undaground archives

Born Marvin Burns, the man that helped build Chicago house as Lil Louis, is an undeniable culture legend. His seminal hits "Deep Kiss," "War Games" or "Club Lonely" represent the pinnacle of house music classics and stretch the boundaries of the genre's style as no other. We conducted this interview in Spring 2006, as he was about to perform his final DJ appearance in New York City and go into retirement after his 30th year in the business. Defiant, open and focused on the future we meet the legend at a crossroad and share the details below.

May 2006

So we’re chit-chatting with Lil Louis on the occasion of your 30th Anniversary Farewell tour, how’s that been going?

Lil Louis: It’s going very well but it’s a bit more emotional than I anticipated. A lot of people are having a bit more difficulty with it than I am. It’s kind of ironic, that I have become inspired now that I am retiring. I’ve been doing a lot of special editing. It’s a wonderful feeling because I’m not leaving because I’ve been pushed out. I’m leaving because I am evolving. I think that’s the best way to move forward in life. That’s what I chose to do.

How do you know people are having a hard time? Are they emotional at your gigs?

LL: Yeah, there has been a lot of crying. A lot of tears shed. Many beautiful things. Some of the top DJs have come out to support me. There’s a lot of disbelief. A lot of people are not willing to accept that I’m not going to ever DJ again.

Oh boy Really not ever? Not even a one-off?

LL: No. I’m really embracing self. So excited about walking into that and being an author. You know, I have four books in my head and stuff that I’m finishing. This way I can share the entire picture with you because my greatest frustration with music has always been that I can’t provide the visual. I provide the backdrop, I can’t show the colors. But with film, I can actually show you the color. I can give you a better taste of what it smells like.

(Laughs) But, you haven’t been touring a lot lately have you? Especially not here in the States.

LL: I’ve been doing most of them overseas. I kinda took a break in America only because there are only-24 hours in a day and I’ve been writing this book for about five years. I really didn’t want to tell anyone what I was doing because I knew everyone in my circle would tell me I was an idiot, or absolutely crazy for giving it up. Sometimes when you are, in my opinion, destined for greatness or reaching for greatness, you have to accept that it’s a lonely road. Because the majority of people, I think, are afraid of greatness.

Yes and to take chances, or to be different. That’s a very true statement. So let’s head back to the beginning. You were born in 1962. Into a big family?

LL: Yes, seven brothers and two sisters. Mom and dad have been together now married for close to 47 years. It started with them cause my father Francis Lewis, Is a musician out of Chicago. He and my mother used to do a lot of gigs and they were signed for a minute. At some point they gave up the business. My mother discovered God and decided she wanted to give it up and my father followed shortly after. Which honestly I think he regrets to some degree. But he tried to continue his legacy by forcing the kids to do music. (Laughs) And I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to play basketball. That is what I thought my destiny was.

You were a sportsman!

LL: Yeah, I was a sports fanatic! I still play a lot. But I realized [in my] early teens that music was part of my fabric. I couldn’t get away from it. So…

Where are you in the lineup of the nine?

LL: 5… I’m Right in the middle.

Wow the typical middle child – over-achiever, different.

LL: You know what’s interesting? I think that I have this uh, this blend of middle child and the oldest because I’ve taken the majority of the risk in my family. My big brother for instance, calls me ‘big brother’ and so does my big sister. My mom put a lot of responsibility on me early on by telling me I was the leader of the family. Of course then, I didn’t really embrace it but now I really embrace it, wholeheartedly. So it’s an interesting role. And it also [creates] more loneliness on my part because when I get down or when things are arduous for me, I don’t really have..

Anyone to go to.

LL: Yeah and even if I try they’ll be looking at me like ‘Louis, that’s not you. You always have the answer.’ So that’s tough there. But I also take that responsibility very seriously. I try to keep it right and when it’s not right, I try to get it right - quickly.

What is like to grow up in a family of nine with parents that were musicians but they gave it up? How did you get your early musical influences?

LL: You know it’s interesting. As soon as my mom discovered religion she discarded all the Rhythm & Blues records. Anything that was not Gospel or spiritual, she would not let us listen. She forbid us from listening to it. I think this led to curiosity for myself and my other siblings. With that said, I picked up some music in school. I learned that Gospel, the Blues, Jazz and Classical music are all derived from the same chord progression. So even though it was different music, good music was good music and I felt it. Later on when my mother took the chains off we finally embraced all types music including rock music.

