Born into a first generation Jamaican household, music has been in Scoop Lo’s life since he could walk and talk. At an early age he was an avid storyteller and took an interest in dance. This interest in storytelling would be sparked by hip hop particularly LL Cool J. As he got older, he landed on a few notable DJ mixes but he felt like something was missing. His father asked him why he didn’t move in his showcases. So he started studying Usher, Michael Jackson and finally fell onto Missy Elliot. When he saw she didn’t jeopardize her lyrical ability and still grooved it sparked him.
He began working with World Renowned Entertainment management. This led to a few high school tours throughout the tri-state and midwest regions. After some time Scoop began embarking on his own endeavors which ended up with him parting ways with the management company. During this time he started gaining radio play and opening for major artists one of the most notable Trey Songz. This attracted Stephen Strother who was instrumental in Usher’s first record deal. He introduced Scoop to then Defjam Art director Shani Gonzalez who signed him to a development deal. He went on to continue recording working with array of label mates while joining the BET blaze the stage tour’s west coast leg.
During this time a mixtape surfaced with him and rnb crooner Lloyd, titled Debonaire Hearts as promo for both artists. It was well received but short lived, not long afterwards Scoop was released from Def Jam Digital. He started recording again and landed on It’s a party, which gave him some international success including landing a Quiksilver Pro France campaign and a sponsorship deal threw Exclusiv vodka. Taking time off from the stage to work behind the scenes with major and independent artists Scoop has found himself submerged in in music again. Recently releasing Dorian Gray Vol 1 with Bad Girl as the lead-off single( produced by Nic Nac and CandN beats respectively) through his own imprint The Debonaire Group. Recently, in an exclusive interview, Scoop Lo gave us more insight into his current future…and past!
- How long have you been in the music business and how did you get started in the first place?
Scoop Lo: I’ve been doing music since my early teens. There used to be a place in my area called new jeru. It was a mixtape store and they did a one track recording for 20 dollars. So i said im going to try it and that was it here we are.
- Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?
Scoop Lo: Michael Jackson was my first actually. Then i stumbled onto LL cool J and that opened my eyes to hip hop. I started liking a diverse set of people from Jay-z, Fabolous, Usher then i discovered Missy Elliot and Outkast.
- Which artists are you currently listening to? And is there anyone of these that you’d like to collaborate with?
Scoop Lo: I’m loving Wale’s new album. He’s pretty dope and we actually just finished a collab. Tinashe is fresh. We actually have something in the works also. I’m listening to Omarion Chris Brown Vybez Kartel Big Sean and Meek Mill. I also like Sia and La Roux Oh and Kyndall fresh new artist she’s dope.
- Have you suffered any ‘resistance’ from within the industry, and if so how have you handled that, and how do you handle criticism and haters in general?
Scoop Lo: Oh yeah basically because no could actually pinpoint what genre I was. Since I always fit this whole rnb singer image but I was a hip hop artist technically. Then there was the whole I danced thing. So a lot of times people got confused and my lyrics get overlooked. I understand everyone is not going to like me and that’s fine. I’m more worried about the ppl that do because they are the real supporters.
- How did you get to meet up with Shani Gonzalez and what lessons did you come away with during your Def Jam experience?
Scoop Lo: I met Shani threw Stephen Strother actually. I started doing more shows and was opening up for Trey Songz at the time. I had a record that was getting radio spins on bds so he chose to shop me. What was crazy was he shopped to Lenny S first at Def Jam then Shani. Shani was in the pop department and thought that something could be developed and that was that. I walked away a lot more knowledgeable of basically the industry in general it was an eye opener and I don’t regret it one bit.
- How did the idea come about to establish your own imprint – The Debonaire Group?
Scoop Lo: That was always the plan. I watched Puffy and Jay and countless others and thought I should do that, that’s what I want.
- Will The Debonaire Group be concentrating solely on your own releases or are you planning to spread out and accept other artists too?
