In the midst of several “gangsta rap” records dominating radio waves and the internet, there is a glimmer of hope for wholesome hip hop. Behind each of her tracks is a message, as Michigan femcee, Lady SmilesÂ puts on her strong face, picking up her microphone every day. Not only is she one of the brightest stars on the up-and-coming Lansing, Michigan hip hop scene, Lady Smiles is also the woman her younger sisters count on.
Overcoming a childhood of tragedy, Lady Smiles is more than willing to tell her story to anyone who will listen. The main message, which emerges through every song and every conversation with Lady Smiles is how to smile through the pain. While Lady Smiles is relatively young, she has had more hardships than most people twice her age. Never does Lady Smiles claim to be perfect, but she deserves her credit for making the most out of a bad situation.
Recently, Hip Hop Vibe had the fortune of being introduced to Lady Smiles. Immediately, it was decided that Lady Smiles had to discuss with us, if she wanted to, her music and her life. Fortunately, she agreed and gave us an inspirational story to tell.
Read the entire interview below:
Can you tell us about your upcoming albums, Game On and Lead by the Best? Game On is an album I put together about everything I haveÂ been though and how I learned from it. Iâ€™m not worried about the small things and people doubting me or against me. It displays my growth as an individual and tells a story about me going forward with my life and ready to take on anything, thatâ€™s why I called it Game On, because its components on your team and others you are their target. Iâ€™m giving my all and going after my dreams and goals, without giving up on myself.
Lead by the Best is a mixtape Iâ€™m putting together basically to acknowledge my idols, Keyshia Cole and Nicki Minaj. They came along way and inspired many people with their music and great personalities, and they influenced me to believe in myself and toÂ never give up. With the mixtape, I want to give back and try to inspire others, because people like hearing realistic life events that people overcome and their journey to success. Lead by the BestÂ isÂ dedicated to Keyshia Cole and Nicki Minaj thanking them.
What is the inspiration behind your albums? My mother and sisterÂ are the inspiration behind my albums. My first album I Have Survived, basically was meÂ telling my childhood story along with dealing with my family deaths. How I was struggling, had many regrets, and at times didnâ€™t want to live anymore. I wrote music about how I felt, internally and mentally, since my music is like my diary or counseling. My second album Game On, I just began to think what will my mom or sister think of me and feel about the things I have accomplished. Then, how they wouldnâ€™t want me to be sad or give up, so I started pushing myself and have the mind setting Iâ€™m here and headed to the top.
Do you intend to release more albums following these two? Yes I intend to release more albums, theseÂ were just an introduction, so people can know who I am as an artist, and understand me better and see what I have to offer as an up-and-coming new artist.
What do you hope listeners gain from listening to your music? I hope listeners gain that no matter your situation, or the things that happen during your childhood, anything is possible as long as you believe in yourself. You have control over your life and the final results, I explain my story, and different moments I witness and hope people take it to lift them up and chase after their dreams. I want them to gain motivation and encouragement. I can do anything I set my mind to.
What keeps you going every day? My family, being a big sister and having to play the mother figure for my little sisters, it encourages me to do the things my mom and sister did and beyond, so I can be that positive role model in their life. Also being an aunt, Iâ€™m doing things my family didnâ€™t do, so Iâ€™m beginning to break the cycle and allow my family to follow in my footsteps.
In your teeange years, you lost your mother and sister to a heart condition? Yes, I lost my mom in 2004 and sister in 2007 to a heart condition called Marfan Syndrome. It is a genetic disease of the connective tissues causes defects of the heart valves and aorta. They had to take medication to slow down the process of the heart valves and aorta dilation, but had to have surgery when it reached 5cm in growth. My mom had four heart surgeries and my sister had two. My younger sister has same heart condition and she continues to get treatment to monitor her heart progress.
How often do you think about your lost loved ones? I think about them everything day, it’s hard at times, because I wish I had more time with them and fell like I missed out on the family life growing up with mom and siblings, like everyone else, but it was moreÂ of her beingÂ in the hospital andÂ us living with other family members. I hurts the most on their birthday, the day they died, and holidays because it not the same since they haveÂ been gone.
After experiencing so much pain, how do you move forward and then give yourself the name, ‘Lady Smiles? I always have been a happy person and good at never revealing my pain or struggles. I see it as everything happen for a reason, even though I donâ€™t like it or understand at the moment, things only can get better. I donâ€™t use my past as sympathy but as inspiration. I want to fulfil what I said I will do and thatâ€™s what pushes me to keep trying. I chose Lady Smiles because it fits me best, you will always see me smile, no matter what, because I made myself that way to donâ€™t let anything bring me down or upset me, I rather smile to keep from crying.
Can you talk about the lessons in life you learned at an early age? I learned that people are not going to believe in you, but you canâ€™t let them influence you to change who you are. I also learned that nothing guaranteed in life anything can happen, and you have to stay strong and know how to recover from any situation. You have to donâ€™t depend on people to get ahead; independent is the safe way because you canâ€™t trust any and everybody.
What is your favorite song so far in your career? My favorite song is “Iâ€™m not Afraid.” This song is my breaking out my fears of life and making mistakes and just living life one day at a time. The song also talks about howÂ I canâ€™t please everyone, so somebodyÂ is notÂ going to like me, but since I have the supportive friends and family it really doesnâ€™t matter. Iâ€™m just enjoying life.
Aside from your own music, are you featured on records from anyone else? At the moment Iâ€™m not featured on records from anyone else, I just been trying to get my own albums together and situated but in the near feature I will be open toÂ working withÂ other artists.