Once the chains came off, what were you into?

LL: I remember the first major record that I fell in love with was Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” I just completely fell in love with him and the whole MOTOWN sound. Even though she didn’t want us to listen to it, she caught the groove on songs every now and again. It was interesting to me that she vacillated and then finally submitted.

Because you’re coming of age in the late sixties and early seventies and there’s nothing but change going on, nothing but great music coming out…

LL: Absolutely.

So that must have been a crazy thing to be hearing music in the ‘street’ and not be able to jam music at home - freely.

LL: Right it was.

You weren’t much older than eight before your mom put you on the turntables for the first time, right?

LL: Yeah, I was 12 years old when that happened. By that time, it was understood that our family was a musical family. The good thing about my mother is she never turned a deaf ear to [my] needs and wants. She had her opinions but she always listened and I think in that listening, she allowed us to grow. I was born on Mother’s Day, so she’s my best friend. By the time I came of age in reference to myself as a DJ, my mother was actually into parties.

She was back with a vengeance!

LL: Yeah, she was a community worker and she used to give these parties primarily so that we could heal the community. On our block, the reason why there was so much violence and hatred was because people didn’t know each other. She provided a forum for people to get to know one another. So she could eliminate some of the angst. It was a novel concept, but when you have rival gangs involved you’re going to have a bit more friction than you anticipate.

And is that what ended up happening?

LL: Yeah, we had a couple of incidents. And the reason why I was summoned to DJ was because my sister’s boyfriend had a seizure – an epileptic fit, and they hauled him off to the hospital. I was serving punch and I stuck the spoon in his month so he wouldn’t swallow his tongue. After that the gangs got really rowdy and threatened to shoot up the place and my mom told me to run and put a song on. And that’s how the career started! I played this song by Kool & The Gang and the reaction that I got from it, that was enough for me. I knew that was what I wanted to do.

NY club culture begins the story with Francis Grasso and The Loft, what’s the beginning of clubbing for you in Chicago?

LL: It’s R&B, it was strictly R&B. I started before disco. I know that kinda dates me, but it is what it is. We were doing a lot of boogying, back in Chicago. But it was very segmented, very compartmentalized. You had this compartment with the black people, that compartment with the white people, you had that compartment with the Latin people. At some point when dance music came or disco came of age, I think that’s when we started mixing, co-mingling if you will.

In reference to house music out of Chicago, Frankie and I are credited with starting it because we go back further than most anyone else. Frankie actually had his name because he was playing at this place called Carol’s Speakeasy. And I was playing at places like River’s Edge, The Galaxy or Jim Grand in the early to mid-seventies. On July 12, 1979 disco was declared dead in Chicago. I remember that they had this big explosion and they blew up like 100,000 records in Kaminski Park.

Yes, and what did you think when that happened?

LL:  That it wasn’t dead! That I was not going to allow it to die. As far as I was concerned, July 13, 1979 was when house music was really born.

That’s a good interpretation of that pivotal moment in time.

LL: Yeah it was a very interesting moment. Because what also happened for me, and I think for a few other DJs, is everything slowed to a near grind. The same party that could draw 1000 people or 2000 people in before, I had a 50 or 100 people at. There were two genres of music that really took over in a major way. One was rap with “Rappers Delight” and the second was rock. Rock music came back with a vengeance and we were hurt. A lot of people jumped ship. I loved the feeling of dance music so much, that I wasn’t ready to resign.

But your crowd resigned on you because they were now embarrassed or felt like it wasn’t cool anymore to be part of that.

LL: Absolutely. That was what I realized about the audience. The audience is definitely day-to-day. I don’t want to use the word fickle. We are what we eat. What we see, is what we do. You have to give them something beautiful to dine on. To feed them.

I think the foundation of house music is that we simplified disco. Took some of the orchestration out and we still gave you the same raw essence of it. We got back on the one. I think that’s what brought it back.

It’s just weird how it works, because I was completely naive. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and anyone who says they did, is lying. Jessie [Saunders], Frankie [Knuckles], none of us knew what was happening. We just knew we were continuing the movement.

