After a brief period away from the spotlight, R&B singer Lloyd returned to the UK to promote his fourth and most recent album ‘King of Hearts’. During his 2011 Sept-Oct UK tour, the 25 year old singer sat down with Flavour to discuss his love of women, his family and of course the work that went into his latest album.
This is obviously not your first time in London. What keeps you coming back?
Okay… Why? Have girls in London got bigger
Humongous. [Puts On British Accent] Properly humongous boobies. [Laughs] That doesn’t even make sense! [Laughs] I’m joking… I just love girls.
You love girls?
Yes. I just love girls and London has some of the most amazing women in the world. It’s not even Europe in general; it’s just the UK… The UK really has some exceptional people and they really give me a lot of love here. I’m from a place that surrounds you with love…you know the South? So I tend to gravitate towards that warmth. It’s funny I say warmth because it’s freezing outside!
I know. Our weather is always like that… It’s pretty much always cold here. Nevertheless, I’m happy to know you like London because of the people and particularly the females. Are you saying the girls in London are better than the girls in America then?
[Laughs] Let’s not take it too far. You know what…I just love women. I don’t care where they’re from. Vote for Lloyd!
[Laughs] Now on to your music. Your 4th most recent album is called ‘King of Hearts’, so tell us…what makes you the ‘King of Hearts’?
Passion, honesty, spontaneity and fearlessness. The passion comes from having a dream, having a plan, having a goal in mind and really fighting for that everyday as well as sacrificing a lot of personal wants…for professional needs. I think that anytime you have someone who is driven to be something, to be more than they were born into, I think women really dig that. I would say honesty to me, is the new romance. I think I would want to be with someone who tells me the ugly truth over a beautiful lie. So I think honesty is what really keeps relationships going.
I agree. Not enough people are honesty in relationships nowadays. Speaking of relationships, are you in one now?
What do you look for in the perfect partner?
Humour, honesty, personality… Yeah right! Boobies. [Laughs] Let’s just keep it real… Boobies!
[Laughs] What if you met a girl who had an awful personality but had the best boobies in the world?
You know what? There are BILLIONS of people on Earth…she doesn’t have to be with me! No no no… [Laughs] I’d accept her the way she is…because that’s what I’m supposed to say. [Laughs] My mind is saying be political and keep it cool but…my heart is saying [whispers] boobies.
[Laughs] Wow… Well at least we can see that you’re honest and you keep it real.
It’s just been that way since I was a kid man! I can’t help it!
Okay let’s stay on this topic. I read somewhere that you said your latest album can make a woman orgasm?
Well they asked me what I want women to get from my album and I said an orgasm…
What about your new album would help that happen?
I think you’ve just gotta listen to certain songs to really understand. Naked is one of them. You Part 2 is another, Stay is another, Lay It Down which was the single… It’s just very very genuine – where I was in my life, who I was working with at the time, the change of scenery. The actual energy that would be at the sessions was amazing. It was the kinda stuff you read in a biography years from now. Like how I tell you about how Dr Dre pops up at the studio when I was recording the first track off my album ‘Lay It Down’ or how me, Chris Brown and Omarion went to the Lakers playoff game in the middle of one of my recordings and came back to the studio and made a crazy track – ‘Love Me Girl’. I could tell you about how you can go from a track like Lay It Down to Naked, which is very very sincere and loving to something really aggressive like Be The One with me, Trey and Jeezy. So I think we kinda cover all aspects of R&B smooth in one album…
Speaking of your album, you just said it’s very genuine. So I want to test this out; ‘Dedication To My Ex’…was that about a real ex in particular?
You really went in on her. What was all that about?
The bitch cheated on me when I was away…and I think what was really amazing is that Wayne had experienced something similar around the same time.
Who was that with? Tammy Torres?
I don’t wanna name drop or do anything like that but he experienced something a little similar and it just made a lot of sense to actually reach out to him to be a part of it, plus he had been away for a while in prison. The song has two meanings for me. One is very literal, which is a form of release…you know, a form of positive outlet. It’s a way for me to vent. It’s like therapy. It has a very personal side but then there is also a figuratively speaking side towards my fans which basically expresses my feelings towards me being away for so long and them kinda falling in love with other people while I was gone.
