/  02.03.2022

Landstrip Chip is a platinum-selling singer-songwriter whose pen has impressed everyone from newcomers to renowned hitmakers.

“Keith [Thomas] was playing Usher some of the B. Smyth songs, and Usher was like, ‘Hey, who’s writing these songs?’ Keith was like, ‘That’s Chip over there at the end of the couch.’ Usher was like, ‘Nah, we got to lock in.’ That was my first taste of songwriting,” Chip told REVOLT.

For this installment of “Studio Sessions,” Chip discusses Usher’s creative process, working with Ty Dolla $ign and why that was memorable, how he’s able to make hit records for women and more. Tune in below.

Who was the first major artist you worked with in the studio?

Probably Usher in 2016. He was working on his [Hard II Love] album. One of his buddies Keith Thomas brought me in to work with him. That was my first time being in the studio with someone of that level. Keith had known me since 2011 and we stayed in contact. Around then, I wasn’t really putting my own music out, and he was working with an artist named P.M. who wanted to rap. He asked me to help write for him, but I had never written for anyone before so I didn’t know how that would go. I tried it, and that turned into me working with this kid from Miami named B. Smyth. One night, we were in the studio and Usher came in. It was me, Keith and B. Smyth. I was at the end of the couch on my phone. Keith was playing Usher some of the B. Smyth songs, and Usher was like, ‘Hey, who’s writing these songs?’ Keith was like, ‘That’s Chip over there at the end of the couch.’ Usher was like, ‘Nah, we got to lock in.’ That was my first taste of songwriting

What did you notice about Usher’s creative process?

First of all, I was happy he let me in his space. Being from Atlanta, I know the status of an artist like Usher. There are people I knew at the time who had bigger accolades than me and still couldn’t get in the studio with him. Me being thrown in the fire early helped a lot. He wanted my ideas and validation on certain stuff. He’d ask me if certain things made sense structurally and how he could say lines better. He’d ask me to give him a pattern of how he should sing certain things. That was my first introduction to arrangement and composing.

Not too long, after locking in with Usher, you worked with Tinashe on her song “Throw A Fit.” How did you two link up?

That was through Hitmaka. We met in Atlanta and he flew me to Hawaii. We locked in from there. She was in the studio for some of it, but it was one big party where people were letting us do what we wanted to do and accepting what we brought to the table. We probably did about 10 songs over three days. She ended up putting a few of them out, including ‘Cash Race.’ She probably put out four of those joints. 

When you’re going into the studio to write for someone, what is a typical session like?

It’s more of a comfortability thing. I’m comfortable with the people I work with. I’m comfortable with the engineers I work with. I like my settings how I like my settings. I don’t usually have that many people in the studio. It’ll be me, my engineer, my photographer, maybe a few females and shit like that. Other than that, my process doesn’t change and it’s been like that for a while. I like small crowds of people in the studio because too many opinions can deter you from doing what you think is good.

How often do you give other artists songs that you originally wrote for yourself?

Never. I’m hands-on, so all of my songwriting stuff comes from me being in the studio with the artist. When I’m in the studio with my stuff I don’t think, ‘Oh, I’m going to give it to such and such.’ I don’t like when people hit me like, ‘Oh, we need verses for such and such. Can you send some demos?’ I’m like, ‘Nah, let me know when they’re here or when y’all want to fly me to wherever they at.’ I like that process better.

What was one session that was truly memorable for you?

The first time Ty Dolla $ign and I made music together. We had worked together a few times through Hitmaka but we never had our own relationship. I remember I hit him one time when I was in L.A. and sent him something. He texted me back while I was on the way to the club and he was like, ‘You still in L.A.?’ I told him I was and he said, ‘Pull up on me at the studio.’ I told my driver to turn around and take me to the studio. We locked in and did four songs together. I consider him one of the people I look up to musically, as far as the type of music I like to make. The conversations we had that night were validation for me to think I was really making a name for myself — to the point he told me he damn near knew the words to my EP. I don’t even listen to people’s music like that, so for him to tell me he knew all the words to my project was gratifying. This was probably 2019 or early 2020.

You were also on “Late Night” from the Revenge of the Dreamer III (Deluxe) album. What was your experience like during those Dreamville sessions?

It was hectic. There were one million people running around. What I did was go to the studio and said, ‘Fuck it, I’m just going to do hooks because everybody up here is trying to do verses.’ I knew a lot of those verses were probably not going to make it, but if somebody got a strong hook, niggas will take that hook. I did three hooks for ‘Late Night’ and that was the one they ended up using.

When did you decide it was time to put out your own music again?

I was making my own music before I was writing for other people. I had just taken a break from it. Around the top of 2018, I decided to start putting out my own music again. Everybody was telling me I was too good at music and should start putting my own stuff back out. 

What’s the difference between writing for yourself and writing for other people?

I don’t know how to turn the switch on and off — I just like making good music. Whatever’s good is going to be good, whether it’s for me or somebody else. I don’t care to differentiate it too much.

In November 2021, you dropped your project Catch My Good Side with a few special features. How did your song “This Side” featuring Vory come about?

My photographer AP had always been telling me about Vory. I was working on my project and he told me, ‘I’m about to tell Vory to pull up.’ He pulled up and that was the first time he and I ever did anything together. I’m listening through beats, picked the beat out, he said it was hard and we did it how we did it. It probably took no more than 45 minutes. We recorded it at this studio in Atlanta called Astro. BEAM pulled up too. He’s dropping his [Alien] project this Friday and had a joint (‘Love You Different’) on Justin Bieber’s last album Justice. He’s signed to Epic Records.

You’ve worked with Ella Mai, Tinashe, Latto and a number of other prominent female artists. How do you get in the mindset to write from a woman’s perspective?

It’s just melodies for me. I don’t really look at it no way. I just do the melodies and let them catch their vibe how they catch their vibe. It’s all music at the end of the day. It’s all about just changing a couple of words. It’s all general shit. 

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