I think I’m the one with the balls to say that. You know everyone is an expert – fifteen years after the fact. But you become an expert by making mistakes. I was mentored by this guy and the reason he was my mentor was because he fucked up more than I did. He showed me what not to do. I think the same things holds true with parenting and the same thing holds true with art. It’s a series of mistakes. The people that are willing to go through those mistakes will prosper.

So, it’s said that you have very strong beliefs and an unwillingness to compromise. So much so that, you were fired quite a bit in the early years.

LL: Oh yeah, for the first five or six years, I was fired from nearly every job I was at. It was amazing.

Would that be something you would change now?

LL: No!

Of course not!

LL: No, that’s why I’m retiring and people think I’m crazy. But I feel that I need to continue and I need to evolve. I have really kind of apexed in music. Not to say that I can’t do more things that would be musical; but I need a challenge. I need to feel naive. I need to feel that something is going to grab me, and overwhelm me. Give me that constant orgasm.

Good point! So, you went to school for a while what were you thinking about doing then?

LL:  Advertising and sound engineering. I majored in advertising and minored in sound engineering. The reason was because I was doing clubs, restaurants and business so I figured I should learn how to effectively market my product to gain an edge over my competitors. There is a conventional way of promoting and then there’s a functional way. I think the functional way is better. We can’t reinvent the wheel necessarily and I didn’t understand the steps involved. I just knew how to get down. How to sacrifice my body, and my time. School taught me how to do it more efficiently, how to optimize my time.

Do you dance or do you just spin and that’s it?

LL: You know, I’m a private dancer. (Laughs) If I hit a line that I really love I’ll get up and start dancing my ass off. People don’t really believe that about me because they think I’m very serious, very focused… introverted. But I am actually a silly little child. I just don’t show that much and the main reason I don’t is I think people don’t appreciate being like children out here. It’s so jaded nowadays. And a lot of people have angles.

You’ve always had to be so stoic anyway, so I guess its hard for you to bust out of that easily.

LL: It is, it absolutely is. My circle is very small and I do embrace being an extrovert but the people inside my circle know who I really am.

When the time came to choose between music and sports, it wasn’t much of a choice because you got hurt, but what was that time like for you?

LL: It was very heavy. I was very sad. It was a very paradoxical moment. On one hand I knew that I had something with music but to let go of sports after I had applied talent to play, and I always had the confidence in myself to play, it was very disheartening. I had to invoke what God taught me, which is if you’re gonna be great, then do one thing at a time. You have to master one at a time.

Right, ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ if you don’t do it right.

LL: Absolutely. I decided let’s focus on this music thing and I realized that He gave me a gift and I owed Him that.

How did you teach yourself to be great at music?

LL: A lot of it was innate. Definitely a lot was acquired through my father. Some of it was school but I think the majority of it is a feel thing - there’s a pulse, and a rhythm. If you allow yourself to receive it, the learning is in the openness. I say all that to say, I think most of what I am is a conduit. I think God gives you a talent, everyone, and you have a window for that talent. That’s why I am retiring, thirty years is a big window. I think it’s time to move on to the next talent to optimize that window. It was a struggle but it was beautiful.

So let’s move to the first record you produced, what was it?

LL: Oh wow! The very first thing I did that came out was a song by Hercules called “7 Ways To Jack.”

My very first anthem. Tell us how that one came to be.

LL: I was known in Chicago as big time editor. I took a lot of dance or disco music and just reworked it; re-edited it. It was crazy because we didn’t have machines back then and I had to edit on an analog cassette deck which was retarded now that I think about it. Because of mechanical operations it took me five days to do First Choice’s “Let No Man Put Asunder”. Because I became highly regarded for editing, people started approaching me to do edits and mixes for their songs and Hercules was one that came to me. I like the song so I put my own touch on it.

They came to you with the words on a page and you did what with it?

LL: Well they came to me with the words, chord progressions and some of the drum programming and I just added a few touches on there than what it was originally. I made it a little more raw.

Well, you definitely did your thing on that. Well done! What came next before the label?

LL:  I did a few songs in between… “Music Takes U Away” then “War Games.”

“War Games” was very electronic. How did you come to that? Were you responding to the music style at the time?

LL: “War Games” came about because the more I delved inside the experiences of war, the more I realized that it was a game. A very big chess match with high-profile players with not that much regard for the lower denomination.

Yes, the people that actually fight.

LL: Right that’s what I wrote about. I guess it was kind of a song of frustration which is why it was really aggressive and electronic.

