A rising star of the UK rap scene has spoken fondly of his time studying at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) and the way collaborating with fellow students, while picking up words of wisdom from lecturers, played a big part in shaping his career.
Rapper, engineer and producer Lloyd Luther has racked up 4.2 million Spotify streams with his single Drugs on Tap, while the accompanying video, which was filmed around the streets of Leicester, has had more than a million views on YouTube.
The single - a commentary on how over-the-counter drugs and alcohol affect society - was used on the soundtrack for hit Netflix series Top Boy and earned praise not just from genre peers but also Oasis and High-Flying Birds superstar Noel Gallagher.
After selecting the track for BBC 6Music, Gallagher said: “I was blown away by this – I couldn’t write like that”.
Although put together a few years ago, the single’s recent rise to prominence has led to a clamour for more from fans across the UK, with Lloyd recently announcing a headline show in London on March 4, supported by fellow Leicester artists King Rezz and Stanza Divan. A double album written and produced by Lloyd during the pandemic is also ready for release.
Despite the growing fame, Lloyd is still very much a Leicester lad, living and producing music in the city he has called home since moving from London with his Mum aged 10.
Lloyd says he looks back at his time at DMU as one of the elements that helped set him on his way to success.
“Collaboration was one thing that was really good at DMU - sharing ideas and learning how to connect with each other over music,” he says.
“That time at DMU was definitely a time for shaping our lives. The atmosphere was good. We were these musicians forced into the studio together in Clephan Building, learning about sound engineering and finding our way around the studio.
“You sometimes came up with something good...and sometimes not,” he laughs.
“But whether you were in the classroom or out socialising with each other, someone was always coming up with a new idea or we were swapping samples and sharing sounds.”
Studying a degree in Music Technology at DMU also opened Lloyd’s eyes to the world of production and engineering and 99 per cent of everything Lloyd writes is also self-produced in the studio.
As well as his DMU course, Lloyd is keen to talk up the music scene in Leicester, with one of his dreams being to showcase all the talent that’s putting the city firmly on the musical map.
“There are a lot of rising stars from Leicester now and we all know each other,” he said. “You may have to look for that scene if you are coming to it from the outside. The dots haven’t quite been connected publicly. But there are a lot of people reaching their artistic peak and they are ready to take their sound nationwide.
“There’s Leicester artists who are already have a big following such as Mahalia, Trillary Banks, Wewantwraiths, Kamakaze and Easy Life. Then there’s a wealth of bubbling talent such as Stanza Divan, King Rezz, Jafro and many more...
“It’s a healthy scene with a lot of people doing a lot of amazing things.”
Lloyd uses HQ and Clarence Street studios in the city to record his music, normally after coming up with concepts on his laptop, which he carries around with him ready loaded with Logic Pro and a huge bank of samples amassed over the years.
His song-writing skills and keen ear for a hard-hitting lyric stood him in good stead during the various lockdowns in Leicester and he now has two albums’ worth of material ready for release.
Riddims, Roads and Mantras of Freedom is soulful reggae while There Once Was a Place is “grimier and darker”.
“It’s an idea I have had for a while to show both sides of me. It’s good positive music on one side but then darker and more dystopian on the other.
“It is just such a weird time to be alive at the moment and I want to explain how, within this whirlwind, you have to take responsibility for your own life.”
Lloyd’s music stands out not just because of the beats and bass lines but also because of what is described as an ‘uncompromising, relentless delivery showing a deep knowledge of subjects he tackles from science, philosophy, politics and history with witty cultural references.”
He explains: “The position I have always come from is that if I am going to speak out in my music then I need to say something that is worth listening to.
“People give up their time to listen to your bars so I want to give out some gems of information they can take away with them. What I say about my life might help them in their life. Music is for everyone and what you say reverberates forever, so I want to say things that will inspire.”
For tickets to Lloyd Luther’s headlining London show in Brixton visit www.lloydluther.com
Posted on Friday 18th February 2022