R&B’s Promising Singer-Songwriter, L. Young Discusses What Got Him to This Point and Why He Writes Love Songs
Posted On 10 Sep 2014
Tag: 20/20, ABC, According to Jim, B2k, Babygirl, Basketball Wives, BET, Burn Notice, Fairytales, Hot Sauce, Jessy J, Keke Wyatt, L.Young, Love Is A Verb, Michael Jackson, One Life To Live, ReVerb, Stevie Wonder, The 12th Letter, The Barbershop Soundtrack, The Game, They Just Don't Know, Unbelievable, USA Network, VH1, Who Knew
The R&B singer, L. Young is as smooth as they come. With his velvety voice, he has certainly built quite the Facebook following all on his own.
L has released four albums to date, 2004’s They Just Don’t Know, 2008’s The 12th Letter, 2012’s Love Is A Verb and very recently, ReVerb.
He now resides in Los Angeles where he has graced the stage and studio with such artists as Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, R. Kelly, En Vogue, Patti LaBelle, Toni Braxton and more.
I just had to know more about this crooner so I inquired about an interview and he gladly accepted! Check it out below:
Yes. I was in the first grade and I sang at the school talent show. The effect I had on not only the students, but also the faculty and staff, was enormous. It changed everyone’s perception of me. In turn, it changed my perception of my self. I went from a D student to a straight A student with my picture in the paper for being a talented and exceptional student. That’s when I knew that this music thing was powerful and could transform lives, including mine. I was hooked from then on.
How did performing in church when you were younger help prepare you for your solo career?
Church is the most judgmental and forgiving place for a performer. You know everybody is listening and watching and will clown you if you mess up, but will also encourage you with a “that’s alright”, or “take your time”, if you do. Plus the musicianship in church makes you sharp. And you get to challenge yourself weekly over and over again.
Tell me about your most recent album, ReVerb? What do you hope listeners feel when they hear it?
I hope they feel SOMETHING. WHAT they feel is up to the interpretation of the listener. But an emotional pull is the desired result. We have a lot of music out there that sounds good, but what about that feel good music? The reason it’s called soul music.
Soul music. I love to tell stories, and paint pictures in my songs. I don’t do many “simple repeat one hook line over and over” songs. I do the kind of music that if you close your eyes while listening you’ll begin to visualize a movie or a short film. And I’m the soundtrack and narrator.
How is ReVerb different then your older albums, They Just Don’t Know, The 12th Letter and Love Is A Verb?
It’s more of a complete story from the first track to the end. That’s what albums were in the 70’s, 80’s, etc… The others, with the exception of Love Is A Verb, were thrown together with some records I started with an album in mind pieced together with records other artists rejected, and some I just had laying around on my hard drive.
All the musicians in Los Angeles I gig with and see grinding at these clubs out here. I’ve been blessed to play with some incredible musicians out here from almost every part of the country and abroad. You have no idea. They are truly awe-inspiring and push me to be a better musician, singer, and producer.
Let’s talk about all the work you have done for TV. BET’s The Game, ABC’s According To Jim, 20/20, One Life To Live, VH1’s Basketball Wives, and USA Network’s Burn Notice. What’s been the most rewarding experience so far?
Just seeing how important my music was to a particular scene. That’s really cool. Sometimes we don’t realize how important music is to a film or tv show.
Your writing credits include the top 5 single and title track off Jessy J’s #1 Billboard debut Album,“Hot Sauce”, Keke Wyatt’s projects, “Who Knew” and “Unbelievable.” What have you learned from writing for other people?
I learned the art of writing from another or someone else’s perspective. You have to kind of find their voice, or become another character. It’s challenging and very rewarding to see when it clicks with another artist.
Honestly, yes. I do desire to do more collaboration. But at this point in my life I have a lot to say. I’ve lived through some stuff and have gathered some valuable info. I would love to get it out before it’s all said and done. I know who I am as an artist now and I have a deep desire to express it.
You also worked on the production of B2k’s “Babygirl” off of the The Barbershop Soundtrack. What was that like?
It was my first major job in L.A. It was a big check for me. I learned a lot about how business works from that experience. I was so young, lol. I wish I knew then…
What do you think of using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to encourage people to check out your music?
It’s great!!! It’s free!!! Lol. It’s leveled the playing field a little. It’s allowed room for the starving artist to compete on some levels with the artist that has major label promotion behind them. It’s also opened up the door for more music variety for the consumer. Good and bad. Look, I went from 2,000 Facebook fans to 90,0000 organically in just 2 months just from doing a Youtube video. Most artists and labels pay for a major boost like that. I have a larger actual real fan base now then some artists signed to major labels.
Any song by Stevie Wonder or Michael Jackson. “Fairytales” off my album always gets the ladies going, and I likes that!
Can you elaborate on this statement you have made about your music?- “My aim and purpose musically is to remind people how to love.”
Yeah. Sex has been equated to love with the generations up under me. Their love songs are sex songs mostly. And this is not because they are not attempting to express love, its just somewhere there’s been a disconnect in the family structure and they don’t know what love is. If you didn’t have 2 loving parents around or someone in the neighborhood to show you a proper relationship you are kind of left to your own imagination. And seeing that sex is pushed down kids’ throats in all media forms from an early age its only natural it would be the driving force or central theme to his/her lofty imagination on relationships. Now, take a 19 to 20 yr old who lived this reality and whose hormones are peaking and ask him to write a love song and see what you get. I just wanna do my small part in teaching and reclaiming what it is to truly write about the love of a woman. What it means to be smooth and be poetic to get your point across. And to talk about something that lasts beyond the 4 minutes the song is playing.
If you could collaborate with any musician, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I’m always asked this question and I think I give a different answer every time. Probably depends on my mood. Mmmmm…. today I would have to say Michael Jackson. Because I would just like to sit in the same room with him. The music might not even come out that great, but who cares. Lol. It’s MJ!
Play basketball, watch movies/TV, and eat. And also cook, so I can eat.
Where do you see yourself in 10, 20+ years?
Still here. Still alive. Still making music. That’s the simple answer. And I’ll leave it at that.