Local To Local Vocalist LOTUS Talks To Us About Music, Balance & Inspirations

It’s a daily occurrence for The 5 to 9 Life to receive new music in our inbox – whether it’s the release of a new single, album or the recommendation of a new artist/group, we’re always keeping our eyes (and ears) open to what’s out there, because let’s face it, there are way too many artists and “new music” to keep track of these days.

One of our usual resources (Hey, Tristan!) surprised us with an email late one evening to let us know about his own side hustle; his crew Local to Local (consisting of LARKS, Anbar, Lotus & Kiid Koda and led and directed by DJ Marco) and sent me the latest single from their vocalist LOTUS in the form of ‘TPE’ which we recently premiered on The 5 to 9 Life.

Curious to know more about LOTUS (and Local to Local), we organised a little chat with him to find out how he got his start in the industry, what inspires him, and what makes a good session in the studio. Scroll down to find out more.

Tell us about yourself.
I’m just a 19-year-old Afghan kid with a dollar and a dream haha; representing the multicultural industry we have coming straight from south-east Melbourne. To be completely honest, I never thought I’d be a singer or a hip-hop artist when I was a kid, although it was always a dream low-key. First I wanted to be Ronaldo until like every other player that almost went pro I injured my knee, then went on to be Alkami (All my day ones know who that is), but after that I moved onto LOTUS and here I am, performing with my homies supporting artists that we admire as Local To Local.

What can you tell us about ‘TPE’?
TPE stands for Third Person Emotions. This song tells the story of how a guy is scared to show his emotions to a girl he had a fall-out with, it’s called ‘TPE’ because sometimes in relationships we choose not to show our emotional side, especially as guys, this is the third person emotion speaking out because his pride won’t.

What’s your earliest memory of being inspired to pursue music as a profession?
The first time I was actually inspired to be a singer and perform was in year 5 when me and my homie Ibrahim performed ‘Dear Mama’ by Tupac at a school concert, but the point where I actually made the decision to pursue music was when my bro Akido showed me Immortal Technique. I watched him and his music for a while which made me research music a bit more. I fell in love with his artform and decided to move forward with my choice.

What artists inspire/influence you the most?
At the very start, it was Immortal Technique – I followed his steps and followed his movement; then I stopped for a while and left music and stuck to just working, but music was made for me and I was made for it. A year later I started singing in the studio instead of [in] the shower; that’s when LOTUS was birthed. But now I listen to a wide range, the most influential to me in terms of my style is Jeremih.

Is your family musical? How have they influenced your music?

My family isn’t too musical actually, should have seen my mamas face when I first told her mum I want to sing and perform at Crown. I honestly don’t even know how she let me do it haha. All I know is my family stepped on their beliefs and supported me to do what I love, and for that, I can’t thank them enough. I couldn’t care less what people have to say about me or my music, as long as my fans, circle and family support me, I’m living.

What are some of your favourite records of all time?

Wow, that is a question with crazy width for me, I honestly have a lot of favourite tracks, I can’t put a finger on a single one, but some of my anthems are songs like ‘Throw It Back’ – League Of Starz, ‘Work Out’ – J Cole, ‘I’m Supposed To Die Tonight’ – 50 Cent, ‘Yung God’ – Russ, ‘Pretty Little Fears’ – 6lack and almost every track by Jeremih.

What is the best advice you ever received towards your music?
The best advice I’ve received, even though it’s cliché, is never stop, keep grinding, you
only get better, you only get smarter in your industry.

How often are you in the studio? What makes a good session?
I’m literally in the studio 90% of the time (Ask my Mama)! She always roasts me about it. Monday to Sunday, whenever I have spare time I’m grinding, even when I don’t have spare time, I make time. Honestly, the most important thing at a studio is the vibe in the studio and the people in it, that’s my workplace, that’s my private court.

How do you balance your music with other obligations – friends, relationships, job?

It’s actually hard to balance, a lot of people don’t understand how much work is put into it unless you’re in the industry, most only see the tip of the iceberg. Everything behind the scenes takes time and effort patience and mental strength.

Any shows coming up?
Yeah, 100% we’ve always got shows coming up, we only work and perform. My next show is on the 2nd of November at Laundry Bar! It’s our second headline show called Localfest 2. You can find it on the Local To Local Facebook page.

If there is one main message you hope people can take from your music, what would that be ?

One main message to take from my music, hmm, that would be the fact that your emotions are not to be hidden, the more you store the more it’ll affect you subconsciously, you won’t even know it but you’ll realise you’re always tired, fatigued, mentally drained because of all the hurt and pain and memories you store in your head, it’s okay to let it out, it’s okay to stand up for you.