The Gusto Project recently welcomed rapper Laylizzy, to chat about his journey to stardom thus far as well as the challenges of dealing with criticism from artists and fellow countrymen alike.
Edson Abel Jeremias Tchamo aka Laylizzy, entered Johnathan Andrews Studios sporting a few tattoos, a snapback, vest and shades. His style of dress attributed to his laid back and humble persona. Sitting down with Gusto Project host Simphiwe Petros, Laylizzy explained how in addition to rapping he also has a Masters degree in Business Law. He believed his studies to have been of great use when first entering the music industry. During the period in which he was studying, he was doing music simultaneously. This is a clear indication that Laylizzy’s passion for his craft was very much embedded from the beginning. Laylizzy also recollected that he received a lot of backlash from artists of his native Mozambique, for choosing to rap in English as opposed to Portuguese. “I thought I was going to sign to Atlantic or Def Jam” he said with a chuckle. Connecting to one’s audience is a consideration an artist must hold in high regard after all. Today however, Laylizzy mixes between English and Portuguese. It was also acknowledged by Laylizzy that Mozambique, like many African countries has its challenges. It is his intention to be a voice for his people and not simply just an entertainer. Through his music, Laylizzy plans to build a platform/base for those up and coming artists who don’t feel they have a voice. If people pull together then challenges whether social, economic or political can be overcome. As he told CNN during his appearance on African Voices, “I believe in a better Mozambique”.
It was in 2015 that Laylizzy’s single “The Crew” earned him recognition beyond Mozambican borders. “The Crew” won Laylizzy the award for Best Hip Hop Song at the 2015 Mozambique Music Awards. Most recently Laylizzy featured AKA on his single “Hello” which is currently burning up the charts. Although he does not see AKA on a day to day basis, Laylizzy considers him a mentor and friend. In fact, Laylizzy says he was in disbelief at first, upon hearing that AKA wanted to do a collaboration after viewing “The Crew” video. Laylizzy reflected on constantly being told that he would not make it and that he would never achieve what he aspired to achieve. A wannabe rapper from Mozambique, never going to happen, right? Well Laylizzy has achieved everything he set out to and politely reminds those who doubted him, of the fact. When asked by Petros what the future holds, Laylizzy responded “the future looks bright”. One only has to look at the man’s track record. “The future looks bright” is an understatement.
It must not be forgotten that Laylizzy works alongside established producer Ellputo who also hails from Mozambique. Ellputo has collaborated with the likes of DJ Khaled, AKA, DJ Mbuso, Uhuru and Burna Boy. It was in 2010 that Ellputo and Laylizzy (who then went by the name Lay low), formed “Dinheiro Limpo” (Clean Money). In addition, Ellputo has become the first music producer for Geobek Records which is a branch of Geobek Entertainment, which is amongst some of the most successful entertainment companies in Africa. It is under Geobek Records that Laylizzy released the hit singles “Hello” and “The Crew”.
George Beke also plays an integral part at Geobek Entertainment, as he is the company’s A&R specialist. It was in 2014 that Laylizzy and Ellputo visited Beke in South Africa and devised a plan for an expansion of Geobek Entertainment across Africa and beyond. Laylizzy signed for Geobek the following year.
One can only imagine what the future has instore for this young and gifted artist. His talent and work effort have no bounds. Such a persona and state of mind, can only lead to bigger and better opportunities. Laylizzy, The Gusto Project salutes you.
MEDIA APPEARANCES IN SOUTH AFRICA:
KAYA FM interview:
Acesso VIP (Jango Magic):
CNN - African Voices:
Hype Magazine 69 & 70 issues.
Metro FM with Tbo Touch
ETV ShizNiz (Craze).
SABC 1 Fanbase.
ETV Club 808.
Twitter: #HelloLaylizzy @Laylizzy