For Louyah, One Viral TikTok and His Closest Friends Changed Everything [Q&A]
It’s a tale as old as time; through the power of friendship and the internet, Staten Island-born singer-songwriter and producer Louis Attillio Vigorito's, better known as Louyah, life changed forever. In a car ride with his friends in New Jersey, the artist had the surprise of a lifetime when he realized his friends had secretly worked to get one of his singles, "I Used to Care," played on the radio.
Eight million views and counting later, the 25-year-old has proven his versatility as an artist and established himself as an impressive rising talent. Raised in South New Jersey, Louyah entered the music scene as a vocalist and guitarist in metal bands Premonition and Idle Minds. After six years as a band member, he took the plunge and launched his solo career. Rather than focusing on one genre, Louyah's strength lies in incorporating an eclectic yet balanced mix of pop, rock, rap, and R&B elements.
We had the opportunity to chat with the artist about the viral, wholesome moment, how their life has changed since then, and what fans can expect next.
It’s safe to say the last month has been a whirlwind for you. You went from playing in a bunch of bands to setting off on your solo career in 2019, followed by releasing your first album to now being catapulted in front of the internet. What has been the most eye-opening experience during your journey so far?
The most eye-opening thing that hit me was that, just when I was ready to move forward with the whole album and ready to say fuck it let’s put something else out, out of nowhere my friends got me on the radio, and that just changed everything. It was a very “expect the unexpected” moment.
How do you spend your time now? Has anything in your life drastically changed?
I keep writing songs! I’ve honestly been writing a lot of music. Other than that, I’ve been just kind of doing the same thing. Keeping to myself and hanging out with my friends and my family. I wouldn’t say anything’s changed, because I’m a very family-oriented person. So, I mean, a lot of people have definitely hit me up, and I think it’s awesome. Personally, though, I don’t know a lot of people and, for me, it’s hard to want to do a project with someone if I know I haven’t met that person. I just stick with what I know in the moment. Once I’m introduced to somebody in person, then I’ll feel better about it. But as far as making music with people who are hitting me up, it’s… I don’t know. I just blew up and you’re hitting me up. It’s a weird feeling.
You want to make sure the connections you make with people are genuine and authentic before you make music together.
Definitely! But as far as you know, DMs are cool. Pink Sweat$ follows me now and that made me happy. I messaged him in 2018 and I said, "You’re an inspiration to me. I can’t wait to work with you," and then he followed me and I was like, no way, you just followed me and he said, "Your music’s dope," and I was like, wow, okay. But that’s it. I’m not gonna ever be like, "Let’s work together! Let’s do XYZ." I feel like it should naturally play its part, just like it did. And there’s gonna be a time and place where I sit in a room and he’s there and he’d be like, "Louyah!" and I’d be like "Pink Sweat$! Hi." And then from there, maybe we become best friends or maybe it doesn’t have to be anything more than music.
You’ve mentioned that you still hang out with your friends and family and that nothing in your personal life has changed. What are some things that you do to keep yourself grounded?
I enjoy watching gamers on Twitch and the people I watch are my friends. Outside of that, I spend all my time on music. I really don’t do anything else. I would love to travel and music is now giving me the opportunity to travel. Like I’ve never owned a car. I’m 25 and I’ve spent my whole life working for this moment. This is all I’ve ever wanted, and I’m ready for it and I’ve been ready for it. I’ve been ready to just accept everything that’s happening right now.
If you could leave tomorrow, where would you go?
Japan. Catch me in Tokyo. I just think the culture is beautiful. I think everything’s beautiful. I will respect it. I will love it. I will enjoy it. And I just want to see all the cool shops that they have. I want to see all the interesting foods that they make. I think the way they present things is just insane to me, and I would love love, love, love, love, love to go to Tokyo and take some cool photos at night with all the neon signs and just absorb the environment.
Now that you’re working on your next record, can you tell me more about the evolution of Louyah and your creative process?
So young Louyah, just Louis. There was no Louyah. I was a 16-year-old kid that loved metal music, so I picked up the guitar and started playing. I then joined the band as a guitarist and after that band broke up, I was a vocalist, so I screamed at people for a little bit and that was interesting. There was a whole metal scene community that loved our band and what we talked about. We talked about a lot of heartfelt things.
Heartfelt things like what?
