Interview with LOZEN
“Hey Volatile team, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for taking the time to craft this interview and allowing me the opportunity to share my voice with the world on your platform. Infinite love and blessings, Lo.”
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Dance was a real catalyst. At the age of 4, I was enrolled in an academy and studied traditional forms, ballet, jazz, modern, broadway etc. but I fell in love with street dance. Crazy Smooth (Yvon Soglo) — the founder of Bboyizm — had a huge impact. He really took me under his wing and taught me the foundation of break. This led me to training several days a week alongside some pioneers like Universal Will (William Paul) and Buddha (Stephen Leafloor) from the Canadian Floormasters.
I’m a creative at heart that works in a lot of different mediums. Visual arts were also a big part of my identity growing up. I was always drawing or painting and even developed my own film and pictures in a dark room. My mom taught me how to sew too, which lent itself to fashion, customizing my clothes and making my own jewelry.
I’m still doing all this today in a sense, designing album covers, video treatments, and merch among other things. I hand-press vinyl transfers for snapback lids and hand-bead wooden necklaces I craft from home. You can find these through my website in the charity shop I launched (lozenmusic.com/shop). A portion of the proceeds goes to support various causes that resonate with me.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I nerd out on consciousness-expanding stuff. I’m fascinated by energy and its effects on the human experience. After going through what I can only describe as a dark night of the soul, the whole conceptual framework of my life collapsed. I contemplated leaving my music career altogether. I was at a crossroads, questioning if it was aligned with my higher self and calling.
There’s an old narrative that says, “you can't lead a spiritual life while living in a materialistic society”. For me, the broader perspective is that we came all came into this earth classroom to experience the world through our senses. This doesn’t negate our non-physical existence or connection with source, it complements.
The industry can be a lot of smoke and mirrors. Personally, the most important thing is being real with myself. Totally honest. Digging deeper beyond the superficial tends to be somewhat of an excavation process, which is what fueled the creation of my Goal Digger album and founding my own label Soul Path Records.
How long have you been making music?
20+ years now. It started with poetry as a teenager, I was always writing and journaling. The first legit songs I had in terms of actual chord progressions, hooks and verses etc. were more acoustic folk or bluesy in style. I think it’s probably because genre-wise that’s the music of my parents’ era and what I heard playing in the house growing up.
When I really started getting down with rap though and finding my voice, I’d freestyle to random instrumentals and jot down rhymes. I’m somewhat of a mutt of an artist, with a multi-faceted background that continues to evolve. I don’t release or share everything I make unless I feel called to, but I do take risks and explore new ways of doing things. It pushes me to expand and get out of my comfort zone.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m based out of Vancouver now, but I’m still a newbie to the hood. I would say the balance between mountain and city life has a big influence. I spend a lot of time indoors working on music and business stuff, so getting outside is especially important. The west coast has this beautiful hybrid vibe to it.
Sometimes I’ll go for nature walks around my area, or random adventures when I feel inspired to get up and go, or I’ll just lie on the grass in my backyard in Savasana (corpse pose in yoga). It’s the most restorative posture that most practices end with.
I receive a lot of messages from spirit and song ideas when I’m “being” without any expectations. I think it’s because I’m in a state of allowing and not focusing on making it happen, so the receiving mode comes easier that way.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
Shambhala 2010, The Village Stage. This wasn’t the show itself, so much as everything leading up to that experience. I moved to Whistler, BC from my hometown of Aylmer, QC a few years earlier, it wasn’t the plan, it just sort of happened. My pops would send me CDs in the mail of videos and music and other content. They were mostly burned, and I remember passing over one called “The Secret” several times. One day, I decided to check it.
Essentially, it’s about the law of attraction, which I had heard about before, but never so clearly. I decided to test it out myself. I didn’t really know much about Shambhala and hadn’t been to any festivals out west yet, let alone perform at one.
I wrote it down on piece of paper and just put it out into the ether. I’d look at it in the morning and before bed, but really didn’t put much thought into it because I wasn’t really attached to the outcome. Then one day, I got a random friend request on Facebook. At the time, this didn’t happen often. It was Della Kit FKA Erica Dee.
