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.’
“With him, it’s really expect the unexpected… Thug is a genius, so we may put an outfit on and there may be something he wants to add on,” Dupree told REVOLT. “It could change with the day. Monday could be, ‘Do this.’ On Tuesday, we could get dressed five minutes before the show.”
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” Thug’s stylist explains why Thug cut a pair of $5,000 Givenchy boots; Lil Keed’s on-stage fashion, and how Lil’ Mo helped his career. Read the convo below.
Who was the first major artist you styled?
I’ve been a stylist for about seven years. Lil’ Mo was the first artist I styled that I felt helped me get in the door. After college, I would use social media to contact different artists. She was the first one to ever really give me a chance. She was doing a concert with Future, so I gassed up the car and drove to Baltimore (from Philadelphia) with my friends. That was my first client. Ever since then, she was always putting me on to stuff. She referred me to do the show “R&B Divas: Los Angeles.” I got to style Kelly Price, Chante Moore, Dawn [Robinson] from En Vogue — all the OGs. From there, it was a whirlwind.
What’s the best show you styled an artist for?
This show Thug did at Madison Square Garden where he wore this slime green leather trench coat. I got it from these designers in L.A. called Tastemakers. He also had on a turtleneck and some Chanel pants. It was an iconic look. That was my favorite look, tour-wise.
Thug is very fashionable. What is it like touring with him has a stylist?
Touring with Thug is absolutely my favorite experience. Everywhere he went, I went. I got my first passport through him. I’ve been to London, Paris, Croatia, Amsterdam, Canada, Jamaica. The first tour I went on with him was in the U.S. and we were on the road for about 30 days. I was in control of all the wardrobe. Before leaving for tour, I would prep for two weeks. I’m getting toiletries, socks, drawers. We get these big, deep wardrobe rooms with four wheels so you can lug them around. I would get four of them for shoes. For Thug, we’d bring all of the clothes. We’d also bring empty bags on tour because designers were always coming to the show to drop off clothes or I’d meet with people in that city and they’ll have multiple pieces of clothes. So, if I got something in New York, I wouldn’t use it until we got to Dallas. The wardrobe department was deep. Everything was always organized. He would get off the tour bus, come into his room, and that’s when we’d start creating the looks.
How soon before shows does he decide on his outfits?
With him, it’s really expect the unexpected… Thug is a genius, so we may put an outfit on and there may be something he wants to add on. It could change with the day. Monday could be, ‘Do this.’ On Tuesday, we could get dressed five minutes before the show.
What are some last minute changes you had to make as a stylist to make sure the show went on?
It was like every other day the shoes may be missing — certain stuff weren’t dry cleaned. I remembered this one time he wanted to wear this certain shirt and I accidentally put it in the dirty clothes to get washed. On tour, you’re moving constantly and I remember forgetting it. I remember rushing to find the shirt, going to the venue and using their washer and dryer. I ironed it and pressed it out. You wouldn’t have known I didn’t go to the dry cleaners.
Is there a show where Thug did something random with an expensive piece of clothing?
On the “HI-HORSE’D Tour,” there were these Givenchy boots on the first night. With that tour, he had costumes. Every night, he would come out for the opening performance in these boots, Givenchy pants, white T-shirt, and red jacket— sort of horseman outfit. The first night, we put the Givenchy boots on him and I remember them getting stuck. It took me and three people to try to get them off. Next thing you know, Thug takes a pair of scissors and just cuts down the boot. He was like, ‘We’ll just get another pair.’ We made it work throughout the tour. Those boots were like $5,000.
How is it styling Lil Keed for a show?
Keed is easy. He calls Thug “Pops” says, “You dressed my pops. My pops already know you gon’ take care of me.” Keed is into designers, but also up-and-coming brands. He’ll get drippy, but he also wants to wear these up-and-coming designers. With Keed, I can look for new designers that nobody else has.
How did the pandemic affect you?
When it hit, we were actually in L.A. shooting music videos and we had to cancel all of that. Since March, we’ve been doing little stuff. Keed just dropped an album, so we were able to do the album release party in Atlanta. But, we missed out on Rolling Loud and Coachella. Shows is what makes a lot of money for artists, stylists and creatives. The pandemic puts us in a mindset where we have to make money from home and in different ways. We have to work different roles.
What are the sacrifices you have to make to be a stylist on the road?
It’s hard. You’re away from home. You’re packing up three months worth of clothes and putting it on a tour bus. You’re living with people from all walks of life. You’re dealing with people every day. You have to get all the wardrobe ready. You’re not only responsible for yourself, but also the artist. There are days you may not be able to get dressed how you want because you have to make sure the artist is straight. It’s not about you.