Do you consider that techno or the birth of techno for yourself?

LL: You know what’s interesting - now that I’m retiring I’mma call it like it is, whenever I hear about Detroit being the birthplace of techno it makes me laugh. Because quite frankly, a lot of their cues they caught from Chicago. Most of the well-to-do guys, came to Chicago to listen to Frankie, myself or Ron Hardy. That’s another reason why I’ve never done an auto-biography or history of house music things because I know the truth and a lot of people are trying to take credit for things they didn’t start. I do think the birth of that derived from Chicago and beyond that, also from NY. If you think about Kraftwerk, there were a lot of things coming out of Europe and we were emulating or getting influenced by that.

My notion is there is no one creator of house music. There is no one creator of anything. But for the creator, you know what I mean? I had a hand in it. Other people had hands in it, maybe my hand was a little bigger but there were other people that influenced me.

Like who?

LL:Led Zeppelin, I definitely would credit The Doors. I was in love with Jim Morrison. I still am in love with Jim Morrison. Nat King Cole, Marvin Gaye, Minnie Riperton was a very heavy influence on me. Just her sensuality was amazing and the innocence of that sensuality. Those were my primary influences, then the secondary influences would be Kraftwerk, Frankie Goes To Hollywood. I really liked that experience. Trevor Horn more than anything. Because I thought Trevor was an absolute genius in producing. Some of my approach is definitely attributed and influenced by him.

Speaking of influences, let’s discuss the explosive “French Kiss.” Tell us what inspired that record?

LL: Well what inspired that record was a conversation I had with a young lady I was sexually involved with. She and I were talking about sex and just kind of playing around on the phone. She was telling me about a previous experience with this guy who was so excited by her body - she had a beautiful body - he literally came when she took her clothes off. He was a very handsome guy so she gave him one more shot and the second time he was cool. [Until] she held him and he started trembling and she was like “Oh no, don’t do it!” Then she broke it off. She kept talking about their relationship experience [versus] ours which was more slow, a lot more foreplay and a lot more… duration.

When she said that, I started slowing this groove down, which happened to be “French Kiss.” I was making the beat when she called. I slowed it down. Then I sped it up. I said ‘hold up.’ Then I dropped the phone, it blew my mind! I told her I have to go; I’ll call you back. I started visualizing our conversation and I wanted to convey the thoughts of that conversation to the track. So I invited her to the studio and we had a session. It was just she and I, and it was live. I wanted to get as close to what we felt as I possibly could.

O-kay, then it should not come (no pun intended) as any surprise that that record sold millions.

LL: You know what’s interesting? I really, really was caught off guard by the amount of records sold. I had no idea that it would sell 5 million copies. But that said, I felt that I had something special. I don’t focus on money when I create, I focus on purpose. I think when you have purpose money follows purpose.

Right, integrity.

LL: Absolutely.

That was purely created and touched everybody because there was nothing else involved but the message and the impetus behind it. That’s a beautiful thing. Glad we got that story, I don’t think anybody has heard that before…

LL: Definitely. Yeah, I’m sharing some nuggets with you now.

I love that. It’s what the Archives are all about. Moving on, talk about what the music business was like back then.

LL: It was heavy. The term gangster - I learned all about that in the music industry. It was a higher level of gangster. I tell people, ‘You think you know gangs?’ If you really want to show how tough you are, let me take you to Italy. We’ll see how long you last out there. The music industry is very serious. It’s a system that doesn’t vary much and you have to learn that system in order to prosper.

How do you define that system?

LL: I think it’s a system that can be oppressive. It can be because most people aren’t knowledge-bound first – you learn the lesson after the fact. With me, I was kind of fortunate because I put out songs on an independent level, that scored a little bit. Then I did my homework. By the time the majors came to me, I was ready. I was completely prepared for the experience. And it ended up being a beautiful experience.

It was arduous because you lose a little bit of your creative essence by virtue of the fact that executives - who aren’t really musicians, make the decisions. That’s fair too because you have to have someone who understands the numbers. Once you area able to blend the music with the business, then it’s an easy experience. The process is just blending the two.

What did you do to prepare yourself when there wasn’t a how-to book about the business? Did you do research, hire a lawyer?

LL: I hired an attorney and then I made him teach me entertainment law. I paid per hour to learn every single word of that contract. I bought a law dictionary and learned every single word. I went back to school and learned entertainment law. That’s why I said I did the homework. By the time I was negotiating, I didn’t even need a lawyer to negotiate for me.

It was a great experience but it was overwhelming. I don’t want to make it any simpler than it was but because my life has been overwhelming, it wasn’t unfamiliar. I could function in that.

What was it like to be platinum at the very beginning of your career?

LL: I discovered all these cousins! (Laughs) I think the most interesting thing is how people changed around me. I still eat with my fingers, you know? I still don’t really care what fork I should eat with. So it was really amazing to see how many people changed around me. Especially people that were not there when I was struggling. Then all of a sudden they were my biggest fans.

Well how did they know?

LL: They knew. The scene in Chicago – even though it’s a metropolis – is rather small and the word spreads. When one person prospers it gets out. You find women just coming up to you with envelopes with panties in them, the whole nine. It wasn’t my advertisement but they found out.

Did you make a lot of money?

LL: I did pretty well. My version of a lot of money is…

Is Oprah money!

LL: My version is like, $30 - $40 Billion dollars. Anything short of that, is doing ok.

Did you make your first million off those records?

LL: I did pretty well. I didn’t do too bad.

That’s it huh?

LL: Yes.

Okay, let’s go to the albums. What was the inspiration for FROM THE MIND OF LIL LOUIS?

LL: I didn’t know. I had no idea. I had ten days to make the whole album. I didn’t have a clue what the hell I was doing. I was just in the studio; I grew an afro. It was the craziest experience of my life.

Why only 10 days?

LL: Momentum. Because the song shot up the charts so quickly, Sony/Polygram wanted a follow-up. They wanted the album to drop so they could make money. It was as simple as that.

The second album, I was much more proud of because I took my time with it. I knew where I was going. I knew exactly what I wanted to say and I conveyed that.

That was JOURNEY WITH THE LONELY. It was certified gold and the chart-topping single “Club Lonely” is still getting played.

LL: It was definitely a hit record and people have been playing it a lot. Much more than I anticipated. I made it in 1992, and we’re in 2006.  

How did you connect with Joi Cardwell to sing on that record?

LL: I discovered her at an audition. I was looking for a singer for the second album and I did two castings and she came for the second. I had written the song already and when I heard her singing, I knew she was the right voice for that song.

You perform on your own records, a little spoken word. Do you sing also?

LL:  A little bit, yeah.

Is that hard to do?

LL: It’s not difficult but it’s not something I prefer doing. I don’t embrace that calling. Quite frankly, I always enjoy being in the back that’s why I like being an author or the DJ because you have that layer, you know what I mean?

So then you go on to work with major artists like Babyface, Meshell [Ndegeocello] or Jay-Z, what were those experiences like? For those remix projects did you bring them in to studio or did you just work with the tracks?

LL: With the majority of them I did, because I wanted the personal experience. I wanted to transfer energy. I thought it was real important to do that. Even now, I’m very particular about the projects I take on or that I am involved with. With Meshell for instance, I really wanted to get her essence because I thought she had a message in there. The same with Babyface.

Babyface is a real heavy dude. Did you learn anything from him that you want to share?

LL: You know what was interesting? He was very professional that was the one thing I really admired. We didn’t discourse too much, but I found that we had a lot in common. Like our approach to music, just keeping It simple, making sure the story was told. He reconfirmed what my father taught me about the essence of music and reiterated how wise my dad was. But the lessons had already been instilled.

On to another one of your singers, Kimara Lovelace and “Misery.” How did that come about?

LL: Well I actually wrote the song because I was breaking up with someone at the time - a Scorpio - and we had a very intense relationship. It was extremely intense. It came to the point where it wasn’t good and I was very unhappy. I wanted to get out of it. I wanted the stinger off of me.

I’m sorry for all of us!

LL: It’s fine because I think the zodiac only makes up 50% of a person, the other 50% are experiences. So this just happened to be very, very dark, and if you expect tragedy you make it. She sought tragedy and it ended up like that.

Well it made another great song.

LL: No question. I always look at it as a blessing, it’s material.

So how was it to work with Kimara?

LL: It was good but it was trying. I wanted to push her a little bit. [We were recording] on Mother’s Day and I guess she had a little angst because she wanted to be with her children, and I needed what I needed. It was one of those experiences that afterwards was very good but she realized there’s a reason my music sounds the way it does; I am a perfectionist. I wanted everything I could get from her. It ended up being good though.

