INTERVIEW: Tory Lanez, “I’ve Been Saying I Was Going To Be Big Since I Was A Little Kid”

Tory Lanez is a young man who knows who he is. Coming from very humbling beginnings, homeless at the age of 15, Tory, real name Daystar Peterson has never stopped acting on his goal of becoming the biggest artist in the world. In the 16 mixtapes he’s produced over the last seven years, his own brand of soulful singing, mixed with hard hitting rap verses has become known to many as Swavey – a genre of his own making. Alongside his music, he does work in fashion, his brand Forever Umbrella, and in the direction of his own videos.

The last year in particular has seen a lot of growth for Tory, collaborating with Wedidit on his Cruel Intentions EP, featuring on tracks by YG and Freddie Gibbs, and being covered by Ed Sheeran for his Summer single Say It. Say It saw his signing to Interscope Records, the announcement of his debut album out later this year, and a bunch of shows all over the U.S. and Europe. With all these successes under his belt, Tory’s never been more confident in himself. We caught up over the phone to talk his rising fame, and looking back on how far he’s come.

Hey Tory, how are you dude? What’ve you got going on today?

I’m just out in California, I’m in the Hills just chillin’ out, how about you?

I’m very well dude, I’m talkin’ to you! First up, there’s no denying that over the last year you’ve blown up more than ever, how does it feel?

It feels good, I mean it’s a blessing from God.

How do you feel that your upbringing has affected your attitude towards your fame?

Um, I mean nothing has really changed, I still feel like the same person, it hasn’t changed me or anything. I just try to stay on my toes, I don’t try to reach for anything or try to be someone I’m not, y’know?

Do you think that it’s made you more humble in regards to your fame though? 

Oh of course, most people- it gets to their head but I’m just a humble person because of the things that’ve happened to me and the situations that I’ve already been in.

If you could give yourself a message as you were just starting out seven years ago, what would you say?

I’d be like, I don’t know – because I’ve been saying that I was going to be big since I was a little, little, tiny kid, so I would probably just tell myself, just, you know, don’t worry about anything. Always remember that I came from here, if I was talkin’ to myself seven years ago.

Over the last seven years that you’ve been making lots of music; you’ve released sixteen mixtapes, and you’ve got your debut album out later this year – what drives you to put out so much material?

You know I wasn’t the artist that put out one number one record for people to listen to me, I was the artist that had to put out a hundred number one records… When I was 22 I was like, what else was expected of me? I’m supposed to have that much amount of music for that much amount of time. For me, to be an artist working on his craft, that means that if I’m talking and talking and telling stories about my life, it must be a lot of music from 16 to 23. There needs to be over somethin’, over 10 mixtapes or otherwise you just have nothin’ to talk about. You know what I’m sayin’? There’s just so much for me to connect to with my fans and with my audience that I have to let it out.

As you get busier with all your work, do you think you’re going to have to hone your focus on certain parts? Is there any one particular element that you’re drawn to aside from your music?

I don’t think we have to sacrifice anything ever. I mean me making music is a sacrifice in itself on all the rest of my real life.

Yeah absolutely, but is there any one element you’re drawn to?

Oh man, I’m sorry about that. I definitely put fashion and directing videos of course – you know the Forever Umbrella Clothing line created by us and also my videos are directed by me too. For me personally, I’m definitely involved in a lot of other things that you know of course, making music does cut into these things but in a weird way they all come around full circle so, I don’t really ever have to kind of exclude one to do the other, they kind of fall hand in hand.

You’ve worked with huge producers like RL Grime, Shlohmo, and with rappers like YG, Meek Mill, and most recently Freddie Gibbs. What do you take away from some huge artists that you put into your own music? Is there any key lesson someone like Freddie Gibbs has taught you?

Freddie Gibbs is a nice guy man. He’s a helpful person and has a great personality and makes good music. We weren’t in the session together when we made that song, but you know there’s not necessarily anything I take from any artist. But he’s a great guy and I do respect people with good personalities, and Gibbs has a great personality.

What about other artists?

No. Nobody ever really took the time the time to do anything like that. All me brother, at all times.

Chixtape 3 and The New Toronto were released on the same day, but have super different sounds. You seem to be able to work in different minds in different projects. Do you work on a million different projects at once, or do you pump it out one at a time?

No, I mean I knew I was doing those two tapes at one point so, I was only working on those two tapes – I made those in like a week, those tapes didn’t take me long. It was just like a week of work.

Yeah but say you’re working on Chixtape 3 and The New Toronto, would you be working on stuff for your album at the same time or now that you’ve finished those you’re only now working on your album?

I’m working on my album now. Like, I’ve been working on it since Say It. Since I created Say It, I’ve been working on my album. So, since that dropped I’ve been working on my album.

Years and years ago you said that you’ve never bought an album because you want yours to be the first one. With your debut out later this year, have you thought about the second album you’re going to buy?

Damn man that’s a good question. No, I haven’t. I really have not thought about the second album – maybe my second album.

You’ve said a number of times that you want to be the biggest artist in the world – how would you define that?

Nope, I’m going to be – I don’t want to be, I’m going to be the biggest artist in the world.

How would you define that?

I think that it’s when I succeed to a level of importance. I think to the world, where it’s just self explanatory that I am the biggest. I don’t see a certain amount of achievements or a certain amount of Grammys and statistical things because if you talk in that matter, there’s people that have been behind the scenes that have big statistics that are not the biggest. But for me, I personally feel like you know, there’s just certain things that make you the biggest artist I guess. Like you know when Adele comes outside, you know when Justin Bieber comes outside, you know when Taylor Swift comes outside because these are the biggest artists in the world right now, of our time right now, and it’s gonna be self explanatory when I’m there.

Who in your opinion is the biggest artist in the world now?

Honestly brother, I just really can’t tell you that. I just can’t. There’s no one that’s dominating that spot so much to the point where it’s just unfair – and that’s what I’m coming into.

When you become the biggest artist you’re going to be the biggest.

Yes sir. The music is going to be so big brother, it’s going to be so massive. It’s going to be so much bigger than what people are expecting.

Did it hurt when you fell off that balcony last month?

I didn’t fall, I landed on my feet. I jumped off, it was the end of my show. I walked off stage, it was my exit.

You’re doing a huge number of shows in the future, can we expect to get some love Down Under any time soon?

You’re asking if we can expect what?

Haha, can we expect you to come to Australia any time soon?

Yeah I believe we should be coming very soon actually. I would have to look and double check but I believe we have some sort of stop out there. Do we have a stop out there Jericho?

Tory’s manager jumps in: The first stop of the tour is just Europe, so Australia dates are still being scheduled – but we’re going to Europe next month for sure.

What’s next for you?

I’m gonna be dominating all year. I’m not playing dopeboy games, I’ll tell everyone that I’m the best and I’m the biggest, I’m just not playing any more games with anybody – I don’t have time for that.


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