I looked at her profile and saw that she was a booking agent for Shambhala’s Hip Hop Showcase at The Village Stage. Ain’t life grand? I have so many stories like this, it’s truly magical how everything can come together if we just get out of our own way and allow the universe to deliver.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Back in my Whistler days, I used to host the infamous Full Moon parties. These would happen on crown land with a rinse of electronic DJs in the scene. They were all night raves with hundreds of people and music bumping past sunrise. The energy there was off the charts.
I think it was something people were really craving. A release from the same old same old Top 40 nights or what have you. We’d get a lot of peeps that would roll in from after the club that were looking for an after-party, but it was more than that. Something very primal. This urge to celebrate with community and nature.
What was so crazy about it to me was that this was all underground. Nothing was promoted publicly because the municipality or the cops would shut it down or be looking for a cash grab, licenses, security, and all that kind of red tape. The thing is no one was doing it for the money. I didn’t even get paid. The cover was $5 to help cover expenses, sound gear, lighting, generators, gas, etc. We’d pass around garbage bags an everyone would help. No one was better than anyone, everyone got it. Leave no trace. Respect the land and each other.
In terms of performance, it also gave me an opportunity to work on my emcee chops. For the most part, I’d just be freestyling. Sometimes I’d be able to pepper in some of my instrumentals with a DJ but it really taught me how to listen for those pockets and not step over the music or any vocals.
In terms of where I’m at now, I want to play more eclectic venues that can showcase my artistry and genre-fluid spectrum. I’m a singer-songwriter who plays unplugged ballads on a 6-string, but also very golden-era in terms of my rap style and because I’ve been steeped in electronic music since my first rave at 16, electronic remixes have become a part of my craft as well.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Sonreal has been a big source of inspiration. It’s been really dope watching the development of his music and career. The Aaron LP he put out with songs he wrote on his acoustic (after he’d only been playing guitar for a couple years) lit the fire under my ass to the same. Also, he’s hella jokes. I love his viddies and the whole team just feels aligned with my vibes. His DJ Rich-A and I met over a decade ago and we spent a lot of time throwing down at the same clubs. He’s a real one.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Surround yourself with people that inspire you and are doing the things that you want to do. Be around those that are supportive. The ones that want to see you grow and succeed. Cooperation not competition. Leave your ego at the door but also remember that you have things to offer no matter where you are on your journey. We all have things we can learn from each other; relationships are symbiotic.
I think to my younger self I would say just do it. Don’t wait. Be brave. Have more courage. Trust in your abilities. Stop playing small or comparing yourself to others. Focus on your wins. Share your gifts with the world (this is advice present me can also benefit from).
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
That’s kind of like picking a fave child. I’m only a plant mom in this life, but every song in unique in their own way. From a sentimentality aspect, I recently wrote a track called “Reunited” that is kind of bittersweet. I still get choked up when I sing or hear it (still unreleased). It was one of the most challenging songs for me to write.
Originally it was called “Wounded Man”, about a romantic relationship that had ended. So abrupt. So many tears. It became this feedback loop of pain every time I’d work on it. My heart was aching. I remember as I was writing it thinking, “maybe you’re the one who’s wounded”. Trigger central.
It made me reflect on how we are all mirrors of each other. I saw myself in him. I saw how I had pushed people away or ran out of fear. How I never really let anyone get too close, keeping everyone at arm’s length. I saw how the narrative I was singing, our song, wasn’t the whole truth or the story I wanted to embody. Words cast spells — that's why it's called SPELLING. Words are energy — use wisely.
As an exercise, I decided to focus on all the positive aspects. The intense soul connection that brought us together, the deep bond we shared, the affection, the tenderness, really all the emotions that lit me up inside. It shifted the energy so quickly and this beautiful love song began to emerge.
And guess what? We reunited. Plot twist: we separated again. But I don’t regret a thing. I learned so much about myself throughout the process and it really brought up things I had been carpet sweeping for some time. It taught me the value of self-worth, setting healthy boundaries, and the importance of letting go.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Hands down, “Ladies World feat. Skulastic & Benzosa”. I remember watching Much Music and MTV as kid thinking the people on it were superheroes. I idolized them. Women in rap like TLC, Salt-N-Peppa, Missy Elliot, Eve, Aaliyah, Mary J Blige, Foxy Brown, Rah Digga…they were so inspiring.
I saw them using their talents to spread a message, but also, they all had their own unique style. I’ve always danced to the beat of my own drum and come from a long lineage of strong women. My mother taught me to be independent and stand up for what I believe in, even in the face of adversity.
