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Iann Dior is Young and Hungry

A small town local by heart, the 21-year-old artist chats working with Travis Barker and his new life in LA.

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Iann Dior rides a ravenous wave of success alongside a talented group of new-gen, starry-eyed rappers conceived humbly in the depths of Soundcloud. It’s a place that saw the young artist gain overnight success with his first few tracks ‘emotions’, ‘cutthroat’ and ‘romance361’, and also saw the conception of his first mixtape Nothings Ever Good Enough. Since then, in the short span of a year and a half, he’s released his debut album Industry Plant, and also the latest 9-track EP I’m Gone.

It’s a hefty effort, considering his fresh-faced arrival into the LA music scene about a year ago, but he’s proven himself to be a small-town local with a big city mentality. Within two weeks of his move to LA, he had a record deal, and at present, he has worked with the likes of Gunna, Machine Gun Kelly, Trippie Red, Lil Baby and Travis Barker.

In for the long haul, Dior is a young rapper that refuses to brand his music by strict genre, instead placing importance on relaying his own narrative to fans through whatever type of sound he sees fit, similar to one of his major inspirations J.Cole. Though this may be the case, his new EP I’m Gone stands as a formative release for his brand of moody, woozy hip hop exploring themes of young love, new beginnings and figuring things out. We sat down with big-dreamer Iann Dior to talk acclimatizing to LA, genre-bending and working with Blink 182’s Travis Barker.

Hey Iann, how are you?
I’m doing good, how’re you doing?

Yeah, I’m pretty good. So, I know you grew up in Texas and then moved to LA. What was it like growing up in a small Texan town?
Everything was a lot different than LA because there was no traffic and everybody knew each other. I’d grown up there most of my life, so that’s all I was used to. So when I moved to LA, I got a taste of what real life was, you know. 

Did the smallness inspire you and your music?
Yeah definitely, it inspired a lot of my music. When I was back at home there was nothing really to do but make it. So I’d always be locked in, trying to make a new hit. Thinking back, to me those were the funnest times, it’s when we were still trying to figure everything out. I recorded a lot of my music with my best friend. We’d just make all of it in our bedroom because there are no studios down there. There’s pretty much a mall and a beach in Corpus Christi. It was more about what we made it.

I know that your friends asked you to write a song and that’s kind of how you got started. What were you writing before that? Were you writing music?
I would kinda just write little stories that came up in my head and I liked to write poetry as well. My friends pushed me to write a song for the first time and that’s when I really caught on to putting my stories into music. I never really have a particular story in mind though. Whenever I hop in the studio, it kind of just comes to me when I’m listening to the beat, but I write all my music about my life so the stories are really just my life.

So then you left for LA. What were you kinda thinking when you were on the plane? What was going through your head?
Really what was going through my head was a fresh start. I didn’t really like who I was before I moved out here. So that’s why I changed my name. I was just really excited. It was my second time ever going to LA, and I just had the feeling that something crazy was about to happen. 

And what’s it been like? Cause you were signed and you suddenly had millions of fans, has it been what you thought?
It’s been pretty surreal, and yes, most of it. But then the other half, like making music and understanding how everything works, I didn’t really ever know what to expect. So when I moved out here it was just really me learning.

Has it changed the way you make music or what you write about?
Most definitely! I write about my life so as I’m evolving and changing as a person my music is doing the same thing. When I was back at home I was really writing about someone that I cared about in the past but then when I moved out here, there’s just a lot more going in life. So you don’t really think about the things you used to, or that I used to before. You know, cause there’s more life struggle, but there’s also a lot of good things going on in life. So the vibes on my songs have changed since I moved out here, for sure.

I know that when you go into the studio, I read that you kind of just see what happens, you don’t really go for a certain genre.
Yeah, I never have a certain vibe that I’m going for, it’s always whatever the beat brings to me. But I won’t lie, there are certain days that I pick a certain genre that I really want to work on. I don’t know what’s going to come out of it but I know that maybe that day I feel like making rock music, for example.

Speaking of rock, you’ve had Travis Barker on a couple of tracks from Blink 182, are you into that kind of music?
Yeah 100%, me and Travis have really been locking in for my album. I definitely have one song that me and him made that’s probably my favourite song that I’ve ever made. I’m really excited to show you guys that.

And what was it like working with him? He’s a certified legend in the music world.
Oh man, it’s always a surreal experience because with Travis, we take the song and we go in-depth. When I’m at Travis’s spot it’s quality over quantity. We’ll take hours on one song, perfect it and make it sound like a movie before we move onto the next one. And he’s just amazing! Every time we’re working on beats he’ll go in there and do his thing. I’ve never heard one bad Travis song.

So, could you tell me a bit about your new EP I’m Gone?
It’s really telling the story of me leaving my hometown to pursue my passion for music and chase my dreams. So that’s why it’s called I’m Gone, cause I left. A lot of these songs happened naturally, like ‘Shameless’ we recorded getting kicked out of the studio cause I was like 10 minutes over the time. So I had like 15 minutes to record that song. My favourite song off I’m Gone though is ‘Sickness’. That’s a very personal song for me, and Andrew [Luce] did a really good job on the production, so it’s definitely my favourite off of the new EP. The 

And it’s only been about 7-8 months since your debut album, did you have a different approach to this EP than on Industry Plant?
Yeah definitely! With this last project [I’m Gone] I was really seeing how out of the box I could go so a lot of the music in I’m Gone is not really what my fans have heard from me before. It was really fun to experiment and see what happened with the EP.

You’ve been releasing a lot in the last year and a half, I think between April 2019 and now you’ve released a mixtape, an album and an EP, that’s a lot! Do you keep yourself on a schedule to make that much music, you’ve been really busy.
I never put myself on a schedule to make music, it normally comes naturally with how I’m feeling. I try and go to the studio every single day just cause you never really know what’s going to happen, and that’s when you could make the best song of your life. But yeah, I never really put myself on a schedule. I’ve been super busy man, but that’s how I like it. I like to stay busy so that I never have time to think. Definitely with the corona situation, it was pretty interesting, it gave me more time to sit at home and get back to making songs that I used to make in my bedroom before I moved out to LA, so that’s also a plus.

Yeah nice, and what kind of direction would you like to take your music in the future?
Yeah, I’m always trying to top myself and see what I can make that’s different for my fans to hear. I really only make music for the fun of it. I never really cared about the toys. I came from nothing so I always remember that. 

And what’s next for you?
I have an album coming out, a single coming soon as well. We have a few videos that we’ve not put out yet, so that’s also in the works. Besides that, we’re just making music right now.

Thanks so much for chatting, and good luck with everything!
Yeah, of course! Thank you for taking the time out to talk to me as well!

Keep it locked to Iann Dior here for more and check out the video for his new single ‘Prospect’ ft. Lil Baby below.

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