We all know you come from a legacy family of top tier musical talent. I understand you are self-taught in piano, guitar, bass and drums. Did these all come naturally to you or was one easier than the other to grasp?
Well piano was first, and then came guitar. Once I was able to understand the guitar, I learned the bass, and then came drums. It was a natural thing and also something I wanted to do.
Which instrument do you feel you do struggle with the most, and what advice might you give other young self-taught aspiring artists?
I’d say I’m working on my drumming the most as of late. The best advice is repetition and with that then comes the patience to learn.
Would you say that you chose music or would it be more accurate to say it chose you?
Music chose me. It spoke to me always from a young age. It’s such a joy to feel the music and create.
You released your first single “Cry To Me” in 2015. Since then you’ve signed to a new record label (Island Records), co-wrote a Billiard Hot 100 Single with Katy Perry (Chained to the Rhythm), and performed at both the Grammys and Brit Awards. Would it be fair to say the last two years have been a bit of a whirlwind? What has been the biggest highlight for you so far?
These two past years have been blessed working on the craft of music. The biggest highlight was working with Katy Perry and performing alongside her at the Grammys so far.
What’s your creative process like? Do you come into the studio with a pre-arranged piece and lyrics or do you find yourself entering with more of a blank canvas and developing it there? Do you tend to have a clear vision for your music from the beginning or does it change pretty drastically as you put it all together?
It varies you know, wherever the vibe is. Most of the time we just start to create and jam in the studio. Once we catch something we lock it in and polish it.
Since you’re already working with some pretty big names in music at only age 20, who do you hope to collaborate with next?
I’m open to many collaborations. I don’t know at the moment – in time, we’ll see.
What are some of your favourite records that have been released recently?
Kendrick Lamar’s album “DAMN”, John Mayer, Drake, Ed Sheeran, and J Cole’s records I’ve been listening to.
Your latest single “Lions” has drawn stark comparisons to your grandfather Bob Marley due to its politically charged lyrics, but you’ve stated that your intent was not necessarily to write and arrange a political song. If not political, what feeling or emotions did you hope it would convey?
It’s a personal revolution. A reminder to people that we can’t give up nor give in to any pressures. We Lions never give up.
You’ve been called the voice of a revolution by critics and music lovers alike. From your perspective, is that a heavy label to hold or have you embraced it?
I’ve embraced it. It’s people power. It’s unity.
What do you hope people feel when they listen to Lions, or for that matter, any of your music for the first time?
I hope that they understand the message of the music and feel where it’s coming from.
You appeared in a Gap campaign in 2016, do you have other aspirations outside of music that we should keep an eye out for? More modelling, perhaps? Or film?
In time we’ll see. I’m always searching for new things.