The Kamilaroi Kid Topping Billboard Charts

The Kid LAROI’s Billboard Cover Shoot (Alexandra Gavillet) at Industria, Brooklyn. Courtesy of Billboard, 2021.

From collaborating with A-list celebrities on hit tracks, to topping Billboard charts, to performing at top festivals, the proud Kamilaroi rapper is on his way to becoming a global superstar! In a long-form interview with Billboard’s Josh Glicksman for the magazine’s October 2021 issue, The Kid LAROI provided insight into his prevailing success and how he connects to his audience through the storytelling in his lyrics (Billboard, 2021). If you haven’t already heard of The Kid LAROI, you can check out our previous article The Kid LAROI's Meteoric Rise to International Fame.

Songwriter-producer and a close friend of The Kid LAROI, Omer Fedi (2021), provided Glicksman with insight as to why people gravitate towards LAROI’s music:
“Not a lot of up-and-coming artists, or even big artists, actually talk about s–t that happens in their life...You can hear stories in his music, and that’s why people gravitate toward him.” 
Perhaps, LAROI's willingness to be vulnerable and his incredible sense of melody are the qualities which drew in the founder of Rebel Management, Adam Leber. Leber (2021) told Billboard:
“He isn’t one of these cookie-cutter artists who’s out there just taking songs.It’s very rare in this day and age when an artist has a), the ability to write amazing songs in general, but b), really writes from a place of honesty. [That’s what] separates a hit song from a phenomenal artist.”
Nowadays, people are consuming music and video content at rapid-fire speed due to the rise of Tik Tok and Instagram reels, as well as music streaming platforms like Soundcloud and Spotify. Resultantly, genre-fluidity in music has become the new norm. This has allowed the Kamilaroi singer to freely explore music styles outside of the realm of rap, in which he initially built his following on. LAROI’s genre-fluidity can be seen from his guitar-driven, alternative-rock song ‘F*ck You, Goodbye’ feat. Machine Gun Kelly, to his plucky, 80’s-inspired synthetic-wave song ‘Stay’ feat. Justin Bieber, to his raspy, acoustic song ‘Without You’ feat. Miley Cyrus.

Arguably, ‘Stay’ has been the biggest song globally, since its release in July. Rising from #4 to #1 in its fourth week on the Billboard charts, the song deemed LAROI as the youngest-ever Australian artist to reach #1 on the charts since Rick Springfield’s ‘Jessie’s Girl’ hitting #1 in August 1981. Up until early this month, the song reached a record-setting 10 weeks as #1 on the Billboard's Hot 100 and Global 200 charts (Billboard, 2021). 

The Kid LAROI’s Billboard Cover Shoot (Alexandra Gavillet) at Industria, Brooklyn. Courtesy of Billboard, 2021.

LAROI (2021) echoed the latter statement in billboard’s exclusive interview, where he said:
“People don’t consume music the same way anymore.People want to listen to a 12-song project, at most. They chew stuff up and spit it out really quickly. Imagine if I had put ‘Tragic,’ ‘Without You’ and ‘Stay’ all in a 30-song thing [at once]. Who knows if any of those songs might’ve even caught?” 
The fact that the Kamilaroi singer has been able to explore new sounds via his ‘F*ck Love’ franchise has been no accident. Since Columbia Records Chairman/CEO Ron Perry personally signed LAROI in 2019, they have taken the ‘always on’ approach, which involves having a constant steady stream of content to engage the fan base. And, thanks to his team’s savvy-timing with the repackagings of his three-part debut ‘F*ck Love,’ the singer has been steadily introducing more new listeners to the entire range in his catalog (Billboard, 2021). 

Not only has The Kid gained immense praise from his continuously expanding fan base, he’s also gained the praise of A-list singer-songwriters Elton John, Ed Sheeran and Olivia Rodrigo. In an interview with Sirius XM, Ed Sheeran mentioned that he preferred to meet up with the young star over pizza over the VMAs, so they could have “a proper chat.” After getting to know LAROI, Sheeran (2021) told the radio station:

“We wrote a song together over the internet for someone else. He’s a very talented writer...he writes songs for people and for himself...his melodies are mental, lyrics are crazy and a very sweet guy. I think it’s a joy to have someone that’s 18 years old and is the biggest artist on the planet.”

The Kid LAROI’s Billboard Cover Shoot (Alexandra Gavillet) at Industria, Brooklyn. Courtesy of Billboard, 2021.

After receiving the greatest compliment of a lifetime, another star echoed this sentiment. Despite just missing the 2021 VMAs ‘Best New Artist’ category, which was narrowed down to just LAROI and Olivia Rodrigo, The ‘Sour’ superstar (2021) immediately gave props to the South Sydney young rapper, saying, “I want to thank Laroi who inspires me every day to be a better artist, I love him so much.”

To top it off, earlier this year Elton John (2021) had the 18-year-old sensation appear on his Rocket Hour radio show in January. In the interview, Elton (2021) basically predicted the insane success that the rapper has had this year, where he said:

“You’re already huge but I hope you realise what’s going to happen to you in 2021. You’re going to be one of the biggest artists in the whole wide world. You really deserve it, because your not only just about rap, your music covers a lot of bases.” 

Most recently, the singer has been preparing for both his END OF THE WORLD debut world tour in 2022, as well as the release of his official debut album and a big project that’ll explain to the world and his fans the meaning behind his stage name LAROI - a nod to his mum’s Indigenous Kamilaroi heritage. With these future plans, LAROI hopes that people will stop comparing him to other artists - namely Justin Bieber as they both started as young teens from humble beginnings and rose to international fame at lightspeed - and will see him and his music as a standalone narrative.

“I understand that’s what happens in the beginning of [a career],” he told Glicksman. “I feel like as I keep going, people will start to see me more for me. I think that’s already happening. Hopefully with this album, people will really start to separate me as my own person.”

The Kid LAROI’s Billboard Cover Shoot (Alexandra Gavillet) at Industria, Brooklyn. Courtesy of Billboard, 2021.

At Yarn, we are passionate about sharing the stories of First Nations artists, shining a light on their creative journeys and how they give back to their communities. So, as The Kid LAROI’s success continues to reach new heights, we hope that his story inspires a new generation of Australian artists and shifts conversations about the talent the Australian industry should be scouting for and nurturing in the future. The Kid LAROI's story also provides hope for other young mob out there who wish to pursue their music career dreams but don't know how to, or are doubting their capabilities.