In March, Spotify launched our global emerging-artist program, RADAR, to help artists across all stages of their career use the strength of our platform to deepen connections to their audiences. We recently doubled down on that commitment by launching the RADAR Global Hub, and today we’re continuing to expand RADAR in the U.S. through our newest partnership with teenage hip-hop artist The Kid LAROI.
The 17-year-old rapper, born Charlton Howard, is proving that for the rising generation filled with promising talent, yesterday’s borders are no longer barriers. LAROI was born in Sydney to a mother of Aboriginal descent and a French father, and grew up with his mother and uncle. He was always listening to America’s adored exports (e.g., hip-hop and R&B) and was especially passionate about icons like Tupac, Erykah Badu, The Fugees, Lil Wayne, and Kanye West.
After the tragic death of his uncle in 2015, LAROI and his mother moved into a housing project. To overcome his despair, LAROI honed his music, filling notebooks with rhymes and fine-tuning his lyricism and flow. It wasn’t until he started uploading freestyle videos did he begin to amass an audience to tell his stories to.
Now LA-based, The Kid LAROI has a staggering 11 million monthly listeners on Spotify, and his name adorns some of Spotify’s most popular playlists, including RapCaviar, Pop Rising, Most Necessary, Internet People, Tear Drop, Hot Rhythmic, and more. LAROI has also cultivated collaborations with leading artists across all genres, including Marshmello, Lil Tecca, Lil Tjay, Lil Mosey, Internet Money, and the late Juice WRLD. His steady stream of hallmark tracks this year are just the beginning, with highly anticipated projects set to release this fall.
“The Kid LAROI is an artist we’ve been watching closely for the last eighteen months,” says Ned Monahan, Spotify’s Head of Global Hits. “LAROI developed a rabid fan base in Australia and then translated it to an even bigger audience in the U.S., which is incredibly rare and speaks to his potential as a global hit maker. The vulnerability and boldness of his music places him at the heart of young music audiences across the world. We can’t wait to see LAROI break on a superstar level.”
As a RADAR artist, LAROI will be featured on our RADAR playlist, he’ll create a Spotify Singles recording, and he’ll receive promotional support for his upcoming releases. The Kid LAROI’s campaign will also include a forthcoming mini-documentary to premiere later this November.
We caught up with the newly anointed RADAR U.S. artist for an inside look at his plans for 2020 and beyond.
At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to pursue a musical career? What was your first step in making it happen?
Right from the start, honestly. Some of my earliest memories involve music. The first step is actually doing it. You can only do so much planning before it’s time to execute. I was already writing and recording when I could, so getting that studio experience early on was pivotal.
You have been very open about Juice WRLD’s being your mentor. How did that relationship influence your creative process? What memories do you have from touring together?
My biggest memories from Juice is how he always went all out for his fans no matter what while on tour. Regardless of how he was feeling that day or if he wasn’t having the best day, you couldn’t tell once he got onstage, and that’s how I want to be. You have to put the fans first because we wouldn’t be here without them. Working with him definitely expanded my creativity and increased my love for making music.
What are you looking forward to as Spotify’s new U.S. RADAR artist?
Everything. Looking forward to seeing how the fans receive everything. The family’s growing stronger and stronger every day.
How has growing up in Australia influenced your perspective and work ethic as an artist? What has that journey been like transitioning into (and now gaining recognition in) the U.S. market?
My upbringing really just made me a go-getter. It implanted the work ethic that got me to where I am now. The journey has been fun and challenging so far. Quarantine has kind of slowed things down a bit as far as going out and actually doing shows, but even so it’s been worth it. The transition was made much easier because of my team around me. They make sure I’m always comfortable and at home.
What’s one thing you’d want aspiring artists to know?
Things might not go according to plan to start off, but never give up chasing your dreams.