Your music-making esthetic is simple, spontaneous and pure. Who do you think is carrying on that tradition now that you are going to leave us?

LL: I love Osunlade. I love his approach to music. Erro is a very dear friend of mine and I think he is a very gifted individual. DJ Yellow is one of the most soulful cats I know. A few people, but I don’t want to drop too many names.

That’s fair. As music transitions into the digital-age, do you think the business is growing and evolving the way it should?

LL: I don’t think it’s growing or evolving the way it should. Part of the reason why dance music is the smallest genre of music that exists – and people may get upset but I don’t care  – the reason for that is because the majority of the people who run it or are involved in it at a high-level capacity, think small.


LL: I’ve always said that I can sell a million copies of a dance record but everyone back in the day told me I was crazy. And when it happened, they still thought it was a fluke. I think the reason why the artists around me dissipated – I’m talking about artists who also got deals [at the time] –  is because they didn’t think that way. They never thought that way to begin with. Now people qualify a hit as a 1000 or 2000 records, and if that’s what you think a hit is, then that’s what you’re gonna go for.

That’s also why I’m delving into film. The same struggle exists from a film perspective, when you talk about urban films. For instance, there are not that many people, let alone directors who believe an urban film can make $100 Million. The average movie like a Soul Plane is budgeted out for like $4-5 Million and then they expect to make no more than $30-$40 Million and I think that lends itself to the buffoonery. What I plan on doing is I’m gonna make good films. I’m not going to approach it from a black perspective. I’m not writing a black book, I’m gonna write good books. “French Kiss” or “Club Lonely” weren’t black songs. I don’t believe in black art. I think that if you have urban experiences, it’s going to come through.

I say all that to come back around to answer your question.  I think we are in a state of tiny because we’re thinking small. We don’t expect much. I’m saddened by that honestly because I think we built a great model and if we had more leadership and more of a ‘village’ mentality, instead of all the cut-throat shit that goes on it would be better. It’s really not about me; it never was. That’s why I said earlier, I didn’t invent house music and I’m the first one to say that. Now I will say, when you check history you’ll see my name first before you see the majority of these other guys because ’74 is a long way off. It was part of a movement and we were all involved in that movement. I just wish we could get back to that.

I think we have to get back to the essence of the product. I think we need to stop trying to be so damn deep and just express ourselves. I find that dance music has turned into this deep conversation you know where you see people who are trying to be deep but they really aren’t; because there trying too hard. Everything I hear now is so deep that it’s shallow. We need to just get back to what are you? Who are you? What are you trying to say? Let’s convey that and put that to tape. If we challenge ourselves to get back to ourselves, the medium won’t go away.

I’ll miss your contribution the most because of that. So many people I talk to now because of this site tell me they just do this for fun and bring no professionalism to it. Or ideas on how to keep it moving forward. I hope when you start making movies, that you’ll include some house or dance music on the soundtrack at least.

LL: No question. I’ll definitely have some elements of that but honestly the last seven eight years I have delved more into classical [music]. The soundtracks are going to be more serious arrangements. The other thing too is I don’t want any thought or hint of predictability. I don’t want people to think that just because I come from dance music, then that is what I'm going to do. I love the element of surprise. Just like when I was working with Jay-Z. Because the last thing someone expected me to do is produce Jay-Z.

How was that?

LL: It was good. I believed in Jay from the beginning. I always thought he was an amazingly gifted lyricist. Regardless of the music. You could put Country/Western [music] under Jay-Z and it still rings true because of what he does, because of what he brings. He’s one the greatest storytellers of this or any era. It was quite an experience. Just being in a room with him is interesting because we have a similar approach in observing people before you respond. He’s very methodical in his responses and so am I. We didn’t have a chess match but we definitely had an interesting dialog with a lot of metaphors in there.

A lot of heavy meaning that only the two of you understood.

LL: Yeah I think so. It turned esoteric after a couple minutes.

In parting what do you say to others who want to follow in your footsteps?

LL: Face the fear. Embrace the fear. There’s nothing but success and happiness on the other side of it. I think the reason why most people fail is because they don’t embrace the fear; they run from it. Fear is part of it. Don’t compromise. It’s not a quick race. It certainly wasn’t for me.