Despite being in the biz for years, I realized I had never paid homage to the pioneers that paved the way. The industry is still very much a boy’s club, and it can be challenging to cut through the noise and be heard as a female.
Often, we’re depicted as ornaments in videos…arm candy, tits and ass, disposable commodities. All “me too” moments I’ve experienced aside — and there have been many — I feel that I have a responsibility to myself and the next movers and shakers to be more than that.
Don’t get it twisted though. Yes, the sisterhood is real but so are its male allies. Produced by Vago, the beat allowed us to bring our individual rhyming flavors to the table, in a holistic way.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
When it comes to my songs, you’re essentially listening to my diary. The things that are happening in my life, whatever I’m going through at the time, that’s what comes through. I’ve learned that although creativity is a muscle that can be exercised, inspiration is not something that can be forced.
A big theme that remains constant is the balance between discipline and freedom. I meditate, practice yoga, exercise regularly, and eat healthy but also understand the importance of playtime. l do my best to take care of myself by deliberately curating my life, and cultivating an environment that supports my wellness.
This goes for music too. I show up for myself. Sometimes I show up to create and it’s like pushing a noodle, where I’m “efforting” or “trying too hard”. Other times I’m in the zone and ideas just come. I get a lot of random ideas, lyrics, melodies, and chord progression that come through when I’m not setting the intention. This is usually the best stuff because my channels are just naturally wide open. When I get the urge, I’ll put it in my phone as a note or a voice memo.
A practice I’ve started doing that’s been a valuable tool in the process is hitting record as I’m working on something, kind of like the fly on the wall. No pressure. Just set it and forget it. When I listen back, I know when I’ve “caught something”. A keeper worth revisiting.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
Everything is energy. I think deep down we know what’s aligned with our true north, our higher self, and what isn’t. My music has really changed over the years because I have. I’m not the same person I was yesterday, let alone who I was when I first started releasing tunes. In a sense, it’s a never-ending metamorphosis.
Messages at the core are ones of self-realization. As a microcosm, it starts with having more compassion for myself. Being my own best friend. Talking to lil Lo (my inner child) and listening with curiosity. Taking inventory of what she says and how she feels, then honoring the revelations with insightful actions. Leading by example, while having a beginner’s mind. This ultimately has a ripple effect and is extended to others.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I’ve been in hermit mode for most of the year working on a new album with Kemo (Rascalz/Vanguards Music). Back in the day I used to write a song then take it the studio, and that tune would end up on the record. This time around, I’ve let a lot of them go. Full on scrapped. At least, for now.
Initially, my goal was to develop demo songs which stemmed from ideas I had already begun writing. As the project unfolded, I was flooded with inspiration and guided to make new songs while the creativity was ripe. So, as it stands now, I have bunch more that are still in the gestation stages.
Electronic remixes are on the way, starting with a Ragga Jungle version of “Something Bout Chu”, the first single off the album. I’m also exploring different live show formats: DJ/MC, stripped back acoustic unplugged, full band etc. so I can express my diverse tastes with diverse audiences.
I’ve got a bunch of viddy concepts too, one that’s already been shot and in the editing phases, and others that are still taking shape. Most of this is all happening behind the scenes, with no official release date yet.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
To all my fans out there — new and old — thank you. Beyond words. Every follow/like/share/comment/listen/view is an energetic exchange between us, and it doesn’t go unnoticed. You stoke the fire in my soul.
In terms of streaming, I’d love to have you on my Spotify squaddy. Seems to be the industry staple now. Pre-saving tunes are clutch for the algorithms to get songs playlisted and picked up. People do have power, I believe that. So, by taking that second to click “follow” and then tapping that “pre-save” feature when I put music out, it’s priceless. Doesn’t cost you a thing as a listener, but for me as an artist, it’s everything.
For socials, IG and FB are my go-to’s, but I do occasionally go off the grid and take breaks. I’ll post to let everyone know and have auto-reply set up for DMs. I’m not ghosting, just doing me. Sometimes I check out to check in with myself. Do you feel me?
For real, my phone lives on moon mode unless I have a meeting or I’m expecting a call. I also have my notifications turned off and am known to go full-on airplane too. It’s how I find balance and stay present.
For now, you can find me on these platforms and if we haven’t yet, maybe one day we’ll meet in the flesh: