Carl Capers became Lil Tjay’s tour manager in 2021. This was before the rising Bronx star survived a June 2022 shooting that kept him off the stage for three months. “We were supposed to leave either that night or the next day to do a fashion show in Paris. After that, he was about to do a whole festival run up until August or September,” Capers told REVOLT about what the incident halted.
In this installment of Tour Tales, the tour manager explains how the shooting affected Lil Tjay, the artist’s international reach, and what to expect from his upcoming “Born 2 Be Great Tour.” Read below.
How did you first connect with Lil Tjay?
I connected with him through Justin Weatherspoon in October 2021. We had a past relationship from working with Dreezy.
What was the first show you helped him with?
It was Rolling Loud in New York [in October 2021]. It was different putting that together because I was coming in for the first time, especially meeting him in his home city. He had a whole entourage and had random people too. So, we only met once we got to Budapest.
How did you develop a relationship with Lil Tjay on the road?
You have to understand the person and see how they move. Tjay and his people come from the ‘hood, so you can’t get around them like, “Hey, you have to do this, you have to do that.” You have to understand that person because each artist moves their own type of way. I’m there to get the job done, and he understands I’m there to get the job done. He’s 21, and I’m 33, so the age difference is a big gap. At the same time, I have experience being on the road. He’s still new to it. There are things I learned from him. There are things he learned from me.
What did he learn from you?
He’s more on time. I know when we first met, if I told him his stage time was 10 o’clock, he would arrive at 11. Now if I tell him 9:30, he’s there before showtime. He’s starting to see how being punctual is very important.
Did you ever have to fix things behind the scenes?
There was a time when Tjay fired his management when he was overseas. I had just left and he fired his management. I had to get him over from London into the New York area to hit the following two shows on the tour. I left right after the show he did in Scotland, and they went back to London and got stuck out there. I was coordinating times with him and security. They were trying to get him to the airport and back into the country. They were denied at the airport because I didn’t need vaccine records or anything when I flew off from Scotland. But when they flew out from London, everybody needed vaccine paperwork. So, we had to figure that out.
How would you describe his shows?
It’s an experience to be honest with you. Tjay has so records with so many people too. He’s a different type of guy. He’s very big overseas. He has everyone in his audience — Black, white, or whatever. We have a show in Israel coming up.
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How dedicated is Lil Tjay to his live show?
He has all the input. You’ll get your input last minute, but it will be everything you need. For example, we did a show in Montclair, New Jersey at The Wellmont Theater. The setlist didn’t get taken care of until stage time. He had different types of people that popped up.
When it comes to bringing those guests out, what are the logistics behind it all?
It’s a lot. You have to go back and forth with the venue because for hip hop shows, venues try to limit the guest lists. A white country artist can go to Wellmont Theater and have 70-80 people backstage. But, when the venue deals with hip hop, they only let them have 30-40 people.
What is the most interesting fan reaction you’ve seen at a Lil Tjay show?
I’ve seen fans with tattoos of the lyrics to his song “Destined 2 Win.” Tjay says it is a shock every time.
Lil Tjay was shot last summer. Rolling Loud in September 2022 was his first show back. How was he feeling?
He was feeling good. After the shooting, I saw him at the hospital. The day it happened, we were supposed to do a show. We put the show together for Rolling Loud a week before he touched the stage. So, we had to scramble to find video content. I was downloading YouTube clips and sent those to the video director that management had put me in touch with.
How many shows did Lil Tjay miss out on those three months in-between his shooting and return?
We were supposed to leave either that night or the next day to do a fashion show in Paris. After that, he was about to do a whole festival run up until August or September.
What’s on his tour rider? What does he like backstage?
Oh, he likes alcohol. He drinks every once in a while… Jamaican food (laughs). That’s one of his favorites. He loves oxtail and curry shrimp.
What are some fun things you and Tjay have done while on tour?
We did a helicopter ride. We were in Hawaii for a show. That surely was a different experience. But you’re traveling the world for free. So, why not?
The upcoming “Born 2 Be Great Tour” is his first tour since the shooting. What can we expect?
I think new music is going to be dropping soon. I can’t say if an album’s dropping.
What is coming up for you this year?
NoCap is dropping tour dates soon. Tjay is dropping more tour dates soon. Besides that, the year is open.