Tory Lanez gave Whittier College media, including the Quaker Campus, a personal interview. Lanez was personable, poised, friendly, and happy to allow photos as well as recordings for transcription purposes before going to perform his set.
Q: What’s the best part about doing college concerts? We know you just got here, but what is your impression of Whittier?
A: Well, I haven’t really seen it yet. I like to perform at colleges because I never made it to college — I’m a high school drop out, so for me, personally, it’s always dope because it’s my only way of kinda seeing what it [college] is actually like. [laughter] So it’s dope, I love the whole aesthetic of everything. It’s just a bunch of kids who’s fresh outta high school and all in one place, and living and seeing places… I like to come to colleges to perform to see what kind of atmosphere there is each time.
Q: What advice would you give to somebody who’s trying to make it in the music industry?
A: You gotta go at your dreams, you know…[with] relentless energy, and make sure that if you care about your music, make sure your music is always quality. Quality overrides the quantity. Ultimately, just be yourself.
Q: What would you say inspires your music?
A: I’m motivated just by every day life. Whatever’s going on in life motivates me and, you know [laughs], I just take it from there, you know? Things I see and my personal life, yeah.
Q: How did Atlanta shape and influence your music?
A: I wouldn’t say Atlanta did too much, I lived there for like a year and a half at a very young age, like 13 or something. But it was cool. I just got to experience music differently and see what real southerners listen to, you know what I’m saying? I got to listen to that earlier in my life, so it was dope to get that.
Q: Where would you say you draw your influence most from, if not Atlanta?
A: I lived in a few places… Canada probably mostly, and Miami, of course. Yeah, Miami and Toronto are really the most [important] places I would say I get the most influence from.
Q: Which one do you prefer?
A: Um.. I don’t know. For different reasons they’re both dope. They both have their ups and their downs, their pros and their cons. Different strokes for different folks.
Q: So, we know you are going on tour after this. What’s the next step in your career or life in general?
A: Just pushing this album, you know...and making sure people get to listen to it the right way. Making sure I shoot videos for everything off the album, and just keeping it going.
Q: Speaking of your new album, we know it just came out. Will you be playing any new songs on stage?
A: I’m gonna play stuff from the album. I just kinda go on stage and feel it out, I don’t really plan it out.
Q: Do you ever base it off of what the audience is feeling?
A: Kind of, yeah, I guess. I kind of just try to give them my energy and see what they’re rocking with and what they react to, and I kind of build the show from there.
Q: We were Twitter stalking you. You describe your music as “swavey,” can you explain what that means?
A: It just means being able to do multiple genres...like being talented enough to be able to create music in multiple genres and still be yourself while doing it. So, I feel like, if you can embody the sounds of different things that you hear musically in your music and your music isn’t one-dimensional, then you’re a swavey artist, you know? There’s a lot of artists who sing and rap, or rap and do rock and roll and pop, or they do multiple genres, so I call that swavey.
Q: Can anybody be swavey?
A: Yeah. Swavey is also a lifestyle. Just being able to take the things that you like and just being yourself while doing them. That’s all it is.
Q: What advice would you give to somebody — maybe in college, maybe a high-school dropout — to succeed in whatever they’re trying to do?
A: Just believe in yourself with all your heart. Sometimes you’ll have people in your life who’ll tell you ‘nah this isn’t gonna work,’ but it’s always supposed to work. If it’s a desire of your heart then it’s meant to happen, it’s just a matter of how hard you’re gonna believe in it to get it.
Q: What is your life motto? Does it come from a specific place?
A: GABOS. Gaming based on sympathy. Nah. I got it tatted on the side of my face, though.