Scoop Lo: Yes actually there are two other artists on The Debonaire Group, Dj Aqueous and Heather Gin. We just released Classy Girl Strut for Heather Gin produced by Jahlil Beats and written by myself and Dj Aqueous has an upcoming single featuring myself and Wale called Over Here.
- Tell us something about your lyrics and music production on your releases. Which part of these processes do you handle, and which do you outsource generally?
Scoop Lo: Lyrically I go with what I feel, I’m a very metaphoric artist. I love double entrendes and thought provoking lyrics for the most part. So when listening to my music you can go back and get something new from it. I’m really picky about production. I’m hands on with a lot of the music processes and I outsource the more technical stuff like mastering pr etc.
- Tell us something about the “Dorian Gray Vol. 1” Ep and the lead-off single “Bad Girl” (produced by Nic Nac and CandN beats respectively) ?
Scoop Lo: Dorian Gray was developed as a mixtape initially but then it just became this thing. We started shooting ideas around and the process kind of found this body of work that sounded great and we went with it. Bad Girl was actually the last recording for Dorian Gray. It really wasn’t even intended for Dorian Gray but Toya wanted it on there. So by chance Nic Nac laid the ground work for the record and C and N beats a duo out of Chicago put the finishing touches on it. When we played it back it was the perfect radio record. It tested well with my core and we decided to go with it.
- Which do you ultimately prefer? Entertaining a live audience or creating songs in a studio setting?
Scoop Lo: Live performing. The studio is great and all but the stage does something to me.
- If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to be a part of this tough business. Is it joy, desire, passion or pride and why?
Scoop Lo: Passion (s/o to HG) I literally love making and performing music. I love being able to help others do the same and it’s just amazing connecting with ppl on that level.
- Which aspects of being an independent artist and label owner excites you most and which aspects discourages you most?
Scoop Lo: I love the creative control. You have no idea how much that means to me. Usually the biggest thing is budget but honestly everyone has strapped down on that.
- How do you achieve your sound and the cool vibes that can be heard on your recordings? Do you work from a private home recording environment or do you use commercial sound studios?
Scoop Lo: I use a little of both studio wise. The records themselves all tell my truth somewhere in them. Even the ones that are more uptempo.
- What is the best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far, and one you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have?
Scoop Lo: The best advice I ever got was be yourself and care about your core first because the bandwagon supporters can be fickle. One thing I didn’t I think, was radio doesn’t make you. Being on the radio didn’t blow me out the water. It takes everything combined.
- Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites, as fundamental to your music, and business in general, or do you think it has only produced a mass of mediocre “copy-and-paste” artists, who flood the web, making it difficult for real talent to emerge?
Scoop Lo: I absolutely feel like it has helped overall. Coming off a major the internet is what got my buzz picked back up on thanks to the Jhene Aiko feature. I do feel like it made music a little less valuable though since it’s so easy to obtain and now anyone with a mic and laptop can make a record.
- If someone who has never heard you, asks what does Scoop Lo sound like? Which 3 keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound?
Scoop Lo: The Scoop Lo sound is a big science project lol. Its experimental, its smooth, its provocative.
- What are your thoughts on visual media? Do think that video is an appropriate marketing tool for your music, and will you be making any videos to support your latest releases?
Scoop Lo: Yes we are shooting the video for Bad Girl in Miami early May. Video is needed especially since I’m a performer.
- As you continue to work your way through your career, which, more than any other still fires-up your imagination – A Grammy Award or Platinum music sales?
Scoop Lo: Actually neither if I get a Grammy, great, platinum sales, great. Honestly I love touring and my passion is taking care of my family. The road drives me the connection to people.
- Straight off the top of your head, can you shoot out 3 adjectives to describe the current state of Hip-hop?
Scoop Lo: Crowded, Evolving, Hopeful
- What is the ONE thing you are NOT willing or prepared to do EVER, in your quest to achieve a successful musical career?
Scoop Lo: Jeopardize my integrity and who I am. I’ve been there before and it was awful.