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Toosii:Creating legacy, brick-by-brick

by HQ

"It's who I am. It's personal."

Wrapping up his first headline tour in Europe, Nau’Jour Lazier Grainger, known artistically as Toosii, released the eponymously named album NAUJOUR in June. With the lead single of the 19-track album, “Favorite Song,” having a major moment in the music industry, recently becoming 2x RIAA-Certified Platinum. The songs combined global streams has surpassed 960 million, while the audio which went viral on TikTok has earned more than three billion combined views. Is this predicting the albums undeniable success?

“That’s what makes the music so personal; it’s all real-life stuff,” talking life experiences and detailing anecdotes, Toosii uses inspiration from his own life on the streets, moving from motel to motel, love, and heartbreak. Moving from Syracuse, New York to Raleigh, North Carolina at a young age, Toosii parallels his journey as an artist to the building of the Great Pyramids, “built brick-by-brick,” telling me that his career is “all slowly coming together.” Detailing how his trajectory in life pointed him in the right direction, he says, “the moment I dropped out of school is when I knew that music was my path.” It was in North Carolina where Toosii started to become inspired by other artists, “I listen to all genres of music, they all influence my style of writing and music. I listen to a lot of J Cole and Chance The Rapper.”

Unlike his previous 13-track mixtape Platinum Heart and 20-track deluxe version, which was entirely freestyle, Toosii has taken a different approach to NAUJOUR, “I didn’t freestyle much when putting together NAUJOUR. I wrote some of the songs in the studio and the rest of them were written at home.” The album feels more curated and considered, the songs have a story to tell, it gives the listeners an expanded perspective of Toosii. His own feelings on what the album represents is straight forward, he simply says, “It’s who I am. It’s personal.” Expect to feel deeply, to lose yourself in meaning, to learn more about the self-described open book. Outside his personal experiences, Toosii talks processes and the assembling of the album, “I wouldn’t say I faced any struggles during the creative process for NAUJOUR,” he draws attention to those he works with, “the hardest part really was putting the album out, it takes a whole team effort to put together an album.”

"They can expect for me to be the best artist in the world!"

The 19-track album comes with features and remixes, including a new version of “Favorite Song” with multi-Platinum artist Khalid. Toosii’s record label, Capitol Records, describes the remix as two artists blending “beautifully” together, Khalid adds a “poignant verse, pledging his steadfast support to someone aching for love and peace.” Talking to Toosii about the collaborations, he states that the “collaborations came later on…I usually do my own thing, I don’t usually care much for features.” However, he expresses how “great a feeling” it is to work alongside artists such as Khalid on “Favorite Song” and 21 Savage featured on “Pull Up.” “It’s nice to have artists involved who are staples in the game,” he says. “It’s an honour to have them featured on my first debut album.” 

With songs like “Red Lights,” “Sapiosexual,” and “What It Cost” having already captured the public’s attention, in the midst of recording NAUJOUR, his single “Favorite Song” resonated with fans and new listeners. The track hit No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Billboard Rap Streaming Songs and Hot Rap Songs charts, foretelling the success ahead of the album’s release. Finishing his overseas tour in Europe, playing at some of the greats such as O2 Forum Kentish Town in London, STAGEBOX in Copenhagen, and Hole 44 in Berlin, Toosii’s tour doesn’t stop there. He begins his tour of his home country, the United States, making appearances at The Midway in San Francisco, House of Blues in Las Vegas, and a hometown homage at The Ritz in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

Growing success in the music industry leaves open questions of what’s to come, what spaces to watch out for, with confidence and certainty, he responds, “They can expect for me to be the best artist in the world!” Along with his growing success in the music industry, Toosii teases the idea of extending himself, expanding his avenues, “I’d like to branch out into other careers, something like acting, real estate down in Dallas, and fashion. Some of my favourite designers right now are Prada, Dior, and Gallery Department.” Ending the interview, he toys with the idea of exploration, boldly saying, “it all really depends on the day!”

Photographer: Minh Nguyen
Stylist: Jenn Tachav
MUA & Hair Stylist: Tomoyo Shionome
Writer: Emily-Rose Payne
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