Artist Interview: Lys Scott

Mack Mendenhall

It’s an honor to interview any rising star, especially when they’re an independent artist. Highlighting the talents of indie artists and sharing their creative projects with others is incredibly rewarding. It’s especially gratifying when you can call them a friend. My friend, Lys Scott, is a Thai, queer, female rapper in Pittsburgh, and she runs the game.

 

I had the privilege of connecting with Lys before her performance at Black Forge Coffee on June 18 in Pittsburgh. She shared with me her unique journey of self-discovery through music.

Photo by Alente Giovanni

Q: Your debut album [squashed dreams & broken wings] came out a year ago! How have you grown as an artist since then?

 

Lys: Yay! One year anniversary hehe. I had a lot to learn considering I grew up in sports, so I understood work ethic, but I did not understand how to execute my time and making my album really taught me that. 

 

Q: And then you released punk kidwell in January. How was the creative process and production different from your first album to your second?

 

Lys: My first album felt like I was meeting myself for the first time; I was learning things about myself like heartbreak, trauma, what brings me joy and happiness, and represented what felt like a conversation with myself. On the second album I definitely just had fun, and the focus was to explore new sounds and new feelings!

Q: What do you consider some of your most personal songs?

Lys: “f l o w e r c h i l d” – it was my first song where I relied on my writing skills to rap. But also gods call” and “an ode to my hoodie,” where I got over just dealing with different issues, like being queer, having depression, feeling lost, and having to persevere over those feelings.

 

Q: So talk about being Thai and being a queer female rapper – what does it mean to you to represent both the LGBTQ+ community and Thai women in hip hop?

 

Lys: I feel like personally, I was never big on labels but I will be honored to accept them. I love being queer, I love being brown and Thai. I love being a woman and identifying as she/he/they. I honestly have a lot of fun with it. I think it is important for people to hear my perspective and see where I am coming from. Especially people who are different than me too. Realistically, I just do it for the younger version of me who was too afraid to own these things sooner. I just hope to become a good role model. Music gave me a place where I belonged because my mom is Thai and my dad is white (Scottish, Irish, and Dutch) and it was hard for me to understand that dynamic growing up and I was often bullied for my eyes or for my skin. The only other Thai person I knew was my grandma, and I was 1/3 of the Asian kids in my high school. So for all those brown queer kids and women, just know I see you and hear you and I relate to you, you are not alone!

Photo by Alente Giovanni

Q: And now you got your own band! How did Lys Scott Deluxe form?

 

Lys: I worked with my band members at restaurants. I was asked to perform at an event one night but I legit only had one song at the time. I said yes anyway and I was gonna perform literally one song. And then I was like, well that’s lame if I just go up there with a mic and one song… and if I’ma do it, I’ma do it. So then my drummer Penguin sat down with me and we turned my poems into 4 other songs so I could perform a five-song set with a live band. I started working with Dom Vaccarelli to make more songs because I knew I could do it after that night. I’m definitely pumped for more live shows with Lys Scott Deluxe (Skyler Brimmeier on guitar, Tyler Marchilena on bass, and Aaron Gillie on drums)! 

Photo by Alente Giovanni

Q: What’s next for you and Lys Scott Deluxe?

Lys: We’re excited to keep performing, and I’m looking forward to growing my fanbase. I want to meet the people who listen to my music! We actually have a show on June 18 at Black Forge Coffee in McKees Rocks alongside Hanna Casasanta, Maleena, and Dr. Clock and the Phantom Tones. On July 23 we are playing the Deutschtown Music Festival. Yay, my first festival! Bookings are currently open, so hit us up if you would like to see us live. And I am definitely working on some new music with a lot of collaborations. I think I smell a new album within the next year…

Lys Scott performs at the newly relocated Government Center record store on the North Side on Friday August 13, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Pittsburgh City Paper)
Stay connected with Lys Scott and her band on Instagram @thelysscott and @lysscottdeluxe. All music can be found on Spotify and Apple Music.

 

Stream Lys Scott’s debut album, squashed dreams & broken wings.

 

Reply