We had the pleasure of sitting down with Lanz Pierce and getting to know who she is. Lanz Pierce, an NYC artist by way of New Jersey, knew what she wanted since day one. At just 14, she left the traditional school system in pursuit of a non-traditional music career.
As a rapper, her lyrics resonates with the heart, derived from her relentless grind on the inner-city streets. As an artist, her musical influences combine the rawness of rap and soul with pop sensibility; rhythmic flows complemented by hard-hitting drums and polished melodies.
Her first independent release, “Point Of No Return EP” proved to the hip-hop world she was here to stay. Determined to keep the momentum going and reach a wider audience, Lanz Pierce created her own label, Innovators&Aviators and signed a distribution deal with Empire.
“Waterfalls,” Pierce’s first single and self-directed music video off her sophomore EP Editor’s Eye, earned her a spot on the front page of VEVO.com, iTunes’ “New & Noteworthy,” and Spotify, with appearances on Shade45’s “Sway In The Morning” and Statik Selektah’s “Showoff Radio.”
Touring internationally in Stockholm and stateside on the Camplified Tour and hitting festival stages like A3C and CMJ, Lanz set the pace for her second and third singles, “Like You Should” and “Confessions,” both of which are accompanied by self-directed music videos.
The release of Editor’s Eye (March 2015) will mark Pierce’s arrival as an exciting new voice in the music scene. Lanz Pierce never compromises her authenticity. To this fearless artist, there are no limits.
1. What inspired you, about the Hip Hop culture and who influences you musically?
I love that Hip-hop was cultivated in the inner city and born out of a need to give a voice to the underdog & it became the representation of power & attitude for any kid that believed in it. I was the kid who fell in love with the irreverent persona that every 90’s rapper oozed, the clothes that said “Im the shit,” and the ability to turn struggle into success. I wanted my part in that legend.
2. Can you share with us your experience & time at Quad Studios?
Quad was my first music industry related job, I appeared at the studio one day after calling excessively for a month straight asking about openings and hearing only no. One day I decided to just show up unannounced, I met the studio manager at the time – Willis .. I kinda pleaded for a shot and he gave me it. Nothing glamorous, I cleaned studios and made coffee runs..But I would rap all day, every day and they nicknamed me “100 bars of fire.” In the end, I got fired because my mom showed up with a pair of rubber cleaning gloves after I told her I was cleaning the restrooms without any and she was horrified by this. She told them I was only 15 working there and well that was that. HA! Best entrance into the music world, taught me to be hungry, driven, work hard, and grow up.
3. Who is your biggest role model(s) in hip hop?
Kanye West for me is an all around artist, he might not be my favorite rapper of all time but by far is the most interesting Artist. I think about the brilliance he’s added to the world and its so beyond just hip-hop, he’s a thought leader, a culture changer & an innovator. Eminem too, i just will never forget the impact he had on my life, his music was my bible through my growing pains. As far as now, in the sphere of today – Drake, Jcole, Kendrick, those are the guys to me.
4. Can you tells us about your experience and time at Interscope records & epic records?
Interscope was living my dream, best metaphor i can give you is- the little kid who watches the Yankees growing up, all his or her favorite players are on the team and every night dreams of wearing the pin stripes one day… then actually does. That was me, Interscope was my Yankees and Jimmy Iovine was my Joe Torre. I idolized every great artist Jimmy broke or had a hand in their career from, Tupac, Dr Dre, Eminem, 50 cent to Gwen Stefani & Black Eye Peas. I didn’t end up getting to see my glory days there but a lot of that had to do with timing. 2007 the industry was changing and i was just a small spoke on a huge wheel. I have nothing but positive things to say about the experience being signed to the label, i got to tour with Snoop Dogg at 17 years old, how many people can say that?
Epic Records, that was a phase where I was trying things out to find myself and an opportunity came up to be a A&R consultant there under Amanda Ghost who was the president at the time. We had the same attorney and he put in a good word, she hired me for a short run of 3 months. I got to see what it was really like on the other side of the looking glass, not from an artist perspective at a major label but as a sudo staff member…sitting in on marketing meetings, learning about artist budgets, picking records for projects, etc. In the end, I wasn’t happy being in an office, I’m a creator, but i consider myself lucky to have had that experience.
5. Can you tell us about your company Innovators&Aviators?
My business partner & I founded it together, it works because we are a great team. The motto behind the name is bringing the thinkers & doers together to make innovative ideas come to life and take flight. The label is a creative collective, I signed myself to it and under the umbrella we have an in-house team of producers, a film team, and other artists in the works.
