It is the beginning of the Fall season and what a perfect way to start it by listening to Crown La’trell. Crown La’trell is a rising R&B/HipHop artist that is gaining fans by the day. This Toronto native is known for his unique sound which involves high quality visuals that offer a dark and gothic vibe to his introspective songs. Not only does this create an eerie experience for the listener, but it is also fitting for this spooky season we’re in.
Crown La’trell’s stunning visuals are directed by exclusive collaborator William Scarth. His latest release is a music video for his most recent single ‘Halo’. ‘Halo’ is another chilling video which brings the audience into a world where demons are in the form of beautiful girls and a cult honors Crown himself. We reached out to Crown La’trell to hear more about this video, his creative process and his upcoming goals.
Halo by Crown La’trell 1
Tell me about yourself. How did you come up with the name Crown La’trell?
“My name originally used to be just La’trell but I was part of a group called Crown Gang. We would all put crown before our names on Instagram, so as we did that, people started calling me Crown La’trell when it was just La’trell and overtime, it kind of had a cool ring to it, so I went with it and it fit the whole theme.”
Are you still working with the Crown gang?
“Yeah, we are. Everyone does their own thing, one of them is a producer, I still work with him. He has a song for me for my next project and he helped with some of my recent video shoots. One of the other artists in the gang, I think she’s pursuing something else right now but yeah, everyone’s doing their own thing and I connect with them now and then.”
That’s good, you still stay in touch with them. So, would you say this is how you got into music?
“Through my core Crown group? Yes and no. I got into music when I was younger, I met someone at this dance camp. He told me he was an artist and he told me he was looking for a singer and I was like “yeah I sing” even though I never sang a day. I never professionally recorded yet, I just sang around my house and do small little performances. Then, he told me to come to the studio. I went to the studio, we did this song and then from there, I met different people. That’s how we formed the Crown group. I kind of met the producer I was working with and the same guy who invited me to the studio. Through him, I met the other girl that was part of the group. It was a chain of connections.”
So, about your music, what inspired your uniquely gothic visuals for your music videos such as ‘Vampire’ and ‘Live 4 Ever’?
“I used to watch a lot of horror movies growing up, so maybe that inspired it.”
That’s interesting, I love horror movies myself too.
“I used to watch a lot of slasher movies growing up and then, my family and cousins would be watching horror and dark movies. So, that’s probably why everything seems so Halloween-ish.”
It’s perfect for the season though. Compared to those music videos, how is ‘Halo’ different? What is it about?
“’Halo’ is basically a combination of everything but upgraded x3000. With ‘Vampire’ and ‘Got It’ and everything before, maybe not 13/The Hills which is in the past, but compared to those songs, ‘Halo’ is more cinematic in terms of…it has a very noticeable, very straight to the point storyline that’s very easy to catch on to.
Aside from the fact that we really focussed on making sure the story was straight to the point and people got it, we tried to emphasize the story by creating our own aesthetic around it which is what we do for a lot of our videos. With our videos, we’re really good at creating aesthetics. But with ‘Halo’, we wanted to take it up a notch, having a whole crew of people and roles, to make it feel like a real movie set. I wanted to bring that movie feel to my videos, so that’s the difference. I would say it’s more cinematic. We kind of want to make all our music videos feel like you’re watching an actual film.”
I think that’s a cool idea, you said you wanted to make the message very clear this time because in your recent music videos, it was more interpretive. So, when it comes to creating a song, what is your process? For instance, what comes first? The lyrics, beat, rhythm, etc.
“In terms of creating, what I usually do is I freestyle a lot on my own time. On my days off, I make a lot of random lines, so I have an arsenal of lines that can be used, but for the most part, I’ll listen to a beat and the first thing I’ll do is I’ll come up with a melody. If I can find words for the melody, I’ll find the words, but the first thing I try to do is come up with a melody because the melody is what captures the audience. It’s what carries the song. After I create a melody, I tend to work on the lyrics and then from the lyrics, I go in more depth with the beat because I do a bit of production myself. After I finish the melody and lyrics, I then work a little bit more on making the beat fit with the melody I made with the lyrics to hit harder.”
How would you come up with these lyrics? What inspires them?
“Life events. Life experiences. It could be me gaining inspiration from watching a film and then whatever vibe that film gave me, I’ll try to create a song off that vibe, but then relate it to what I’m doing in my life in the current moment. I also pull from a situation that I went through and use whatever feelings there, whether it be past experiences or present experiences. Things that I know are going to come in the future, I pull from that and speak about that. But then, I try to make it more poetic. What I realized with poems, you can speak about a lot of different things and relate it to yourself because we’ve all been through the same, similar situation. So, that’s kind of what I do. I just pull from anything. It could be a friend situation that I’m seeing or a friend situation that I’m helping with, I’ll make a story about the situation and talk about it from my perspective.”
You want to make it relatable.
“Yeah, I pull from any life situation that I’ve gone through. Any moment that I felt in my life, I’m really good at conveying that emotion that I felt at any part of my life, whether it was 5 years ago, yesterday, 2 weeks ago, I can think back to that situation and pull any emotion I felt from that and turn it into a song.”
So, you can also say that film plays an important role in your music as well because you’ve been influenced by it?
