In the universe of R&B music, it’s not enough to just be able to belt out a tune. The singer must be able to touch your heart or conjure angels when you close your eyes; whether performing on stage or crooning through a stereo speaker, the performer should make you feel a tingle of glorious sensations while you gently sway with the object of your affections. Indeed, in 2004, the singer who can invoke all of those emotions and more is 18-year-old soul sensation Lloyd. And, with the release of SouthSide, Lloyd has no problem taking you there.
“I feel there is a lot of corn ball activity in music right now and it’s my goal to change that,” Lloyd says. “I want to bring a whole new energy to the R&B game.” As the latest performer to join the Inc. camp, home of multi-platinum artists Ja Rule and Ashanti, the Atlanta native has already joined forces with both of his label mates.
“The first song I recorded for Inc. was a duet with Ja called ‘Caught Up’,” Lloyd recalls. “After that, we started knocking out the tracks real quick. We must have recorded four or five songs a week.” Also, Lloyd recorded several songs with Diva One Entertainment and Magic Johnson Music.
In addition to his vocal prowess, Lloyd also wrote all the tracks on the album. “Working in the studio with the Inc. team motivated me to create hot material,” he says. “Ja Rule would say, ‘You have to do you,’ and that was a lesson that stayed with me.”
Citing Marvin Gaye, R.Kelly and Coldplay in his list of favorite artists, Lloyd’s debut single, produced by Wirlie Morris, is an endearing duet with labelmate Ashanti. Over the sweet strumming of an acoustic guitar and a laid-back track, Lloyd’s seductive vocals are powerful. ‘I want girls to be turned on when they hear my voice,” Lloyd says. In addition, the songs “Take It Low” and “Feels So Right” are straight R&B music for hopeless romantics.
With a voice that will have women fiending and men bangin’ the songs in their rides, Lloyd was born in the city of New Orleans, but raised in Atlanta. “My father was tragically killed when I was two,” Lloyd says sadly. “He was a singer in the church and the projects, and everyone in the hood would come around to hear him sing.” Having inherited his pop’s vocal chops, Lloyd recorded the sorrowful song “My Life” as a tribute to his fallen father. “I think about my dad all the time, and I wanted a track that would express just that.”
Although SouthSide is Lloyd’s first record, this young man is a veteran of the music world. Discovered by former Klymaxx member Joyce Irby, who also was the first to introduce super producer Dallas Austin to the world and heads Diva One Entertainment, Lloyd was once a member of a now defunct group called N-Toon. “When I was 10-years-old, Joyce was putting together a boy band, and had spoken to the music director at my elementary school,” Lloyd says. “After hearing me sing, Joyce signed me right away.”
Although N-Toon was signed to both Warner Brothers, by Denise Brown, and Dreamworks, the project never took off. Still, being in the group was a vital learning experience for the young artist. “We were on the road constantly, which helped shape my skills as a performer,” Lloyd says. “A lot of people in the hood can sing, but not many can entertain. That’s what I do.”
Signed by the Inc. CEO Irv Gotti after his first audition, Lloyd declares, “I walked into Irv’s office which was filled with all these real hard New York dudes. All of them looked real serious, but when I played a song on my demo called ‘Hey Girl,’ the fellas started nodding their heads. After Irv played the song a second time, he signed me on the spot.”
As the first R&B male on the Inc., young Lloyd is determined to make his mark on the industry with SouthSide. “Everyday is an adventure,” Lloyd says. “With me now down with the Inc., there is no limit to what we can do.”