Sam Lao Talks Grenade, Missy Elliot and The Journey To Success

Top of our site’s playlist for a reason, Sam Lao is something special. After her release of ‘Grenade’ earlier last month, covered here, she’s been all kinds of busy with the tsunami of love that the song received – and rightly so.

Artistically constructed videos and two SXSW showcases in her portfolio, she’s got more than enough skill to hang with the best of them in the hip hop scene and I’m telling you, she’s got a world of success headed for her.

Recently at Babes Fest along with a whole host of other talented musicians from Femina-X to The Reputations, she certainly holds her own and it’s very quickly turning her into a hot commodity on the DFW stage.

Happily, she had a minute to speak to us about how she got to where she is.

I know with Grenade, I get very much Missy Elliot vibes – was there any reason you resonated with her style for that video?

When I first heard the beat for Grenade, before I even wrote any lyrics it felt very 90’s, early 2000’s. It made me think of Timbaland and Missy Elliot and Missy has always been one of my favorite artists. She’s not just a great female artist she is a great artist period. Her visuals are especially iconic and I wanted to pay homage to that.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned during your journey, whether that’s about yourself or about the industry or even something more generalized?

The most important thing that I’ve learned and I still have to remind myself of this often is – there are no rules. It’s so easy to fall into the mindset of “If I do this, this and this I’ll get this result.” But that’s not the case, not when it comes to the arts and especially not in this age of the internet and society that we live in now.

What would your advice be to little girls and boys who aspire to be like you one day?

THERE ARE NO RULES. Learn the foundation, respect the craft and those that came before you but past that carve your own lane. Don’t get caught up with how whoever did it first got where you want to be, their path is not yours and their blueprint will only take you so far. Don’t be afraid to do something in a way that’s never been done. Be you unapologetically.

Are there any aspects of this career that you don’t like?

That there are no rules, everything is a gamble. Something that worked for someone else may or may not work for you. This industry is so fickle you never really know if what you’re doing is going to work.

What was your biggest motivator in your journey?

The joy of creating something new and having other people love it and identify with it.

Author: Megan Matthews

Alesia Lani Brings the Soul

Alesia Lani has straight-up been killing it lately. The sultry songstress made an amazing First Impression in 2015 with a Top 10 album and consecutive Austin Hip Hop Awards for “Best R&B Artist”. She’s strutted her soulful sensuality all over the festival circuit at SXSW, Pecan Street and most recently Solstice. Her captivating performance at 35 Denton was considered one of the event’s major highlights and excitement continues to build for Saturday’s Babes Fest show at Empire Control Room. Last month, Lani dropped ‘Intentions’, the riveting new single off her highly-anticipated sophomore project due out this fall and also appeared in longtime friend Tomar and the FCs’ recent video ‘Shine Your Light’. It seems we just can’t get enough of this vivacious vocalist.


We caught up with Alesia Lani to hear more about Babes Fest, her new single and some of her personal influences. Check out the interview below.

You’ll be performing two nights in a row at Empire with Babes Fest on Saturday and then opening for the Ohio Players on the 30th. How does that honor feel?

Gosh I feel so special!!! It’s so accomplishing really. Since Boss Babes started I just love the movement and all. So, it’s always a joy to be apart of that. But, opening for the legendary Ohio Players is just crazy!! When I told my mom (who’s musical choices molded me) she damn near cried!!

Your latest single “Intentions” has been received very well since its release. How was working with G-Jet and were you able to learn anything during the production process you may not have previously considered?

I love this song!! What’s so different and what I’ve learned while working on this song is the whole first verse and idea was from one of the producers!! That was the first time I actually collaborated with another writer & actually something I’ve always wanted to do!! I’ve always wrote my own songs but I like picking other people’s brains too!

How was that experience working with Tomar and the FCs?

It was so fun!! I’ve know the Williams since I was in elementary school so they are basically like family to me!!! It was so organic!

What are your thoughts on Austin’s evolving R&B/Soul scene and its future?

I love how much me and other R&B singers here in Austin are raising more awareness and existence. Like “hey, R&B is not dead y’all.” It might not be as trendy as rap and other genres but it’s definitely influential and I don’t want other artists and fans to forget that.

How do you feel you’ve grown since First Impression?

Wow! I fell like I’ve grown so much just as a person, a woman in all aspects…especially musically. My writing has evolved and my sound has broadened!

In honor of Babes Fest, who are some of the local ladies that have helped you during your young career?

My vocal coach Odessey Francis, she’s like my backbone. Her teaching methods are so flexible and she’s always teaching me something new. My best friend Alisha Ronez is now a co-manager of a popular rapper named Insomniac Lambs…she’s always believed in me and pushed me to go for what I know… also Nubia Emmon, Anastasia, Chakeeta B, Staci Russell.. man I can go on!! Lol

With your second album right around the corner what do you hope the near-future has in store?

What any artist would want!! Genuine success!! I’ve never toured on my own, that would be really dope!! And just reaching more of my goals like playing ACL and Blues on the Green & hitting more bigger and cooler festivals!!

Check out Alesia Lani’s hot new single ‘Intentions‘ below.

Catch Alesia Lani at Empire Control Room during Babes Fest on July 29 and opening for Ohio Players on July 30. Tickets can be purchased here and here

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