lamionté refuses to dim her shine


photo by kollin battle // model: lamionté

The grind doesn’t stop for La La Render, or should we say, Lamionté. As we met up for this interview over a video call, she let me know she was in the studio rehearsing for a performance as we spoke. Where most people are spending their free time bingeing Netflix or having fun at the club, Lamionté is in the recording booth, mixing sounds or writing new lyrics. Her passion for music has been instilled in her for as long as she can remember.  


“I’ve always known my whole life that I wanted to do music and that I wanted to be a singer,” she said. “I used to go on the school bus when I was younger, and I would tell people like, ‘Oh, I have an album coming out.’ Like, I used to be like 5 [or] 6 [or] 7 years old telling people this, so it goes far back. I used to do talent shows and things of that nature. It’s a huge part of my life, most definitely. I’ve always known I want to do this.”


While her sound is one-of-one, her musical inspirations are a mix — impacted by numerous musical greats. From Mariah Carey to Nicki Minaj to Whitney Houston to Destiny’s Child to Janet Jackson, the list goes on. When reminiscing about the artists who inspired her the most, Lamionté reflects on how women specifically are her biggest influences. 


“I feel like women just give so much creatively and artistically on the stage,” she said.


Lamionté continued, “I feel like men don’t do as much or aren’t expected to do as much when it comes to fashion, or whether that’s [on] the stage or whatever. And I feel like women just do it bigger and better. So yeah, it’s the girls, all the girlies.”


With such a passion stoked so early on in her life, it is no surprise that Lamionté’s first song available for streaming came before she even finished high school. Titled “Love Letter,” Lamionté recalls it being a rather fun song that wasn’t necessarily personal but was the step she needed to take to throw herself into her musical aspirations fully. 


Lamionté’s dedication to her craft spoke for itself, as she taught herself how to use GarageBand in her later high school years, learning how to mix sounds. “I [saw] a bunch of kids doing things that they were passionate about, like, there were people who were just artists. They just drew pictures or painted and had people pay them for it,” she said. “And I was really inspired. And I was like, ‘Well, if these people can go out there and do it, then why can’t I?’” 

photo by kollin battle // model: lamionté

Ever so determined, she blasted on social media that she was dropping an album — mind you, this was before the album was made. “Because I had gone on social media and said I’m dropping [an album], I literally felt like I had to do it,” she said. “It wasn’t a lie. I was like, going to do it. […] But I’m glad I [announced] it because it pushed me to get going on it. I [ended up] creating just a bunch of songs in the span of three months.”


Four years later, Lamionté is as proud of that first album now as she was then. Granted, she recognizes her growth over the years, pointing out ways she could’ve made her debut track better. “I’ve learned so much about production and how things are supposed to be done and how they should be sounded and I was kind of rushing it back then,” she said. 


As a result, she took her first two albums off of streaming services and is undergoing an ongoing project reproducing and re-recording songs from her first album. “A mixtape of sorts” is how she describes it. She plans on releasing the mixtape this summer — highlighting the reproduced music in addition to new songs. “I just know some of my songs could be better and knowing what I know now about it, I feel like I could fully do it justice and do it way better than how I did it,” she said.  

photo by kollin battle // model: lamionté

When you listen to Lamionté speak about her dreams, goals and projects, you can’t help but question how she is able to do it all. There’s such a high level of assurance in her voice as she speaks of her plans — like she can see the future as clear as day. With as many plans as she has, you would think she would stumble in finding enough inspiration to keep her fountain of vision running, but on the contrary, she finds sources of inspiration in every aspect of life. “My inspiration comes from just life. My personal experiences and also conversation — I love talking to people,” she said. 


Sometimes, an idea will be sparked and she will record a song immediately, not even bothering to write out the lyrics — it’s something that comes from the heart. “I want certain people to hear my shit and feel it,” Lamionté expressed. “You know, if I’m having conversations with people, and they’re feeling heartbroken or sad, or whatever they’re going through with someone, then I know that other people are probably feeling that way as well. So I’m like, let me create stuff that can be something that’s like a universal feeling or an emotion.”


“That’s always my goal,” she continued. “Just to be relatable.” As a proud Black trans woman, Lamionté acknowledges the difficulty of creating music that resonates with listeners beyond the confines of her identity. Though many of her songs are about love, she talks about her insecurities when it comes to men, expressing that she often “feels invisible” or that men view her “as a thing [instead of] the actual woman that [she is] and knows [herself] to be.”


Even amidst the Black community, Lamionté feels a level of ostracization due to her trans identity, amounting to sometimes feeling as if “you’re not human at times in the Black community.” Rather than let these experiences hinder her, she uses them to make art. “Lyrically, what I tap into is the yearning that I have to be a part of that world where I feel like I exist to people or where I exist to men because I often feel very invisible to men,” she shared. “[I also tap into] imagination. I think when you’re not really having certain experiences you can tap into your imagination. You can either be sad about it or feel bad about it, which I definitely have days like that. Or you can tap into your imagination that might make art out of it.”


Behind the head-bopping rhythm and masterful lyricism, you can hear the vulnerability in her words. “There definitely is vulnerability within my lyrics, and I definitely make sure to incorporate that,” she said. “Because I feel like it’s lying in my heart. And I feel like I have to have fun with this creative endeavor, but I also want to be real and I want to be raw. I want to put my heart and my truth into it in whatever way that I can and as boldly as I can.”

photo by kollin battle // model: lamionté

Add all this pressure on top of the already inevitable struggles a musician faces — an emerging one at that — and the frustrations appear insurmountable. This then begs the question, how does she do it? Through the ups and downs, the pain, the frustration, how does Lamionté get up each day and keep treading forward? “[It’s] the vision,” she stated. 


“I just kind of have the hope and the dream. The dream keeps me going, God keeps me going [and] the universe [keeps me going],” she continued. “I just want to keep building and be better. I think, for me, I always want to just be better than who I was yesterday. […] I really would just love to be an inspiration or something people look to for inspiration.”


As Lamionté prepares to release her newest album — a three-year project in the making — she’s excited to introduce to the world a new side of her. “With the upcoming album, I feel like I’ve never known myself more musically, ever,” she said. “It’s like, there are layers to it and it’s unique and it’s different and it’s creative. […] I just want people to hear it and feel good. I want people to hear it and be inspired, you know?”

photo by kollin battle // model: lamionté

Her passion alone is inspiring enough, but with the sheer level of veracity she has poured into her upcoming project, Lamionté hopes to truly leave a mark on the hearts of listeners more deeply than ever before. 


“I’m excited for all of it. I just want the album to come out. I just want people to hear the music. […] And I’m so excited to perform these songs too. I just really…it’s the whole experience,” she expressed. “This has really been a journey but I finally got it to a place where I’m happy with the direction. I have the story. I have everything and I’m sticking to it and I’m secure in it, and I’m ready to go with it.”

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Hi! I’m Catie Pusateri, A Magazine’s editor-in-chief. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.