The Evolution of The Kid LAROI

The Evolution of The Kid LAROI

The Evolution of The Kid LAROI

The Australian native discusses his journey from Juice WRLD protégé to a chart-topping artist

The Australian native discusses his journey from Juice WRLD protégé to a chart-topping artist

Photography: Michelle Diaz

Styling: Douglas VanLaningham

Text: Bailey Bujnosek

This story appears in VMAN 47 now available for purchase. 

It’s hard to believe that The Kid LAROI is, well, a kid. The Australian native has released three albums, worked with a slew of iconic artists, and garnered hundreds of millions of streams on Spotify, all before turning 18. But while his resume might place him among his older peers, his music deals in distinctly adolescent angst.

The Kid LAROI wears jacket Boss, Pants Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello, Boots Dsquared2, Jewelry Cartier

Regarding the title of his 2020 debut album, F*CK LOVE, he recalls, “It was kind of like I would tell myself that I’d never have a girlfriend, ever.” This candid vulnerability has been a staple of LAROI’s songwriting from the start. His interest in music was first sparked by the songs his mother played around the house, from Kanye and Lil Wayne to The Fugees. Initially attracted to the beats, LAROI eventually began to relate to the lyrics—and to write his own. “It was a way of expression for me,” he explains. Soon after, he was recording music on his mom’s phone and entering local competitions.

The Kid Laroi wears jacket, Louis Vuitton

His big break came when he caught the attention of iconic rapper Juice WRLD. Juice became a mentor figure for LAROI, tapping him as an opener for his Death Race for Love tour in 2019. Their relationship was cut short by Juice WRLD’s tragic passing in December of the same year. A posthumous feature on LAROI’s single, “GO,” served as a way for LAROI to pay tribute to the late artist’s legacy. In the past two years, LAROI’s career has continued to grow at breakneck speed. He went viral on TikTok for the meme-able track “Addison Rae” and the catchy “Without You,” the latter song remixed by Miley Cyrus.

The Kid Laroi wears jacket, Louis Vuitton

He got in the studio with Justin Bieber for “Stay.” (“He freestyled the whole thing in fucking 15 minutes,” LAROI recalls. “It was incredible.”) This summer he released F*CK LOVE 3, the final installment in his F*CK LOVE trilogy. The album charts LAROI’s evolution in the year since his debut. “It’s closing the chapter,” he says. “Now that I have a girlfriend and shit, I’m not really feeling like, ‘Fuck love,’ anymore.”

Below, The Kid LAROI talks to VMAN about his latest album, his playlist, and what’s next for him. 

VMAN: How did you first become interested in music? Was there a formative moment or specific spark that led you to be interested in music?

The Kid LAROI: My mum used to play a lot of music around the house. All different types of music: Kanye, Little Wayne, Erykah Badu, the Fugees. All that type of shit. I guess naturally, I would always listen to that and whatever else was going on around the house. When I started getting a little older, seeing different shit and going through different situations, I started relating a lot of the music to my own things that were going on at home—and I guess it kind of was a way of expression for me, because I was like, “Okay, if these guys can do it, then so can I,” that type of thing.

VMAN: Was there anyone in your life who was supporting your earliest aspirations in music, and, if so, how did that propel you forward in your artistry and in your growth as a musician?

KL: My mum was always my biggest supporter. That was always great to have. I mean, yeah, she supported me from the jump and told me anything I wanted to do, I could do it. I think that was a big advantage that I had, that I think I’m really blessed with. ‘Cause not a lot of people have that—parents who are so supportive, like a mum who’s so supportive of doing something that’s so left. I think that was definitely a huge advantage for me.

VMAN: For sure. Can you tell me more about what the rap scene was like in Australia, when you were just getting started—and if you think it’s changed a lot from when you were getting started to now?

KL: I mean, from when I was just getting started, Australian rap—I’ll answer it like this: I think Australian rap, day by day, and Australian music in general, day by day, keeps evolving and becoming better and better. There are all different types of young kids and talent that are coming up everywhere. I think all it needs now is just somebody to put some shine on it, so that’s ultimately what I’m trying to do. To shine a light on the Australian scene and the talent that comes from Australia.