6. What is your view and take on the current state of Hip Hop?
I think there will be a time in the near future where the word “Genre” doesn’t even exist. More than ever Hip-hop is open to other musical influences, sounds, & mashups, I think that’s dope. I feel like the current state of Hip-hop is a double edged sword …on one hand it’s exciting because there’s a lot of new talent breaking through in non-traditional ways and artists are more free, than ever to be original without the stigma of “Na son that’s not Hip-hop.” At the same time, I feel like we live in a time where rappers are not held accountable the same way to being authentic. It used to matter how much work you put in to get to a position, what your story was, and where you were from. Now you can blow up overnight, make one song and go viral..as cool as that sounds i think it leaves new artists and the audience at a disadvantage, over saturating kids who pay more attention to numbers and views then the quality of the music.
7. What did you take away from your time working with Nile Rogers?
He’s a genius. He’s a legend, he was a great mentor and I’m very grateful of the time I worked with him and his team. Melody, Rhythm & funk, he’s the GOAT.
8. The best Hip Hop album to date in your opinion?
Can’t pick one.
Tupac -All Eyez On Me
50Cent -Get Rich Or Die trying
Lauryn Hill -Miss Education of Lauryn Hill
Biggie- Life After Death
Eminem- Marshal Mathers LP
Kendrick Lamar- Good Kid Mad City
9. What would your advice be for the next generation getting into Hip Hop?
I would say it takes incredible work ethic, sacrifice and discipline to make it in the music industry. If you Know what you want out of the game and who you want to be. Don’t ever let anyone stand in the way of that. Be original, be you everyone else is taken. Use the tools of today to your advantage and don’t let ego stop you from growing or taking constructive criticism.
10. How does Lanz Pierce get involved in the community or how would you give back to the community?
I care a lot about taking part in a great cause and giving back. I’d like to go to schools and build more intensive music programs where artists come and speak to the kids and get involved. Also I would like to help the fight against child hunger and do outreach programs for at-risk teenagers.
11. If you could get into the studio with anyone tomorrow who would it be?
I’m jumping at the producers first so – Kanye West, Pharrell, Dr. Dre, No ID or 40, any and all the above.
12. Can you walk us through the concept and vision for the video “waterfalls”?
“Waterfalls” was shot on my first trip to London with Oliver Whitehouse. I was so in awe of the European vibe, I felt I had to capture that moment & the beauty of the city. We shot in Hyde park and the famous Lanes Borough hotel. I wanted the visuals to represent the meaning behind “Waterfalls” which is about the rush of unleashing the feelings you’ve bottled up for so long. Anger, love, Fear, Passion.. That release when you finally let everything you been building up inside go & it just pours, & flows out. We used light and unique angles to make shadows and create a ghostly feel..Then we played that against the bold performance shots to show transformation.
13. Since your first EP “Point Of No Return” and now with the release of the EP “Editors Eye” how have you grown as an artist?
I’m more confident with myself, personally and artistically. My flow is tighter, my delivery more potent and over all my sound has become its own clear thing.
14. Can you walk us through the concept and vision for “Confessions”?
It was loosely based on the 90’s classic film ” Thelma & Lousie” where 2 women escape their dark pasts, & runaway together, they hit the road with nothing but a suitcase of clothes. In “Confessions” i wanted to show the bond between 2 women that had only each other to rely on for protection, comfort, and survival. I wanted to blur the lines between friendship & love and leave the audience to make their own conclusions. The production and crew were amazing, we shot at a roadside motel in a small beach town in New Jersey. We had a beautiful 1960’s drop top that i had to learn to drive stick on. I had fun on that set!
15. Aside from writing do you get involved in the production & the musical arrangement of your own music?
Definitely, i always have input.
16. Aside from “Lanz Pierce” who is an artist or producer that the world needs to know about?
We’ve got some great in-house producers we are cultivating at
Innovators & Aviators, I’ll keep them my secret weapons for now until the time is right.
17. Being that your a writer an artist and a performer, whats your take on ghostwriting in Hip Hop?
It’s not a new concept, it’s just people are starting to hear about it in the mainstream public. Collaboration is the back bone of great music, its about the quality of record first, not who’s name is on the credits .We all want to buy into the authenticity of what separates rappers from pop singers, and that is that we are telling our own stories and writing these lyrics based on truth. I know i do. But to survive in this industry rappers no longer just need to be the best lyricist or spitters. If that were the case guys like crooked-I, & Hopsin, who are incredibly talented technical “rappers” would run the game. We want hit records,& radio smashes, we want to sing along..sometimes those hooks and choruses come from another source. I don’t condemn it just don’t front about it.
18. Being that music is selective what is one thing you hope or wish to convey about you and your art to your listeners?
I Just want to make great records, push boundaries & inspire ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Everything else is bells and whistles.
19. Whats next for Lanz Pierce?
A major tour, & New album in the works.
Much respect to Lanz Pierce & The Bridge Promotion for coming through with this interview and supporting Bound 2 Hip Hop.