I see… I want to bring this back now. You said you’re the king of hearts and you mentioned that your ex cheated on you, so would you say you’re a loyal lover?
I would say I’m a Man! With all the things that go into not being a perfect man…but I’ve never cheated on a lover ever.
So do you get a lot of groupie love on tour?
What is a groupie? Is it just someone who likes me a lot? Or is it someone who likes me for the wrong reasons?
This how I would describe one: a fan loves what you do. They love you for your music, while a groupie just wants to get the goodies.
Well… I guess I’m the biggest groupie then! [Laughs]
At least you’re honest! [Laughs] On your album you’ve got a lot of collaborations. You’ve got Andre 3000, you’ve got Breezy, you’ve got Lil Wayne…
More than enough!
Indeed…but who was your favourite to work with?
I’m glad you said that. I though you were going to get political and say they were all great…
They are all great but me and Weezy have worked on all of my albums and that’s for a reason.
Is there anyone you haven’t worked with yet that you would want to work with?
[Long Pause] I wanna do a track with erm….Shakira! [Does A Shimmy]
That would be an interesting collabo! Is there anyone in the music industry right now, which you would say you gain influence from? Or encourages you to become better?
Who would that be?
Everyone. Whether they’re good or bad, whether they are successful or not so much, whether they are new or very new…
So you keep your eyes on the game?
Is there anyone in the UK that you would want to work with?
I’ve been wanting to work with Tinie Tempah for quite some time.
I had the opportunity to work with Chipmunk before, but our schedules wouldn’t allow us. So I would hopefully like to get another shot at that. Maybe in the future… You know what? Anybody that just wants to work man! Anybody that’s hungry enough to work.
Good answer. Now let’s talk about your style. Initially when you started in the industry, you had the long braids, the pretty boy look…but now fans are seeing a more rugged, quirky Lloyd. What brought that along?
When you look at my music, I never really wanted to record a lot of slow songs unless they were real nasty, because I didn’t want to be passive or softer or conservative R&B…but I think that there’s beauty in all different kinds of approaches and attitudes and sounds of music and with the older I get, I guess the more rugged I look but the more refined I feel on the inside. I just don’t sag my pants as much. It’s not too much a style thing; it’s just the people I surround myself with. I don’t look for the same kinda trouble that I used to…but trouble can just find you sometimes.
Does trouble find you?
All the time…but it’s never my fault. [Laughs]
That’s what everyone says! Even your cheeky smile says trouble!
[Smiles] This smile? Never!
[Laughs] Let’s stay on the topic of fashion. European style vs American swag? Who do you think dresses better?
What do you mean?
You said you don’t sag your pants and you’re dressing more refined. From what I can tell, American men dress differently to the typical European man. So who do you think dresses better?
I think everything is different. Even the kind of cars we drive. We like bigger cars. We like bigger clothes, we like bigger women. We just like big and unfortunately depending on what the attire calls for, I think big can be good or it can be bad. I think for certain things, the European style definitely is cool then for other things, I’m comfortable with my American.
Okay. I understand…. Now on a more serious note, let’s talk about Aaliyah. Obviously it’s been 10 years this year since her death. How do you feel her absence has impacted the music industry?
I think she encouraged women to do more with their talent, to be more of a thespian. Of course with the music, the movies, the dancing and with the philanthropy…I think she was really at her prime or about to be at the prime of her career. I think that obviously when you lose someone as influential and as game changing and as important as a person like Aaliyah or Tupac, it changes the whole geometry of music…of the sound of music, of the acceptance of other artists. I think…if Aaliyah was around, would Rihanna be the same? Rihanna as today? Probably , because she’s more of an Island girl anyway, she’s got her own thing…but would Ciara be Ciara today? Because they are kinda similar right? You’ve just gotta ask yourself, what would Beyonce be to the game? Obviously I think Beyonce is incredible regardless but if Aaliyah was around maybe she would be somewhere totally different? You never know but you just gotta keep that in mind. As someone who’s alive, who has the opportunity to do this, I think you’ve gotta always remember people like that, with everything you do. That way you don’t take it for granted and you keep pushing yourself.
