Musicians are barely getting a slice of music industry revenue, largely eating off of live performances instead. For ‘Tour Tales,’ we dig into the rider requests, delayed shows, diligent preparation, and future of touring by talking with the multitude of people that move behind the scenes. Record executives, photographers, tour managers, artists, and more all break down what goes into touring and why it’s still so vital to the livelihood of your favorite artists. What happens on tour stays on ‘Tour Tales.’
Lala has only been deejaying for five years, but as Vory and Winter Blanco’s DJ, she’s been able to see stars rise and learn from those already at the top of their game.
“I remember seeing Doja [Cat] perform all out like it was a big performance. Her outfit, makeup, and choreography would’ve made you think this was the biggest stage on Earth. That day, I changed how I looked at performing,” Lala told REVOLT.
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” she explains how cautious Vory is about who he works with, Winter linking with Megan Thee Stallion at Rolling Loud, and how to navigate the music industry as a DJ. Read below!
Who was the first major artist you deejayed for?
I deejayed on this music festival called Trap Circus [on November 22, 2017]. I opened for Kodak Black and Cardi B. It was maybe 14 artists on the lineup... I performed and they went on two hours later.
What was the first tour you were on?
I deejayed for this rapper named Reggie Mills who toured with Famous Dex in 2017 and I deejayed for both of them on a few of those dates. They were both in the rapper/rockstar realm, so they jump around and it’s very high energy. The crowd is really into it and they’re crowd surfing. They’re the modern-day rockstars.
Around then, what songs got the biggest reactions live?
Famous Dex had his “Japan” song out at the time and everyone loved his ad-libs when he goes “Yeah, Dexter.” People love when he does that (laughs). That whole Soundcloud rap era has really diehard fans live.
When did you first link with Vory?
I met him in late 2017/early 2018. I was deejaying at an event in L.A. on Melrose and someone on his team heard my set, and told me they had this artist named Vory who likes to work with all women. He’s really big on putting women on. I think that’s great and really rare. He really wanted a female DJ, so they had me come talk to him and go hang out with him to talk about it. One thing about Vory is he’s very picky with people and cautious. The first time I went to the house he was staying at, he instructed me to not bring anyone with me. He needs time to feel comfortable around someone, but when he is comfortable he’s a whole different person. I had to meet him three or four different times before he was like, “We should work together.”
How did you develop your live show together?
We performed a few times around L.A. and he was on one label and now he’s on another. He was dropping music and performing when he wanted to, and then the pandemic hit. That all impeded our ability to perform. Our first show was at The Peppermint Club. For R&B, the DJ is less of the hype man and is more there to fill in the gaps. You make sure to engage with the crowd. He’s easy to work with.
What are his rehearsals like?
He knows what he’s doing. When he’s performing or rehearsing, he’ll change an octave here and there on the fly because he’s incredible with melodies. He has a gift for melodies. He doesn’t need to perform an entire dance routine. All he needs to do is sit there on a stool and sing.
How did you link up with Winter Blanco?
She was on “Bad Girls Club.” I had this little mixtape project with this sub-label under Empire and I needed more girl rappers. That was about two or three years ago. Soon after that, I got her an opportunity to perform somewhere and got her a Rolling Loud opportunity. It was sort of natural. There was never any conversation about, “Hey, you should be my DJ.” It was just obvious I was going to be her DJ (laughs).
You and Winter did Rolling Loud Bay Area in September 2019. What did it take for you to do the show?
It was hectic. On the day of the festival, they changed our stage, set time, and dressing room. It’s not just Winter and I, it’s us and her four dancers. We have a team of people. So, we had to get everyone to the venue and to the right place. The stages at Rolling Loud are far a part and your setlist is only so long, so if you’re late, you can’t go next and you missed your opportunity. When we finally got to the stage, I needed a mic and she needed one. My mic wasn’t working and there was no time to have someone else bring a mic. The show isn’t the same without me having a mic. So, that was shitty (laughs).
What’s your chemistry like on stage with her?
She’s the only woman I’ve deejayed for. I think it changes things a lot. We just understand each other more. With other artists, I’ve had situations where I’d have to do my own hair and makeup in 30 minutes, and then get on stage while the boys can roll out of bed and get on stage. Winter understands that more, which is important. If you look good, you feel good and you perform well. It might sound trivial but those details matter when you’re a performer. With Winter, we do coordinate what we’re going to wear. She and the dancers have to match and I have to look like I blend in. They can’t be yellow and green stripes, and I’m over here with bright pink. It has to all flow. We think of color schemes and outfit styles for our shows.
Rolling Loud is like a music convention where everyone in the industry gets together. Are there any backstage interactions you remember?
When I wasn’t performing at Rolling Loud but went as a journalist in 2017, I accidentally ended up on Travis Scott’s trailer while he was performing. It was a huge set and a big thing. I wandered in there by accident and I knew some people on his team. It was so casual. Then, I walk out and Post Malone is sitting there with his family. It was mind-blowing. More recently, when Winter and I did Rolling Loud Bay Area, our dressing room was right next to Megan Thee Stallion. We were with our friend DJ Duffy, French Montana’s DJ. She knew Megan and brought us to her dressing room. Megan poured liquor into Winter’s mouth. That was a crazy moment (laughs).
There was a costume party you and Winter did with Doja Cat on Halloween 2019. What was that like?
It was amazing. We went on first and then she performed. We were the only two acts performing, which I thought was dope. We had a little hiccup there where the person who booked us said they wanted us to do two songs, but when we got there they said our setlist was 25 minutes. We told them, “We don’t have 25 minutes prepared.” There was this whole fight backstage about the budget and what they expected of us. For months, we prepared to do an eight to 20-minute set. We sorted it out and we did our two songs. That event wasn’t huge, it was maybe 800 people in the building. I remember seeing Doja perform all-out like it was a big performance. Her outfit, makeup, and choreography would’ve made you think this was the biggest stage on Earth. That day, I changed how I looked at performing.
What have you been up to recently?
I’ve been doing Brent Faiyaz's series of parties. It’s like a four or five-week thing we’re doing in L.A. He released the amazing song “Wasting Time” with Drake and he had a release party for it. After that, he brought it to this beautiful L.A. venue where there’s a DJ booth and a small stage. Brent gets on stage and performs the “Wasting Time” song. When I got to the DJ at the first installment of these events, the line was down five blocks on downtown L.A. and the fire marshal was trying to shut it down. It’s like that every Wednesday.