AN URBAN ALTERNATIVE – Last weekend, I caught LaRon ambling into this acoustic pre-Grammy’s event, quiet and self-conscious, always nervous before he goes onstage, he’d tell me later. I got to witness the transformation as he played LA for the first time – and was blindsided by the texture of such a young voice and his musical range. I ended up at LaRon’s studio on Grammy Sunday to do some digging on this 23-year-old ‘Urban Alternative’ artist from Minneapolis who’s said that music gives him wings.
HEAR THIS - Donnie Scantz & Jahi Sundance just released LaRon’s lush debut album, Like a Rose, on itunes over Christmas as the first artist on their State of Emergency label. (They’re the Grammy winning production company who’ve produced music for the likes of Chris Brown, Ludacris, Usher, Aaliyah, Miguel and Danity Kane). LaRon’s music is about the whole approach and not one specific sound and his taste ranges from Rick Brown to MGMT, from Passion Pit to Coldplay. The album is a love story about a break-up (his ex’s name is Rose, hence the title) and the 10 tracks are peppered with stacked vocals, infusing layered and experimental sounds. His first single, Take You There, fuses Electro, Pop and Dubstep and you can STREAM IT via the Video below. [Go inside his studio after the jump]
STUDIO INTERVIEW – When I got to their Van Nuys studio, they’d just gotten back from a Grammy lunch event at the Four Seasons (and LaRon was amused by this Triple F.A.T. Goose jacket he scored). He started experimenting with music at age 16 and felt musically sheltered. His solution was driving his red Mitsubishi from his hometown Minneapolis to Atlanta to work with producer Dallas Austin and was exposed to a bevy of artists, including Lady Gaga. (She hit the red carpet in her egg not long before I got there and he said, “I love it. She’s doing whatever she wants and being creative.”) I’d hardly call LaRon up-and-coming as he’s more concerned about not being molded and performing at his own pace. He’s been in LA about a year, working with Donnie (who I was surprised to hear also has a classical background) & Jahi (pictured above, who has an interesting history as a prominent 16-year DJ as well as producer). LaRon is observant, vulnerable and I’d say emotionally exposed, which seems rare to me – but of heavy importance to LaRon as an artist. Something tells me he’s going to surprise us.
FIND + FOLLOW – Check out Like a Rose on itunes. I hummed Love Again all weekend after I caught him live, You Got Me is a popular ballad and one of his personal faves is Yea, Yeah. For one of you who leaves a comment below with your favorite song, I’ll be gifting you with his album via itunes redemption code by the end of next weekend – and really think he’s an artist worth following on Facebook & @laronmusic. And yes, LaRon, you are fly. [@stylespotting | Facebook | Find more LaRon pix starting here on Flickr]
Photo Credits: Top two + linked images are mine, bottom image credit is forthcoming. Shout out to Rupert Lincoln + Debbie Durkin Green Grammy’s MUSIC SAVES LIVES ®