This next edition of One-On-1 features a singer songwriter that I’ve been a fan of for a while, Lavance Colley! At only 27-years-old Lavance is already doing big things in the music industry! He is currently in Japan performing and working on an upcoming project, and he‘s not slowing down anytime soon! Check out this edition of One-on-1 with Lavance Colley!
Hey Lavance!!!! I’m so excited to have you! I’ve been a fan of yours for a while now! I have a lot of questions for you! So for starters, How long have you been in the music business and what inspired you to start?
Well Arionna, It’s sometimes hard for me to say. I have been singing since the age of three. My nickname as a child was screamer. My mother said that I was always screaming and singing, so she decided to nickname me that, lol! As I got older I would always sing in my church, school choirs, and talent competitions. I can even remember the first time I sang in public at my middle school. It was the theme song to the movie "Sister Act." I sung "I will Follow Him." Lol. I remember hitting high notes! People were coming up to me and my mother after the show telling us how great of a job I did. As I got older I continued to sing. When I turned 18-years-old I got a gig singing backup for Chante Moore and Kenny Lattimore. That opened up a lot of doors for me. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I am so thankful to have had my BIG start singing professionally with them. They really taught me a lot about work ethics and what it really takes to make it in the music industry. So I guess I started singing professionally at age 18. Lol! But, the inspiration to continue singing until I got my first BIG gig came from my mother, Louise Colley. She is a singer as well, and I got every ounce of my talent from her. I remember in church I would sing and always be ALL over the place with my vocals. She would always tell me what I was doing wrong. At the time I hated her advice because I thought she was always judging me. But, I didn't realize until later that she only wanted me to be a better singer. I had pretty much been getting free vocal lessons for over 18 years and they paid off big time! I love my mother so much and I thank God everyday for her. I am sure without her teachings I wouldn't have been as good of a singer. I still sometimes get vocal notes from her and I take them humbly now, lol. Also, what inspired me to start singing professionally was when I did praise and worship at church. I loved being on stage singing, when I would sing I'd forget about my problems. I felt safe, free, and with God. I guess I would say God put this inspiration in my heart. I was always self motivated and determined to sing, and I feel lucky that I knew what my purpose was at such a young age. I know there are many people my age that still don't know what their purpose in life is, but I always just knew I was going to be a singer.
You can always tell by the quality of the music whether the Artist is passionate or not, and I definitely feel the passion in your music. I know that you write your own music, what is the process behind it?
Yes, I do write my own music. I like to write music according to what I feel the track is saying. When I get a track I like to just play the music over and over until I have the music completely inside my mind. Then the creative juices start to flow and I write what I feel with the music. In a way I let the music tell me what to write. Now when I don't have a track to write to I write in a journal. Sometimes it will be about things that are going on in my life and at other times its just about random thoughts in my head. I then go back and look at what I wrote and turn it into a song, or sometimes it just stays there in my journal unused. I feel like the mood for writing has to be one that is natural and free feeling. Sometimes I will dim the lights and burn some candles just to put me in a relaxed and opened mood-and just let whatever I feel come out of me onto paper. This process for me is almost therapeutic and after my writing is done I feel like I have let go of any problems I had from the day. Writing helps me express my emotions. I feel that its very important to be able to write your own music, especially with the way the industry is now-with everyone just being a one hit wonder pop star who's completely produced and manufactured by record companies. When you write your own music, I feel, that you truly become an individual and people will love and respect you more.
Absolutely. How does your family feel about your decision to pursue music? Do you have a strong support system?
Oh yes sweetie. My family supports me to the fullest. I don't think that I would have made it this far if it wasn't for my family. I remember when I was in high school I joined the ROTC program for about 1 year, and I was literally going to join the NAVY after enrolling in that class. An officer from the NAVY base came to my school and gave me some brochures to look at, I took them home to show my Mother, she strongly urged me NOT to join the NAVY. She said that I was to be a singer and shouldn't waste the gift that God gave me! I know this might sound like she was forcing me to do what she wanted for my life, but I believe that she knew that God wanted me to sing. I am so glad that once again I listened to her. Like I said before everything happens for a reason, and if I had joined the NAVY I wouldn't have ever meet Kenny and Chante, and the domino affect of that wouldn't have ever happened, I wouldn't be who I am today. I am so grateful to have a family that supports and loves me. They root for me and have by back in every situation.
Wow, the Navy? You ended up on a completely different path (lol). It’s great that you have a family that backs whatever decisions you make. I’ve noticed that you sing a lot of Gospel songs, what role does God play in your life?