“Growing up, I was really into watching movies, different animes and not even just animes, like cartoons and shows. I was a big movie fanatic. I would watch every movie every time it came out. I also think that your visuals play a role in your music, if you can make your visuals convey an emotion as well as you can through your music, you’ve mastered being an artist in general. You’re undeniable at that point.”
Definitely. It was interesting that you were able to combine your hobbies into your passion. So, what about in terms of artists? Who are you inspired by and who would you like to work with in the future?
“Who I was inspired by is different than who I am inspired by now. In high school and in middle school, I used to listen to a lot of R&B. I always used to listen to Rick Ross, Usher, my mom would always play Usher, Ne-yo, Lloyd, J-Holiday and then, my biggest inspiration was Chris Brown, so that’s who inspired me to start singing. As of recently, I would say the last 5 or 4 years, my biggest inspirations are people like The Weeknd, X, Juice Wrld, Travis Scott, and even some Uzi. People like that, even people like Saint John. I wouldn’t say they’re inspirations but they’re people I listen to now. People that make dark, ambient music, those who are straight to the point, or those who have a gritty feel. That’s what I base my music from, so those are the people I would listen to.”
And are these the people you would like to work with in the future too?
“Yeah, definitely. I, for sure, want to work with The Weeknd. I want to be one of those people who’s able to get Michael Jackson vocals and make a song with Michael Jackson. I have a lot of different people that I want to work with, even people I know who I would have definitely wanted to work with. R.I.P people like Juice Wrld, that would’ve been really cool for me. But yeah, a lot of people I did name are people I’d like to work with.”
Regarding the future, what are your upcoming goals and plans? What can fans expect?
“I’ve been working on my next project. I’m not going to say it’s coming out soon. I have a lot of music right now and a lot of good music. I like being particular about what I put on a project because I like my project to have a certain feel. People can expect a lot more music, a lot more music videos, a lot more cinematics, a lot of very different, very niche, evocative videos. We’re going to take videos to a whole other level. If people think ‘Halo’ is crazy, we’re going to go even further up from that. Expect a lot better music, a lot more videos, and hopefully, a lot more shows. Even though COVID is happening, there’s not a lot of events going on, I am looking into doing online shows, so people can look forward to that and seeing that type of stuff as well.”
That’s a good idea, so fans can expect even more high-quality visuals. You’re going to take it up a notch?
“Yeah, more music. People can expect a lot more content, a lot of better content. A lot of crazier content that’s going to shake the way people look at an up and coming artist.”
Is there any message you’d like to say to your fans?
“Anyone that listens and fucks with the movement, fucks with what I’m doing, thank you. I’m going to be dropping so much shit, so look forward to that. Thank you and keep being night. I’m all about making music for the night, so listen to my music during the night. If you listen to my music to help you get through a certain time, thank you for that, because sometimes people even tell me that my music helps them get through dark times and I didn’t know that my music can have that effect on people. So, what I want to say to them is if it does do that, thank you, and people telling me, that also helps me get through my dark times. I make music for them. That was a whole weird rant, but basically, to the fans, I make music for them because all that shit they tell me that helps them helps me make more music for them.”
William Scarth, the creative director of Crown La’trell’s music videos, was also able to describe the process of producing a music video. Crown says he is known for helping with the concepts, picking the models and every other detail from top to bottom. He helps create the cinematic aspect of a music video as he said. This is what Scarth had to say.
“At the start of pre-production, I would force him to send me all the songs he was making, even if they’re not finished because we go through a very involved process of eliminating songs and it’s always painful to find the song we’re going to do a next video for. A lot of his music invokes a lot of visual elements when I listen into it. You can see the picture of what’s he’s saying. We first find the song we want to do the next video for. Sometimes, it’s a very long time, sometimes it’s “okay we’ll just do this one”. After that, we think, “how do we want this song to make us feel?” “do we want this in a city or an old mansion?” “do we want the car performances?” “do we want this in a field?” We think of any images that spring up and then we think about how we can make this happen. What resources do we have to make this happen?
The goal is to have our viewers see something that they see when they go to the movie theatres and relate that. So, a lot of people think that that’s having the most expensive camera or throwing as much money as you can towards girls and Lamborghinis but in reality, it’s creativity, it’s set design, it’s lighting and it’s the acting. It’s having an artist that isn’t afraid to be vulnerable and act and actually show visually what he’s talking about in the music and that’s really important. That’s how you make something cinematic, that’s what movies are. It’s not just money and expensive women.”
A good music video involves an artist who is not afraid to be himself. Of course, the music video is important to the audience, but I think it’s also important that they feel something from the music itself.
“Yes, one hundred percent. The video adds that real life element to the song. The song is just the feeling, the song is what puts you in the atmosphere, but the visuals is what solidifies that real-life experience because you can actually see what the person is talking about.” – Crown La’trell
“They work hand in hand. One cannot live without the other. When it comes to music videos, obviously songs can live by themselves and movies can live by themselves, but music videos, both elements must be working hand in hand because if one part fails, it’s going to look bad. Even if you have a great song, if the video is bad, it’s going to be made fun of and if you have an amazing video and the song is horrible, people are going to be thinking “what’s going on” and insult the artist and the director. They both have to hit right.”