I talked about my father’s struggle with addiction. And that was a big part of my life before I even ventured into Louyah. The band and I were helping people that were not able to talk about those things and just be open and be honest. I would do this thing where I would have everybody close their eyes at my show, and I would say, "Raise your hand if you’re struggling with addiction." Everybody would close their eyes and you would be so surprised at how many people raised their hands. And then I would have everybody open their eyes and I’d be like, "Alright, now look around you. What do you see?" I’ve watched people just start crying, because they’re like, "Oh, my God, my friend is standing right next to me. And he has an addiction. And I didn’t know that." My whole thing was just being a part of that community, helping people in those realms because that was a big struggle of my life. Through my father, and me, my two brothers, my whole family, we all struggled in that. Once that had kind of cleared up, I stopped doing the band stuff. A few of the people were getting older. Some are married, some had kids. I was looking for something else to do. I didn’t want to do the five-member band thing, I wanted to just do something that was a little bit more solo. So, I started Louyah.
And how was that change for you? Was it difficult setting off on your own?
That was a big change for me, because I did listen to hip-hop. I was a fan of hip-hop, I love Biggie Smalls. My parents showed me older stuff, but my brother was constantly recommending artists to check out that he thought were cool. And he was like, "Well if you’re going to do hip-hop, you should do it the way you want to do it," because I was a little on the fence about doing it. He just told me to do it the way I want to do it and see how that works. So, I’ve been using that method. I’ve been doing it the way I’ve wanted to do it this whole time and that’s working out well. I’m still technically in a band because I work with a whole group of people. Is the band all on stage with me? No. But I think they all play a really big part just like any other band would. That’s my band of brothers. One of them has been my best friend since first grade. He makes all my music videos, he does my graphic design content, and he's also my live drummer. I remember being young and being like, "yo, we’re gonna work together, one day we’re gonna be in a band together…." and we are now.
Is he one of the friends that got you on the radio in that TikTok clip?
No, he wasn’t one of the friends that were in the car. The reason why I put "friends" is because those guys are basically my best friends and also more or less family. But behind me in the car was my little cousin Young Pwavy. And then behind the driver is my friend Gervs. He’s actually on the album. He is such a talented singer. And the person that is driving is actually my brother. All three of them went ahead to just put a smile on my face when I needed it and they knew I needed it, because I dropped this record, and just nothing happened. So they just were like, "Yo, you put a lot of work into this, and we see how much work you put into us," because I record them and I help produce for them, and they just wanted to make me happy. They literally are the reason my whole life changed.
I can only imagine how much joy you must have felt in that moment.
I cried. I cried A LOT. Yeah. I cried to my mom, my brothers, I just cried. There was nothing to do but cry for like, three, four days straight. I would go on live and I didn’t even know what to say. I would just cry. They would ask why I was crying and I was just like, "I’m happy." I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know.
What can we expect from the next stage of Louyah?
I think everyone's in for a surprise.
So a polka album?
Yeah definitely. Or jazz. Snake jazz!
People would love it!
Yeah, of course! But seriously, I think people are in for a surprise. Like I said, this first album was released in February, and I was ready to move on and move forward. I changed a lot of things about Louyah. Let’s just say this new stuff is leaning more towards hip-hop than it is pop and rock. It still has similar elements but it’s more hip hop. I’m not changing my voice or anything that crazy. There are some cool things that I’m doing, especially with the new song "La Da Di Da" I just put out. I’ve been working hard. Like, I have too much. I have too much music that needs to be listened to.
I know genres are arbitrary, but would you call yourself a hip-hop artist? What would you call yourself if you had to call yourself anything?
Honestly, that’s a great question but also the hardest question for me. It’s so changeable because I could say hip-hop right now, but a week from now, I could say rock. And then another week from now, I could say, pop or alternative. I can even say acoustic, because I do make acoustic music too. So I think at this point, it’s just music. For right now, I can't slap a label onto it because a label will box me, and I do not want to be boxed in any way.
What do you want to manifest for yourself in the year to come as an artist and as a person?
First and foremost, a house for my mom and a house for my dad. Also, a place to be more creative that has more room for the whole team that we have. That’s number one, because I know that needs to happen. As for other manifestations, I want diamond records. I want plaques. I want to do US tours. God, I want to tour. I love touring, and I love traveling. I want to do sold-out shows. I want to sing in front of thousands and thousands and thousands of people that just all are connecting with me in that single moment, because that always felt like a very surreal moment, and I had just a short little taste of that at my own sold-out show for five hundred to six hundred people.
I want to work with Post Malone. I want to work with Don Toliver. I want to work with JACKBOYS, Cactus Jack, and so many others. But these are big-name artists. On the real low, I’ve manifested the actual people that I love working with, which are Gervs, Young Pwavy, my friend Alec, and Kevin. Oh, and Dakun. I can’t forget Dakun. Dakun mixes and masters everything and produces with me. I can’t forget Dakun. All of those people I have manifested. I really did manifest everything I’ve wanted, and now it’s just opened to more wants and more needs. So I’m excited to see what else comes of those things because, at this point, I don’t even know what could happen tomorrow. There’s something new every day.