VMAN: Switching gears a bit to your forthcoming album, F*CK LOVE 3—can you tell me more about that project? How it builds on or maybe diverges from the first two projects, F*CK LOVE and SAVAGE?

KL: Alright. I guess this is just kind of the closing chapter to F*CK LOVE, the series. It’s going to be the third part, which is crazy. It’s closing the chapter. Now that I have a girlfriend and shit, I’m not really feeling like, “Fuck love,” anymore. This is kind of like the close to it and that’s all I can say right now. When it comes out you can have a listen.

VMAN: Do you think you’ve evolved as an artist from the debut to the latest album?

KL: I guess I’ve just been going through a lot of different life shit. I’m a whole year older now than I was when I made the first project. With every year comes a little bit more experience. I don’t know. Probably my mindset has changed a lot since the last project, clearly. Now I have a girlfriend. When I put out the first one, it was kind of like I would tell myself that I’d never have a girlfriend, ever. Now I do, so.[He laughs.] There is change. I guess the music has gotten better. At least, I hope. I think it has.

VMAN: Can you tell me more about what it was like to record F*CK LOVE 3 specifically? Any particular memories or favorite moments while you were recording it that you’d like to share?

KL: Well, I would say that when I was recording—a good one is the Justin story. How Justin [Bieber] came on the song [“Stay”]. I remember we had this idea for ages, this “Stay” idea, we’d had it for a minute. And we were sitting on it. We just didn’t know what we were going to do with it. And then when Justin DMed me to get on his album [Justice], I was thinking, “Shit, what can I send him back for mine?” So I sent him “Stay,” and I pulled up on him in the studio with the file. I was like, “Hey, you want to record this?” And he was like, “Yeah.” So we recorded it. He went in the booth and freestyled the whole thing—wrote it all himself and freestyled in fucking fifteen minutes. It was incredible.  

VMAN: Wow. And was this album something you were working on in quarantine, or was it more recent?

KL: I mean, there are some songs on there from quarantine, and some more recently. It’s been all over. I never walked in and was like, “Oh, okay, I’m going to make this thing.” It was just like, at different times different songs would come out.

VMAN: A lot of the interviews I was reading about you mention your drive, especially given how young you are and how early you are in your career. In the Spotify RADAR mini-documentary, for example, someone mentions that they were in the studio with you and you spent forty minutes recording one line. I want to know, where does that drive come from? Is it something where you’ve always had that work ethic, or is it something you’ve been honing recently?

KL: I think I’ve definitely always had that. I’m a perfectionist. I like getting shit perfect, because if I’m not happy with it, how is anyone else going to be happy with it?

VMAN: Yeah. And, moving on to your current music influences, who are you listening to at the moment? Who inspires your sound today?

KL: I listen to old Drake, old Kanye, and a whole bunch of weird shit. I don’t even have shit, specifically, that I listen to. I just go through and listen to all types of shit. I go back and listen to old songs, throwback shit. I’ll listen to fucking Young Thug, and Future, and then I’ll listen to John Mayer and Empire of the Sun, and The Backyardigans soundtrack. See what I’m saying? It’s all different types of shit going on.

VMAN: Yeah, all over the place. That’s cool. I want to know what’s next for The Kid LAROI. Any upcoming projects or collaborations, besides F*CK LOVE 3? I read somewhere that you talked about how you manifested becoming famous and moving to Los Angeles, so if there’s anything you’re manifesting now, I’d love to know.

KL: I’m manifesting being thirty years old, eating chocolate chip cookies, and not getting fat off of them. That’s where I’m at right now. 

VMAN: That could be the dream.

KL: That’s my dream now at least. Apart from that, I just want to make a really good album. We’ll see what happens next. I don’t really plan, I just kind of go with it.

This story appears in VMAN 47 now available for purchase. 

Credits: MAKEUP SAMANTHA LEPRE, HAIR ANGEL V PRADO, PHOTO ASSISTANT DANIEL NERIO, STYLIST ASSISTANT SOFIA LAVINIA

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