me on Facebook and Instagram by using my handle, @SlaybylannSA, and my handle on Twitter is @SlayByLann_SA.