The hip-hop game is pretty hard to get into, but leaving a mark on it is even harder.
Lanz Pierce has stepped into the big bad world, and she’s already proving that she’s here to be heard, make an impact, and spread a message.
The New York native is making big moves, having already gotten her buzz going with her single “Waterfalls,” including a music video directed by Lanz herself.
With powerful and relatable lyrics, Lanz isn’t just another diverse female rapper, as she’s working harder than ever to show she can fit right in with the big boys. Her music journey is unique, being that it begins with her interning at Quad Studios, the same place that Tupac was famously shot at back in the 1990s, and moves along to her touring with Snoop Dogg, and even putting out a track with Three 6 Mafia.
Since then, she’s released her first major project Point Of No Return last year, and already has another one in the works that will be coming out just in the middle of the hot summer season.
We got a chance to sit down with Lanz and talk to her about her story, her influences, some of her opinions on today’s rap scene, and much more. Get to know Lanz Pierce in our exclusive interview below.
GlobalGrind: Tell us some of your back story. How did you get your start in music?
Lanz Pierce: I actually knew from the start that music was the only path for me. I was always surrounded by music. My mother wanted to be a singer, and my father was a DJ on the radio, so I used to sit by the radio and listen to him. My grandfather made records in the ’40s, so it’s in my blood. I was actually like 14 and a freshman in high school when I was having a bunch of trouble at home and in school, and I was really going through that teenage angst vibe. I felt like music was the escape for me. I don’t advocate this, but I actually ended up dropping out of school when I was just 14 to pursue my passion. I would call Quad Studios everyday. My thing was that I was a die-hard Tupac fan. Even though I’m from the East Coast, there was so much passion. What I loved about ‘Pac is that he could make a song like “Brenda’s Got A Baby” and “Dear Mama,” and then flip it and make a song like “I Get Around” or “All Eyez On Me.” I love that. Quad was this legendary landmark in the city, and I felt like that was a place I could touch. I would call everyday and ask if there was a way I could work for them or come in for an interview, and they kept saying no. So one day I get on the train and show up, wearing my little skirt and heels, and told them that I was the girl who keeps calling you about a job. I told him that I’d work harder than everyone else, and he said, “OK, look. I’ll make you an intern with no pay. You gotta come here at 7 in the morning and work until like 8 at night.” So, that was the beginning. I was just in the studio watching and learning how the music was made, along with the creative process, and just wanting to touch it so bad. I did everything from scrubbing floors and toilets, to running errands, and from there I ended up utilizing the underground music scene.
From hitting the stage so much, I felt like I really got to harness my craft. From there, I was blessed at 16 when Jimmy Iovine embraced the music and I signed my first record deal with Interscope. I actually had the blessing of later going on tour with Snoop Dogg when I was 17. We did 20 cities and it was just an incredible time. I was touching all these cities, but my music wasn’t out. So I had the experience of the audience not being familiar with me, and working to win them over when they’re coming to see Snoop. A lot of my music experiences on the come-up have just been about proving myself. I’ve always had to do that ‘against the grain, standing up and showing what I got’ thing. I had to be gutsy and fearless. There’s so much that happened between that time of being 17 and coming off the label to where I am now.
Your new single “Waterfalls” is different in that it talks about struggles that anyone in the real world can relate to. What inspires you to do that as opposed to making a song about poppin’ bottles like a lot of rappers do?
That’s why I love hip-hop and music, because it is the truest form of self-expression. It is the place where you can really tell your story. The truth is that the average person, on a daily basis, isn’t popping bottles or any of that. They’re going through real life things. So much of who I am is being that artist that is relatable and that is people’s voice speaking from that perspective. I wanted to make a record that I felt like was a statement record and was something that people could grab onto.
Who are some of your biggest influences for your music?
Lauryn Hill is one of them for sure, because Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is probably like a bible for me. Nas is one. He painted pictures with words, and people who know my story know that I grew up back and forth from Queens and New Jersey between my parents, so I feel that connection. I would definitely say Eminem as well. He was one of those artists that really grabbed onto where we were socially in the world. He was an artist who was doing everything that was different from everything and I loved and respected that. I would also say Jay, Biggie, and DMX. I was always so mesmerized by his voice. I also really love what Drake is doing. The way he says things is so clever. I’m also really feeling Kanye West, Kendrick, and J. Cole.
Forbes just came out with their article about Iggy Azalea that said, ‘White Blonde Australian Woman Runs Hip-Hop’. What do you think of the controversy behind their headline title?
I think that for anybody who’s a new artist to be labeled that, for me, is too early. For me, I’m a student of this game. I feel like you have to put in a certain amount of time and you have to really be knowledgeable. To say that someone is running hip-hop at this stage so early, it might be a little premature. But you know, I respect anybody that’s out there who is doing what they’re doing, especially from a female perspective. It is tough to be heard. Everybody has a different cup of tea of what music they listen to or if they can connect to the story, but great for her. Why not? Why wouldn’t I applaud another female that’s doing something good and positive. So, good for her.
Summer is definitely a key season for the hip-hop game. What are your plans for the summer?
This summer is going to be crazy! I’m so excited. I am going to drop my full EP for Editors Eye. I don’t have an exact date yet, but it’s definitely coming. We’re going to do a bunch of tour dates. I just want to go out there and perform these records. You wait so long after you’ve made music to actually give it to the people. Now, I just want to give it to them and perform them. We’re going to keep pushing “Waterfalls,” I think it’s going to take off in a major way. It’s just getting started. I want more people to experience it. I’m also going to be directing more videos for records in the future.