Nailah Howze, photo courtesy artist

A virtuoso if there ever was one, Warren Long (alias “Larrenwong”) recently sat down with Variance to help us make sense of his multifaceted nature. Vocalist, guitarist, pianist, instrumentalist, wordsmith, producer… Just a few descriptors for the Filipino/African American’s musical gifts. 

Imagine a world where someone possesses all that talent; meanwhile, attending the prestigious Northwestern University, then being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks… All whilst having a talent for painting and photography. Yes, ladies, Larrenwong is a real person! We also found it hard to believe. He is also a fashionista, as seen pictured below for TOMBOGO’s FW21 collection at NYFW.

All this accomplished despite being so young, Bay Area’s finest has released his new EP Songs That I Hate To Sing on Friday. So we asked him about the project, music and life.

Fernando Matamoros / Tommy Bogo

Apple Music placed your first single from the album, Deacon, on its top 10 new songs list. How did that feel?

“Bout time,” the R&B artist answered succinctly. Larren has been making “music from the hear” for 11 years; thus, unsurprising are his claims that making music feels “as natural as breathing.” 

Destin Conrad teamed up with Mack Keane and ESTA. for “O.M.L.” We love the song. Unsurprising, considering that you’re on the guitar. Tell us about that?

Surprised by our knowledge, he revealed that the song uses the same riff as his own track  from his 2021 EP It’ll Make Sense Soon, a project which conceived our reverence for the musician. Larren explained: “I sent over some samples to ESTA. And he ironically chose the same on you can hear on my track ‘Dosage.’” When we delved further into the topic, it became apparent that a future collab with Destin is “likely.”

“Deacon” was released recently as a solo track in the lead-up to the album. What could you tell us about the rest of the project and its features?

Larren revealed that one of the track’s origins dates back to 2016. The Los Angeles-based artist gave his longtime friend Kristen Holt her flowers, revealing that she “doesn’t really sing.” Seemingly as bewildered by this fact as we were, her vocals effortlessly entwine with the Californian vocaliser’s on outro “Only Heaven Knows.” We are glad this harmonic emulsion of soulfulness and mellow guitar riff made the cut. After our first listen to the record on its midnight release, it’s already in our playlists. However, when asked on his own choice of a favorite, he couldn’t choose.

Amidst the release of another exciting project, what message does it provide/what do you want people to feel from your music?

In a fashion as sincere and emotionally considered as his vocals, Larren feels he wants to provide “motivation, pushing people to succeed.” The all-round talent wants to inspire others to feel they “can do it, everyone can.” And considering his presence as Larrenwong, academic background, athleticism and miscellaneous talents, we can’t argue with this man, and it’s hard not to see him as the ideal role model.

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would that be and why? (Additionally, our writer Luke Grosch, who resides in England, asked Larren, “Are there any artists you’re feeling from the U.K. right now?”)

“Drake,” was Larren’s immediate response to the first question, citing his love for “what he’s done for the art form.” But it turns out the former Seahawks rookie also has an appreciation for the likes of: London-based singer/DJ Emmavie, Lianne La Havas, and Lancey Foux. Larren recommended our viewers to give C3llyPizzaz’s “Make It Out” a spin; the song features Joyce Wrice, Knucks, and Kai Ca$h. 

We had such an insightful chat with the man everyone’s soon to be talking about, It was a pleasure. Soundbites only go so far in demonstrating the balance of humility and rightful confidence that he possesses. Larren spoke profoundly of his manager and the talent he exudes, and gave his opinions on many topics with such depth and sincerity. 

It is impossible to predict the future for such a talented musician; however, what’s for sure is, Larrenwong’s inevitable rise to the top. Not to mention, we got insight into what to expect from him in the near future. All we can say is… Watch…This…Space. Seriously, he’s just getting started.