I got connected with Lloyd Vines a few months ago through a mutual friend (shouts to Kat Emrick!). I was instantly struck by Lloyd’s style: he mixes colors, prints, textures, and styles with confidence and ease. He’s fun and fearless.  

Lloyd is based in New York and is a talented artist, skateboarder + creative whose music defies genres. I would describe it as emo - operatic - southern rap - freestyle - melodic mashup that is both dramatic and carefree. Just go listen. It makes perfect sense that his idol, Saves the Day, would work with him and take him under their wing. 

We smoked a joint and hung out as I took photos of him in some new pieces he vibed with.

Lloyd is a Ziran Muse because he fully embraces his authenticity and individualism while living with love for himself and the world. 

Give us some background! 

I’m from Virginia Beach, which is in southeast Virginia. I was born in Norfolk which is about 15 minutes away from VB depending on what part.

It’s a pretty interesting place to grow up: part navy town, part suburbs. It’s a weird melting pot but wild shit happens out there just like anywhere else. As a kid you really had to seek out what you wanted to be apart of. I was very influenced by my older sister and her friends: growing up they showed me hip hop and fashion of the 90’s in the best way possible. My mom got me Da Brat’s tape and that was my first album. She re-dubbed on another tape and took off all the songs with curse words haha. I was kinda always into some wild shit hanging out with older kids. I knew at a young age I wanted to do something special and important with my life. I knew my siblings and myself had a bit of a different household than the other kids. 

Virginia Beach is like a hood suburb in a way. I feel a lot of things are laid out for you as far as what you should do, or who you’re gonna be (like grade school, college, marriage, babies). Not to offend anyone who chose that path! I think in other bigger cities there’s a culture already in place.

In Virginia it’s almost like anything goes artistically and creatively. We pull from everything and make something special and unique to us. I have a lot of pride for where I come from. 

Who and what inspires you?

People like yourself (Kelly), my parents, Chris Conley, David Bowie, Nas, and my lil brothers and older sisters.

People of real pain and struggle inspire me. 

I’m inspired by people who are doing exactly what they want to do without it being validated by anyone first. I love seeing things manifest that once lived in one’s mind.

My parents probably inspire me the most outside of the musicians and skateboarders I look up to. My parents really showed me how real living can be no matter who you are. The struggle of simply living... not just the circumstances in which one is born, but just being alive is an inspiration! It is fucking hard out here! 

What is your Why?

My passion, using fear to push in a positive direction, and knowing that someone somewhere is seeing and feeling what I’m doing, hoping they will share their gift also. Skateboarding is my main motivation: I can think of a trick, go to a spot, and take that trick out of my mind and start manifesting it. Maybe it’s the 1st try or the 100th, but when I finally roll away I know my wand is still working. Instant gratification through manifestation. 

I know I don’t want to die unhappy and alone. I keep that in mind and practice self love so I can love others properly. I look at the people I admire who put all of themselves out there, and help make the insecure feel secure. 

In your musical journey what are the major lessons you’ve learned?

Learning to take my time, trusting the process, and betting on myself.

For a long time I thought I needed everything except what I have. The last 5 years I realized the main thing is self love and the belief that I have the power to be exactly who I am. I’m learning to be okay with just that.

There’s been so many ups and downs, depression, the good and the bad - all is necessary. It’s a test to see how bad you want to get where you’re going. I’ve wanted to quit so many times but I realized it’s not a hobby or a phase - it’s apart of me. I need music to live. 

I always tell my mom like, “Yeah Mama I’m trying I really am.” She always says, “Nah son you’ve been doing it. You’re not trying anymore, you’re doing it.”

I think we get caught up in thinking nothing we do is enough and that’s not true at all. If you can look back on the last 5 years and see constant flow and progression you’re okay. Just breathe more and keep going. 

How would you describe your style? 

Skateboarding, hip hop, punk rock, high fashion, my Grandma and father. 

You reference the Bull in your music, art, and have it tattooed on your stomach. What’s the significance? 

My grandfather Freddy had a motorcycle club in the 60’s and 70’s called The Virginia Bulls. I’ve been obsessed with my Grandpa since I was a lil kid. 9 years ago, right around this time, my mom gave me one of his patches on the morning I was heading to LA to record my first album. I sewed the patch on a vest and wore it everyday for literally 6 years. So I kinda took this bull as my alter ego. It made perfect sense for me to use it for my brand, my music, everything. My vision is to turn Virginia Bulls into a brand, record label, and charity. 

Tell us what performing with your idol Saves the Day was like.

A literal dream come true! It was wild because it just so happened that the last stop on their tour was in my hometown. Chris called me and told me, “Yo we are putting you on the VB show.” I literally cried. Honestly. Seeing my name next to theirs was pure joy and let me know that I’m on the right track.

Playing that show in my hometown, in front of all my friends, while I grew up going to see Saves, was the best feeling I’ve ever had. Chris and I performed together for my last song on my set. It really came full circle! 

I talked about doing this for the past 18 years! So crazy to me still that it’s happening. We are working on my new album now so can’t wait for everyone to hear that. 

What are you working on now? 

Right now I have a few music videos I’m going to put out before the new year. In December my producer Ced Hughes and myself will be heading back out to Chico, California where Chris from Saves the Day lives and has a studio. 

The new album is called You Can’t Spell Love without LV and I can’t wait to share it with the world!

Ziran means embracing your authenticity, and pushing away outside influence to live natural, spontaneous, and free. How do you vibe with this? What does Ziran mean to you? 

I absolutely identify and live by everything Ziran stands for. It’s crazy to even be connected with you and your brand, it’s such a perfect fit. I believe what we are doing is definitely the harder way, but the feeling of succeeding and knowing you’ve remained true to yourself will make it all worth it. 

Authenticity means everything to me. Hearing the story and seeing the videos behind your brand makes me feel not alone in thinking we can create our own lane in this world.

Keep up with Lloyd: @even.if.ya.not.hot

Words and Photos: Kelly Wang Shanahan, August 2019. Los Angeles.