Laney Keyz is here to put on for his city of Oakland, California. At 23 years old, the Bay Area native is a rising artist with plans of becoming one of the greatest artists to ever do it. Adopted as a child with 5 adopted siblings, it was until age 12 that he met his real parents. Growing up in a rough neighborhood, he quickly fell victim to the streets, which resulted in getting in trouble at adolescence.
In and out of juvenile halls and prison, it was during this time that he decided to dedicate his entire life to music. Getting a revelation behind bars, he began to read books and write his own rhymes — proving to be an inspiration for all those who struggled through this thing called life. Inspired greatly by Meek Mill, his music is a combination of melodic R&B and hardcore hip-hop.
In an attempt to change his life for the better, Laney spent all his money to relocate to Los Angeles and invest in his own home studio. Soon after, he taught himself how to audio engineer his own session. Currently signed to Nontra Records, he’s excited to share his new single titled “Colorful Shit” featuring Lil Yachty. This follows his previous singles Knockout and Russia, which he claims is more his style.
Flaunt caught up with Laney in downtown Los Angeles to discuss his move from Oakland to LA, how he got his buzz, why he relates to Meek Mill, his fashion sense, goals, and more!
How was it growing up in Oakland?
Being from Oakland taught you how to be a certain kind of way. It fucks you up because it’ll make you feel a certain type of way towards the world, and you can’t be like that with everybody. You can’t always be defensive, that’s how I am right now. It’s been a difficult transition from being out there to being out here [Los Angeles]. It’s different. When people stare at you, it’s because they want to look at you. Out there if people stare at you, you assume it’s a problem.
What do you feel in the studio?
I don’t really like the attention. I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to write for other people. I wanted to feel like I could live my life every day, I can do stuff without being bothered by people. Sometimes, it’s not that simple. When I’d write for people and hear my songs, it wasn’t what I wanted. It wasn’t what I wanted when I made the song. I thought “I’ll do it myself,” that’s when recording came into play. I’m still trying to get used to the attention. I’m still awkward in my videos and around people.
Are you an introvert?
Yes, I’m very introverted. I don’t really like to talk. Even right now, it’s hard. I don’t feel like people understand me, so why bother? That’s really what it is. I don’t feel like explaining myself all the time. I’ll do something, and somebody’s going to want me to explain it.
What do you want to get out of this?
Real talk, I want my family to be good. I don’t want to have to worry about them. I’ve always been the person to have to take care of the people around me. I want to know that they’re good without me having to be there, that’s the end goal. Music’s really helping me reach that goal.
When you say family, who are you talking about?
My brothers, my sisters, the people I care about. My grandma just moved to Texas from where we lived, that was one of my biggest goals. I don’t want them to worry. My focus right now is getting them out of the hood.
At what point did you realize you had a buzz?
When people started doing shit for me without me asking, they started volunteering to do shit for me. It was confusing at first because I don’t like asking for shit. I caught a buzz before people knew about my music because people would show it to other people. When I moved to San Jose, I linked up with this producer Traxamillion. I made a tape with him, that’s where my buzz came from. We’d dropped a tape, but we took it down.
They wanted a song on the tape specifically and to get the song, they had to buy the whole project. They wanted to remarket the song. My buzz came from the South Bay. I wasn’t really lit in the East Bay because it seems like you have to go somewhere people don’t know you to get support. It’s hard to get support from the people who know you. When I moved from Oakland, shit got a lot easier. Everyone started wanting to be a part of what we had going on. The ball got rolling. We moved to LA because I felt like we did everything I could in the Bay.
How long have you been in LA?
Since June, not very long.
You felt like you established enough of a hometown presence back home that you wanted to move?
Yeah, pretty much. You have to move. You can’t try to focus on one thing so much that you milk everything out of the situation. You have to do it there, then go here. You have to keep doing it, that’s how you build.
How’s LA treating you?
It’s cool. The weather right now is not okay, but it’s cool. I’m taking it day by day. The people are nice. Everybody’s trying to get to where they want to be. I feel it, you gotta take everything how it comes.
“Russia” is a bop, bring us back when you created that record.
