SHōTA LōDI Interview: Introducing Acoustic Neo Soul Meets Pop Singer-Songwriter

One listen to singer-songwriter SHōTA LōDI and you’ll be hooked. His rhythmic beats, groove-inducing vocals and soulful pop sounds that are ready for the mainstream are absolutely infectious — and to think that the 24-year-old only started singing five years ago?

Lōdi seems to be a child of the world, and his diverse upbringing and eclectic taste in music shows through his work. Born to Japanese and Italian parents in Las Vegas, Lōdi moved to Japan, Los Angeles, New York, Arizona and then went to an arts boarding high school in Michigan all before the age of 18.

“I moved to Japan when I turned 18 with no direction,” Lōdi said. “I got my first paycheck, bought a guitar, bought a mic and got obsessed with it.”

SHōTA LōDI live at The Peppermint Club in Los Angeles, CA. 2/27/2018. (Photo: Rachel Ann Cauilan | @rachelcansea)

Lōdi’s music is driven by young, unrequited love. Reminiscent of Ed Sheeran meets John Mayer, his warm voice sits perfectly on upbeat acoustic-driven tracks like “So Good” where his strong affections for another girl shine through his tasteful lyrics (“It’s more than just physical / God made it biblical / I promise that I will make you scream”).

His latest release “Time Was On Our Side (Grey Beanie Original Mix)” tells of the immediate affection and chemistry he felt with another girl. “We’re just two strangers passing through our lives / We’re not too different we found that out tonight,” he sings. “I want you to know before we say goodbye / I wish time was on our side.”

For his first gig of the new year at Los Angeles’ The Peppermint Club last Tuesday night, Lōdi spoke with me about his musical upbringing, playing in Japan and Los Angeles and what’s to come next from Shōta Lōdi.

Tell me how you got your start in music.

My dad taught me piano and I was a serious clarinetist for 12 years. I wanted to go to Juilliard and went to Interlochen Center for the Arts, which is like the Juilliard of high schools. My senior year during audition week, I went to all these conservatories and someone stole my Tosca clarinet. I got sad and depressed [but] I think it was meant to be stolen. I stopped doing classical music because at the end of the day, I realized I was covering Mozart, Bach and trying to make the best of what Beethoven wrote hundreds of years ago. I moved to Japan with no direction, I got my first paycheck, bought a guitar, bought a mic, and just got obsessed with playing.

You mentioned you didn’t grow up singing. How did you develop your voice?

I started singing when I was 19. I’m 24 now. I bought the guitar and the mic and I thought I was an amazing singer. I recorded myself for the first time and was like, “No, that’s not what I sound like.” I always practiced with the mic on so I could hear it back and I was my own teacher. I started vocal lessons two months ago and now I’m starting to unlock things.

I want to talk about your new single, “Time Was On Our Side (Grey Beanie Original Mix).” How did that come about?

I wrote it first as the original Grey Beanie Original Mix [The Golden Pony heard the vocals and asked to remix it as “Time Was On Our Side”]. That song happened when I met a girl out in Thailand. She had a grey beanie and that’s the only thing I could think about. We were listening to this song by LANY called “ILYSB” and I took those same chords because she loved it so much, changed it a bit and used that as the inspiration because that’s her favorite song. “I saw your grey beanie under the neon lights / Once we said hello you never lost my sight.” After that, I had to leave back to America for a few weeks. The chemistry was there. The fire was there. Everything was there but the timing.

If you see in the album artwork, that’s her. She’s a model and when she was out in Los Angeles a few years ago, someone painted a mural of her. I was walking out of the movie theater one day and I see her face and I was like, “I cannot escape this girl!” I was smitten.

I also want to talk about “Party Girl,” because I am in love with that song. I know it hit #1 in Japan and you have four remixes of it by *Groovy workshop. How did the birth of that song happen?

*Groovy workshop. saw me do an acoustic live set in Japan and were like, “Hey, we really like your voice, can we send you some tracks and you write to it?” EDM is not really me, but I wrote to it.

The song is when I just left Tokyo. My friends are really rich in Japan and we’d get VIP tables and pay like $500 for a table, and these girls who don’t pay anything would sit next to me and be like, “Can you move for a selfie?” That’s why I say, “Fear of missing out really got her by the throat / So she’s skipping all the lines ’cause underneath her coat / She know that she got all the boys / They fill up her cup as she toys with them.” It’s just about that deceiving girl that, at the end of it and as the song progresses, she’s unhappy.

You’ve been working with a lot of producers and making electronic remixes of songs. How is that whole process for you?

I will be featured on a track any day. It’s fun and a really big perk for me. I have so much happening in my brain that I can’t really focus on the vocal, and those songs without the guitar where I can really focus are so much better for me. Eventually I wanna be that guy where I’ll sing songs most of the times, and then I’ll bring out a guitar and in that moment it’s so special. You get that intimate moment.

How would you describe what you typically like to write about?

It’s always been about unrequited love. When I first started writing, relationships and chasing what I thought was the right girl consumed me. Now I’m stepping away from that and getting different inspirations from being in Los Angeles, having new friends and experiences. My last EP Out Of The Blur is more emo compared to where my vibes are at now.

You’ve been in Los Angeles for three years now. What’s one of the most important things you’ve learned as a young artist?

One thing I’ve learned is I have to follow my gut on something. There’s a lot of executive decisions and there’s a reason I’m an artist and someone else is in that chair. Artistically, I need my freedom. If you’re signed to something and you don’t have creative control or artistic freedom then there’s no point in doing music — that is the reason I do music because I don’t follow rules.

I love being up there onstage and having those moments where, whatever kind of God or enlightenment or moments people have, I swear that’s when I find it [up there]. I start, I blink, it’s over — and if that’s not complete bliss, then I don’t know what is.

What can we look forward to next from SHōTA LōDI?

I have my new single “Time Was On Our Side (Grey Beanie Original Mix).” I’m now working on my brand new EP and it’s going to be a whole new Shōta — songs like “18,” which haven’t been released yet. EP, more tours and rocking it.

Keep up with SHōTA LōDI online at shotalodi.com or on FacebookInstagramTwitterYouTube and Spotify.

 

One response to “SHōTA LōDI Interview: Introducing Acoustic Neo Soul Meets Pop Singer-Songwriter

  1. Pingback: Twentyfive | beauty within·

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