The value of music cannot be overstated. Both listening to and creating music helps people express themselves in ways they never could have expected, widening their horizons and entertaining a myriad of new opportunities. Artist Lil Gaz has always thought of music as an extension of himself, though he never could have predicted the impact it would have on his life.
“I never really had plans to make music,” he said. “It’s just kind of surreal, just grateful. I’ve been putting a lot of work into it,” the young creator humbly explained.
We at Stropse took the time to talk to Lil Gaz about his personal growth, his blossoming career, and how it feels to have multiple hits at such a young age. We left understanding how a young legend comes-of-age through sound.
By his own admission, 18-year-old Adely ‘Lil Gaz’ Gazayerli is just a regular kid from Michigan. Growing up, Gaz loved spending time with his family and playing tennis; in fact, Gaz moved to Spain when he was 14 to briefly pursue competitive tennis, though he doesn’t have any fond memories of being there.
While Spain seems like it would have been an exciting opportunity, Gaz spent most of his time in the dorm room where he was housed. A shy kid, Gaz limited his exploration: in his own words, he just played tennis and returned to his room. When he returned to the United States two years later, he knew he had to open himself up to life by pursuing his true passion: music.
“I’ve always, always loved music; [I] just did not know how I’d ever make it,” Gaz said. “Drake, Travis Scott, Juice WRLD and artists I listened to just inspired me to make it.”
His inspiration is clear in the sound he creates: like his favorite artists, most of the music Gaz has released deals with heartbreak and pain. That said, because the aforementioned artists have released so many pieces, Gaz does not have a favorite song.
Whenever he feels a certain way, he puts on a song from any of the previously mentioned artists and listens to it multiple times. Like everyone, Gaz will go through phases, listening to one song over another depending on the time and moment.
But where Gaz embraces his ubiquity as a person, when it comes to making music, Gaz says his voice, melody and flow makes his sound unique. And in an age where there are so many artists looking to stand out, an original sound elevates Gaz above the rest.
“They don’t have the same voice as me,” he said. “My voice is unique, my flow and lyrics are. I’d say my lyrics are pretty relatable.”
Part of that relatability goes back to his ability to write a song about heartbreak. Because everyone has gone through heartbreak at some point, being able to connect and relate to personal experiences helps Gaz reach different audiences.
Gaz also takes time making his music, with some songs taking upwards of up to six hours to record. In the studio, Gaz processes his complex emotions into his work, and often, he takes the extra hour to make sure this feeling shines through. Other times, pieces take him 20 minutes, like his song “Demons in my Head.”
“I recorded line-by-line and just thought of the line, right after each one,” he recalls. Being the perfectionist that he is, Gaz will oftentimes re-record every line until he feels it is perfect.
That perfectionist streak helped him compose one of his most popular hits: “BAPE.” Short for “Bathing Ape,” Gaz wrote the song when he was 16 as an ode to the fashion brand he loved so much.
“I was in New York and I went to that store the same day,” he said. “I got on YouTube, found the beat and that was like the first that came to my mind.”
Not only is the song about one of his favorite places to shop, Gaz says that the song is really about just having a good time. Because of its lighthearted message, many people have related, and currently, “BAPE” has almost two million streams on Spotify.
When “BAPE” became popular, Gaz called the song’s popularity “lowkey nuts.” Looking back at the song’s trajectory, Gaz noticed the song did not explode all at once; rather, it caught attention from a lot of people over time.
Following “BAPE’s” release, Gaz has noticed some professional gamers use his music and thinks it’s “really cool” that these players use his music instead of other musicians’. Not only that, Gaz has recently released a new EP titled “Cold Heart,” which seems poised to further deliver on vibes creators can game to.
So far, the album is doing fairly well, with “Mixed Emotions” getting over 480,000 views on YouTube. “Replacement,” the fourth song on the EP, has also been streamed more than 1.5 million times on Spotify.
In total, Gaz has almost 100,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and more than three million streams across his various platforms. He says that his music became more popular during the pandemic and is “thankful” it happened.
More than anything, Gaz says he’s more relieved from the stress of releasing the EP and “happy” it’s doing well.
With his musical profile now growing, Gaz says he doesn’t really have time to focus on anything but his music. That being said, he does find time to sneak in a few games of Madden NFL 20 and NBA 2K. As someone who’s not hugely into gaming, he thinks the games are essentially the same except for a few new updates.
Still, he greatly enjoys both games, especially the soundtracks. In particular, he says that Madden NFL 20’s soundtrack was something he enjoyed as it had “Magic” by Lil Skies, which is an undeniable banger.
In that same vein, Gaz humbly says that even though he is not the biggest basketball fan – though some of his songs feature rhymes about basketball players – some players have inspired him in his musical journey.
“[I] love Kobe, he inspired me a lot to just work hard,” he said. Gaz also recalls the time he met Kobe Bryant at the U.S. Open and shook his hand, experiencing firsthand the heights one can reach when they dream big.
Fast-forwarding to the present, Gaz says his experience in the music industry has so far been proceeding to his lofty expectations, though he’s still faced his share of surprises. Here, his young age is a huge advantage, as he has more time to grow, learn, and adapt to the business.
At the end of the day, Gaz thanks his family for remaining a constant through his journey. Moreover, even though his songs are continuing to get thousands of streams on various platforms, he feels his supporters haven’t changed in the slightest.
“They love the music. They’re always going to support me … the love is always the same. They’re just proud of me,” he concluded.
As Gaz’s life becomes even more ingrained in music, it remains to be seen how high he can fly. If the last few months have been any indication, his music will continue to grow with him and enrich the lives of other people. With his journey only just beginning and the future looking bright, we can’t wait to see how big Lil Gaz will become.