One of my friends made that beat, his name’s Cheo. He sent the beat a really long time ago. I recorded the original version of that song in my house when I lived in San Jose. I went to a professional studio, Redwall Studio, played the song for the engineer there. He wanted to re-record it. We re-recorded it, it brought everything that’s missing from the song to it. I was sleeping on the song at first because it’s not the stuff I’m used to making. That put me in the position I’m in right now, we sent it over to a couple of people and they fucked with it. Now it’s lit.
What’s the stuff that you’re used to making?
I like making alternative music. Music that has actual meaning, makes you think about stuff. That song was more a turn-up, party song. I wasn’t as interested in it as everybody else who listens to music now is. That type of music is what’s in right now. Everybody who’s in the industry says “no, this is fire!” It’s not the first song I want to be known for, but it’s dope. I really like the song.
What can we expect from your new single “Colorful Shit” featuring Lil Yachty?
I really hope you guys enjoy it. I don’t like to set super high expectations because that opens you up to get let down, but I really enjoyed making the song. One of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever done as far as recording, I like the results of feeling like that. It was good, I made the song in the studio with 50 people right there. The computer and microphone were right here, I was literally recording in front of hella people raw. It came out great, I hope everybody likes it honestly.
3 things you need in the studio?
Well, I don’t really need Hennessy. Quiet, space, patience.
Talk about investing in yourself, I know you built a home studio.
It’s super important. In the long run, it’s always worth it. People spend money on shit they don’t need all the time, so investing in yourself shouldn’t be hard. You can’t expect other people to be willing to do something for you if you aren’t willing to do it for yourself. You can use that in a lot of different situations in life. You have to learn to take care of yourself before you can expect someone else to take care of you. If you’re not willing to do it, what makes you think somebody else will? It’s showing you believe in what you’re doing. You wouldn’t be mad about investing in yourself if you actually believed in what you’re doing. If you know you’re going to make it as a DJ, you wouldn’t be mad about going to buy a controller or a DJ setup. People who don’t invest in themselves don’t believe in themselves.
Who’s your favorite artist in rotation?
I like Meek Mill, because we have a similar story. The struggle. I watched the Meek Mill documentary, his upbringing was the same as mine. It’s super easy for him to be in the streets and be on some gang shit, robbing, but people saw something in him before he saw it in himself. They made sure he’s straight so he didn’t have to. Same with my situation, I got out of jail and my immediate thought was to go back to the streets. There were people who wanted to see me win so they made sure I didn’t have to do that shit. I don’t feel a lot of people in the industry can actually relate. Either you’re this way and you turned out to be cool, or you always had the opportunity to do it. I don’t really have very many influences in music. I like a lot of people’s music, but I don’t take super huge influences from them.
What’s your favorite Meek song?
“Who You’re Around,” it’s really relatable. The hook says “somebody who you’re around wants to clip your wings and cut you down.” A lot of people around you want you to be successful, but not more successful than them. Then there are people around, just to be around. They don’t like what you’re doing, they don’t have a reason not to like it, and still don’t want to see you win. Just because you’re from the same place they are, why you?
How would you describe your fashion sense? I see your Gucci belt.
If you let other people tell it, I don’t have one. I think I do pretty well. It depends on the day, Sometimes I want to wear sweats and a t-shirt, other times I feel like getting dressed. It depends on the day. When I get dressed dressed, it makes you feel better about yourself. Instead of walking around in pajamas and sweats. Sometimes I do it to change my mindset. I get really down sometimes, all the pressure of being at the point I am right now. Sometimes I get dressed and don’t even go anywhere.
What’s the pressure from?
Right now, this point of my career is make it or break it. This is the trial. This is determining whether or nothing I’m going to do some big things. Because I’ve never cared about people’s opinions and now, I’m in an industry where that’s all that matters. Having to care about some shit you don’t honestly care about, is stressful.
Goals for yourself at this point in your career?
I want to make people feel me, that’s my main goal. I got a lot of people doubting what I’m doing, I get something from proving people wrong.
What can we expect music-wise?
I got another single I really want to drop called “Vendetta.” It has a powerful message especially with everything going on in the world right now. Dropping the Lil Yachty song is something I really want to do because it’d help me build the platform I need. I’m torn between the two, but I’ve been in the studio. Right now I have anxiety because I really want to go back. I want to keep pushing. That’s what I look forward to, dropping more music.