God plays a BIG role in my life. I grew up in church and have always been a very spiritual person. I have always wanted to please God, and I am a big believer that when a person uses their God-given gifts to its fullest potential, God is very pleased. Doesn't matter if your singing gospel or R&B or whatever genre you like. Use your unique qualities to the max and your life will be filled with happiness. I thank God everyday for the gift that I was given. I don't abuse it but love it, respect it, and take care of it. By doing that I feel I am showing God how much I appreciate him for my special gift.
That’s an awesome answer! I love asking that question (lol). So Lavance, what has been the greatest moment of your career thus far?
I would say that the greatest moment I have had so far is when I made the conscious decision to really start taking my career EXTREMELY serious. About a year ago I was in a place in my life that I didn't know what was next for me in my musical career. I was pretty much at a stand still and I really didn't know what I was going to do. I knew I could get gigs, but I wanted to make sure that everything I was doing was to help better me and my goals that I have for myself, and not just take a gig for the money. Don't get me wrong sometimes people have to do things they necessarily don't want to do, that’s life! But I felt like I was just wondering around aimlessly doing whatever with no ideal of where I was headed. It took me having to take some really crappy gigs and getting hurt emotionally, and physically by them to understand my self worth and that God had way BIGGER plans for me then what I was doing at the time. Lol! I had to learn the hard way. But now I truly feel like I am in complete control of my career and I know what direction to take in getting what I want in life. I can finally see myself in the drivers seat, I can see the destination, and it is so very close.
That’s great, I’m happy for you! And as a fan, I’m glad that you’re going full force with your music, simply because I enjoy it so much! (lol) Who inspires and motivates you in your personal life, and your music as well?
When I was a kid I use to idolized Karen Clark Sheard. I used to study every single riff and run she ever did, lol. That would drive my mother crazy! Lol. I was always screaming in the house trying to growl and sing high and stuff, lol. I remember listening to her in my room for hours at a time and watching her "Finally Karen" VHS tape over and over. Wow VHS tapes, lol. At the time it was my only motivation. But as I got older listening to all types of music became my big motivation. I am very eclectic when it comes to music, so I can just sit in my room all day and just listen to every style of music I have in my collection. I am talking about genres from Celtic, to Alternative, to Gospel, to folk, to Jazz. Sometimes I just put my iTunes on shuffle and just let myself be surprised. I think that by listening to all these different styles of music I then was able to create my own style of music. Its kind of like the more you know, the more you have to pull from. That’s what inspires my music. Now when it comes to my personal life, I have a lot of great friends who love and support me and give me sound advice. Some of my friends are even singing now with people from Diana Ross to Mary J. Blige. So if I ever have concerns about my music I can always call them at anytime and they will help me. Also, when I have extra time on my hands I love to read spiritual self help books, they really give me a boost when I am feeling down and lonely even. I think that true motivation must come from ones own self, because if you depend on someone else to motivate you, and they then let you down you loose that motivation. Once I really learned that lesson my life changed for the better.
I must say, I feel inspired just from listening to you speak! You’re absolutely right, ultimately you have to motivate yourself. I appreciate that you’re music taste is so eclectic, if given the chance which Artists would you like to collaborate with?
WOW…that is a tough question. There are so many artists I would love to work with. But one that pops in my head is Janelle Monae. When I first heard her album I fell in love with every song. Her music is like a mixture of Alternative, Funk, R&B and folk. I feel like my music will have that same type of feel to it. You won’t really know what genre I am in, but it will sound pretty damn good. Lol! I have watched a few interviews on Monae and she seems like a very sweet and humble person. Yeah… it would definitely be Janelle Monae. I would love to work with her, "Tight Rope" is my jam! lol
(Lol) The first time I saw her perform, I loved her energy! She’s so animated and she really draws you in. You two would make an awesome track! I can’t believe it, but this is actually that last question that I have for you. The big one! (Lol) What is your greatest ambition?
Hmmm…well. My greatest ambition would be to finally get signed with a major record label and make great music and a big name for myself. Also, I am very interested in doing Broadway Shows like the Lion King, or The Color Purple. I have always had a love for singing and acting onstage. I have plans to one day be in a major Broadway show so who knows, maybe you might see me in New York in a show someday very soon….
Make sure you get me a ticket when it happens! (Lol) Thank you so much for speaking with me Lavance! Like I said, I’ve been a fan for a long time and this is truly an honor! Everybody, make sure you connect with Lavance on all of his social networks!