Meet Trevor Lanier, an Artist Handpicked by Pusha-T

"You don’t really know who’s watching or how big of an impact you’re making until something like this happens."
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Trevor Lanier, 2018

Trevor Lanier will not go to Los Angeles unless you fly him out and pay him to hit the studio. What began as a joking mantra between friends suddenly became Lanier's manifested reality when he was tapped by 1800 Tequila and Pusha-T to be one of 10 artists handpicked for the 1800 Seconds album. 

"That’s a hard thing to put into words, honestly," he says of the opportunity. "It kinda means everything, for an artist like me doing everything on his own on the internet. You don’t really know who’s watching or how big of an impact you’re making until something like this happens. Really, it’s validation for me. Especially from Push [laughs], that’s nuts."

Lanier, for all his excitement and newfound success, is easy to root for. He has a grassroots following that supports him at every turn, and his creative process is humbling and surprisingly human. 

"I got a couple artist friends that I hang out with, and we mesh really well together so I’ll be hanging out in a room with my buddies and we’ll throw out ideas," Lanier explains. "A majority of my music is written in my bedroom by myself, or I go out in my boat where it’s really quiet, turn off my phone, and write down stuff. I like to cancel out the noise of the world and really reflect on what I’m trying to create."

The most important move for Lanier now is to keep doing what he has been doing: cultivating a following off of the strength of his genuine approach.

"Me, personally, I’m not worried about having a viral moment," he proclaims. "I wanna be in this for the long haul. Over the years I’ve been picking up fans slowly, but consistently... I’ve got a project that I’m currently halfway through dropping. I’ve got drops planned out for the next six months. I’m working on a new EP right now, and just gonna keep putting content out."

We'll be waiting, hopefully with an invite to the boat.

DJBooth's full interview with Trevor Lanier, lightly edited for content and clarity, follows below.

DJBoothWhat does it mean to have been handpicked for this record?

Trevor Lanier: That’s a hard thing to put into words, honestly. It kinda means everything, for an artist like me doing everything on his own on the internet. You don’t really know who’s watching or how big of an impact you’re making until something like this happens. Really, it’s validation for me. Especially from Push [laughs], that’s nuts.

What was the vibe like in LA?

When I get to meet everybody in LA, everyone was super friendly, very warm, inviting. If you ever need anything, they’re on it. Things move really fast and it can get confusing, but I never felt like I didn’t know what was going on.

How would you define the energy you bring to the album?

My song is… My fans will know that all the music I made is based off something that really happened to me: real feelings, real experiences. The track I did is basically talking about the whole experience: going to LA, being flown out. I made a claim, a year ago, to a bunch of people that moved to LA that I’m not going to LA until someone pays me to go out there. It’s kinda cool that it actually happened; this was my first time to LA. Really, the energy I bring is I’m flexing. I did what I said I was gonna do.

Greatest lesson learned from this?

Probably to not give up. I’ve been doing this for six years now and never really had anybody out of the industry contact me like this before. The lesson is: just because you aren’t seeing results right away, doesn’t mean things aren’t happening behind the scenes. It doesn’t mean people aren’t watching you. Really it gave me a whole new perspective on my career.

How do you usually create?

There’s two ways that I make music. I got a couple artist friends that I hang out with, and we mesh really well together so I’ll be hanging out in a room with my buddies and we’ll throw out ideas. A majority of my music is written in my bedroom by myself, or I go out in my boat where it’s really quiet, turn off my phone, and write down stuff. I like to cancel out the noise of the world and really reflect on what I’m trying to create.

Is it ever difficult to be by yourself?

It can be, but like I said, I go out on the ocean and that really helps me get away from everybody. I anchor somewhere, play the music on the speakers. If I’m out on the boat, nothing is pulling me away from what I’m doing.

Do you think music is enough anymore, or do you need a viral moment as an artist on the rise?

I think it depends on what the artist is setting out to do. Me, personally, I’m not worried about having a viral moment. I wanna be in this for the long haul. Over the years I’ve bepicking up fans slowly, but consistently. I feel like people like that, when they do make it, they stay longer. Artists that pop off all at once, a lot of times, people forget about you quick because you were a big thing and you can’t keep up with that viral moment. There’s different ways to make it to the top. That’s not necessarily my route, the viral route.

So what’s more important, a major first impression, or working towards a lasting impression?

Working towards a lasting impression, because I’ve had a lot of first impressions of artists and I did not like them. As time goes on, and you see them doing things, that really speaks a lot to me: your ability to last. I’ve changed my opinions on artists that I didn’t like when they first popped off.

How do you plan on using this opportunity to your advantage? What comes next?

I’ve got a project that I’m currently halfway through dropping. I’ve got drops planned out for the next six months. I’m working on a new EP right now, and just gonna keep putting content out.

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