Today, Entertainment/Motown Records released Ljay Currie’s new EP, Free – a six-song collection that showcases the Los Angeles-based artist’s inventive, deeply melodic blend of hip-hop and R&B. See below for track listing.
Download / Stream Free HERE.
“The project is called Free because I’m a free spirit when it comes to my creative process,” says Currie, who names everyone from Lil Wayne to Coldplay among his main inspirations. “I don’t ever try to force anything, I just go with the flow and explore and see what I come up with. If the vibe is right, that’s what I’ll follow.”
Cumulative worldwide streams of lead single “Undercover” ft. Kiana Ledé have already surpassed 1.3 million. The slow-burning yet uptempo number, driven by Currie’s graceful piano work, exemplifies the 20-year-old’s free-spirited approach. Singer-songwriter-actress Ledé provides smoldering vocals on the track, which captures the excitement of pushing the boundaries of a close friendship into something more. Currie and Ledé shot the official video at Dockweiler State Beach near Los Angeles International Airport. View “Undercover” HERE.
“Shots You Don’t Take,” another song on Free, nods to Currie’s basketball background – he turned down numerous Division I basketball scholarships in order to pursue a career in music – and unfolds with a laid-back message of self-empowerment. With its layered rhythms and luminous guitar tones, the feel-good “555” draws inspiration from Currie’slove of numerology.
“When I was recording, I looked down at the clock and the time was 5:55,” he says. “I looked it up to see what that meant, and it’s about how there’s a big change coming, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it. Don’t be scared to try something new.”
Currie grew up in Gardena, California and credits the jazz and classic R&B records his dad played at home with giving him a feel for rhythm and melody. When he was 10, he taught himself to play piano by following along with YouTube tutorials. Within a few years, having also mastered drums and guitar, Currie began making beats and producing his own tracks. His former basketball coach, Derryck “Big Tank” Thornton – a longtime producer who’s worked with artists such as Mary J. Blige and Fabolous – was instrumental in convincing Currie’s parents that their son had as bright a future in the studio as he might have on the court. Thornton told them, ‘I’ve never heard anything like this before – just give me a year, and if he doesn’t have a record deal by then, I’ll make sure he’s back in school.’”
Once Currie had built up a body of work, he and Thornton played his music for a number of major labels, and soon the young artist was signed to EP Entertainment/Motown Records. Currie recently sat down with Young California to talk about a wide range of topics – from his creative process and dream collaboration to the Motown legacy and his fondness for Fortnite.