On the topic of female artists…there’s a show in the UK called ‘Snog , Marry or Avoid’
Snog? [Confused face]
You don’t know what snog means? It means to make out with someone.
So you have three options to snog, marry or avoid people in the industry.
Are they women? All women?
Then I wanna snog them all! I wanna snog all of them at the same time! [Laughs]
You have to pick! That’s what makes it interesting… You have to pick one celebrity to snog, one to marry and one to avoid.
Okay let’s do this! I would snog Megan Fox.
Who would you want to marry?
I’d want to marry….er….Oprah?
She is very beautiful… Actually, no I wouldn’t want to marry Oprah. I would wanna marry someone a little closer to my age. I like er…I would wanna marry…God I don’t think you can really say you wanna marry somebody off of look so I’ll have to pass on that one.
You’re in the industry though! You must have an idea of what people are like? Who comes across the most like your ideal partner? Who’s passionate and honest like you said?
Who comes across like that? Hmmm… I would marry Keri Hilson.
Who would you avoid?
I would avoid Rihanna.
I dunno… She just does something to men. I don’t know what it is…she just makes them crazy! I don’t want that. Nuh Uh!
[Laughs] Good answer! I want to know, is there anything you’re working on right now, because I heard you have a very naught mixtape in the works?
Yes. I’ve had it completed for a long time, but the album wouldn’t allow me to release it in time before, so Ima just keep refining it a bit, add on a few features. It’s a lot more provocative but I have a side of me that enjoys that a lot. There’s a lot of great features on there too… I’m also gonna re-relase my album for the holidays. Its gonna feature some original Christmas songs.
Everyone is thinking about Christmas already! Apparently Selfridges have already got decorations up! I heard you went there yesterday right?
Yes I did. I almost spent all my Christmas money early. [Laughs]
What did you get?
I bought some Jordans, I bought this pimp hat and I brought a massage with a happy ending. [Demonstrates]
From Selfridges?! Are you sure you got that from Selfridges? That sounds a little dodgy to me.
No… It was at a very dark alley! [Laughs] I’m joking… I bought some Nikeys too.
[Laughs] You sound like you love your sneakers!
Now back to music. What’s your favourite track on the album?
It has to be world cry because of the message, because of the way I felt when I first heard it, because of the way I feel when I listen to it and because of the way I actually had to motivate myself to record it. It was pretty awesome. I looked up a lot of YouTube clips of poverty, of aids, of war and it was really moving so I think I expressed that vocally in that song. Working with K’naan, Keri Hilson and R.Kelly was amazing…
Would you say you’re a big philanthropist then?
When I can be, yeah. I believe that a lot of where I’m at comes from something I can’t explain. Something that could have gone to someone else but it didn’t and I have the gift and I have the opportunity to give back.
For the kids that look up to you and want to do what you do, what advice would you give to them? What would you say keeps you grounded?
I heard your Dad died when you were quite young and you have a tattoo of him on your arm?
How was it growing up without him in your life? For you to have a strong family unit I assume you’re very close to your mother. What did she do to provide that for you?
My mother played the role of both. She made a lot of sacrifices for us.
Do you pay her back for those sacrifices?
Well…I could never pay her back, but I could try and show her that I understand, in the words of the late Tupac! She’s just a brilliant person. She’s very strong, she’s very intelligent, she’s a doctor. She’s also very young, youthful, she likes dirty jokes. When were kids she knew we were doing bad things away from the house, she knew we were using bad language and curse words, so what she would do is she would give us a minute in the car to say whatever we wanted, then after the she’d say “now don’t let me here any of y’all say any of that sh*t again or else I’ll whoop your a*s!”
[Laughs] Would you say you get your sense of humour from her?
I get a lot of it from her and the father of my brothers as well…he’s hilarious! Very funny.
So how many brothers do you have?
Three brothers and 3 sisters. Not to include all the neighbourhood kids that come over and eat up all the food! [Laughs] Our house has always been the neighbourhood house and everyone always wanted my Mum to be their Mum.
It sounds like you have an awesome family…
Unfortunately it looks like our time is up for today, I hope you enjoy the rest of your UK tour.
I hope so too!
Words by Toni Adenle and thanks to LIVE BASE for the interview.