Los Angeles, CA – The term “Vibes from Portugal” isn’t one that readily comes to mind in any instance but here 11 LIT3S (pronounced Eleven Lights) stands.
At 26 years old, the multifaceted artist has both endured and benefitted from the music industry gauntlet. Whether it was crashing the Roc Nation brunch or hanging in the studio with Kendrick Lamar, 11 LIT3S had plenty of opportunities and avenues to get his music out in the streets.
However, like ScHoolboy Q (another dynamite rap star who 11 LIT3S was fortunate enough to sit in the studio with) used to preach, setbacks can and will happen.
In a conversation with HipHopDX, 11 LIT3S touches on those setbacks as well as working with Rihanna through JAY-Z and why being a soloist is his best bet these days.
HipHopDX: How long before you knew this music journey was supposed to be your path?
11 LIT3S: I started making beats when I was 12, I made my first news headline when I was 18 and now I’m 26? I’d say 14 years in the game doing the thing?
HipHopDX: Nice. What does your name entail?
11 LIT3S: My whole analogy behind [the name] is dimensions. I was reading about dimensions at the time and learned there were 10 dimensions from what people have recorded. And I put 11 LIT3S just to speak on an eleventh dimension to search through the unknown and trying to find something new.
And I put in the whole “3” thing because I was trying to make something that was unique in Google. I was young at the time and didn’t know about the whole SEO thing. But that’s how 11 LIT3S came about.
Photo: 11 LIT3S
HipHopDX: What would you say is your forte is? Producing or being an artist?
11 LIT3S: I started off as a producer, but I kinda fell in love with the music — the other 50 percent — from all the sessions I did. Now I’m not really focused on the producing anymore; I’m really focusing on trying to pass my message. All the messages that I gathered in my life, I’m trying to put them out there because I know there’s a lot of people who’s gonna resonate with my story and where I come from … shit like that.
HipHopDX: You did manage to rack up some dope production credits along the way.
11 LIT3S: That was a stage and I really did have to push myself to get the attention of those people. I feel like I’m starting from the beginning again. And I’m pushing myself once again towards the artist thing. I’m playing the game and starting from zero.
HipHopDX: As a newer artist are your thoughts on Auto-Tune?
11 LIT3S: I feel like Auto-Tune is like a bridge. And for people who want to tell a story … if you hear someone fuckin’ singing without any tuning to their voice, you wouldn’t pay attention to their message. So I feel Auto-Tune allows people to deliver their messages.
I don’t like to use it too much; I use it a little bit. But I think it’s amazing for what it’s done for music. It can get robotic when abused but when used lightly, it’s just a tool that bridges the message at the end of the day.
HipHopDX: How did the song with Rihanna come about?
11 LIT3S: It was a tune called “Towards the Sun,” which was a song for a Dreamworks called Home. We made that song initially for JAY-Z and he bought it and it was in the cupboards for ages. And one day I woke and the song was out with Rihanna on it. I didn’t even know it was coming out; it was crazy.
HipHopDX: Did that give you an understanding of how the music industry works?
11 LIT3S: Yeah, man. It happened a couple times. And that’s one of the reasons I kinda jumped out the songwriting game. I felt like people took the certain magic I had and tried to make it their own. And what I’m trying to is make my own my magic and deliver it to the world how I see it.
A lot of times these songs get mixed by two or three different people … vocal engineers. Shit gets changed up and the mix never gets passed by you. I felt like Hollywood drained my life, so I jumped out of that shit and just want to do my own thing now.
11 LIT3S is currently putting the finishing touches on his debut album. Follow him on Instagram @11lit3s for more updates.