In the heart of Colorado’s music scene, COLLUR, an alternative artist and college student, has been making noise with his genre-defying sound. In this exclusive interview, COLLUR takes us on a journey through his evolving music career, discussing the challenges and opportunities of being both a student and an independent musician. We delve into the diverse range of musical styles explored in recent hits like “DON’T TRIP!” and get a sneak peek into upcoming releases. Plus, we’ll explore how he overcame the unique challenges of building a fan base in the college town of Greeley by throwing the biggest party of the year. Get ready for an inside look at COLLUR, where he’s been, and where he’s headed.
It is so nice to be sitting here talking with you today. BandWagon has worked with you a number of times on shows, but we finally get to meet you off stage. Welcome!
COLLUR: Thank you; I appreciate you having me.
Before we get into the interview, let’s start with the name, COLLUR. Where’d that come from?
COLLUR: People rarely get this right the first time, but it’s just pronounced “color.” For as long as I can remember, my friends in Aurora would call me “Big Red” because I’d get sunburnt after long days outside in the summer. So, I wanted to just use that, but it was already taken. While on the theme of colors, I kind of just decided to call myself COLLUR, but I used my initials, LLU, in the spelling. It’s sort of gained new meaning since then, but yeah, that’s how it started.
What does COLLUR mean to you now?
COLLUR: Now, COLLUR is sort of this mission to always be creating. I have an intro in my song called WATERCOLOR where I break it down. I use “color” in my music to denote individuality, which, to me, is perceiving the world in your own way and looking within to create, rather than replicating what’s popular. I guess it means just being “you,” as corny as that sounds.
Can you take us through COLLUR’s early days, and some of the pivotal moments that have shaped your artistry into what it is today?
COLLUR: I started the whole COLLUR thing when I was a junior in high school, and with the help of some fans on TikTok, my first few releases really took off. I think my first song, RESTART, has somewhere around 40,000 plays on Soundcloud today. It honestly started off as a “clout” thing, but it didn’t take long before I started pouring more time and effort into the music. I’ve just pushed myself to learn what it means to be an artist. There isn’t really a key moment when you’re constantly learning and growing, but one thing that has helped my music evolve is listening to everything. I’m talking hyper-pop, classic rock, cloud rap, acid jazz – everything. It’s so important to the evolution of any artist.
COLLUR performing at The Moxi Theater. Photo by Jason Alfaro of Right Eye Media.
What do you find yourself listening to the most for inspiration, and what does your music usually get compared to?
COLLUR: Two of my favorite artists are Smino and Dro Kenji. They’re both underground artists but they just push the boundaries of genres so masterfully, which I aim to do with my songs as well. The artist I get compared to the most is The Kid Laroi, but I think people who say that aren’t really listening to the music. Comparisons are lame though; I’m just COLLUR, ya know.
You recently released 4 singles – “RUBIX,” “OCULUS,” “DON’T TRIP!” and “BUBBA,” and each song felt like a totally new rendition of you. Can you speak at all on your exploration of different styles and genres?
COLLUR: This summer I challenged myself with releasing a new song every other week for 10 weeks, and these 4 songs were a result of that. Between the four of them, you can hear New York drill, melodic rap, trap, Jersey club, and pop elements. The way I see it, this great era of trap music that I grew up on is on its way out because it became stale, but at the same time it’s turning into other things. I think good artists go through this sort of reformation naturally. We just change as people and it reflects in what or how we create. On another note, I am obsessed with melodies, so every rap song I make inherently becomes something else by the time I’m done with it.
You also recently had your first headline show. What did that mean to you?
COLLUR: That was a dream come true honestly, and I did everything I could to make the most of that moment. It was at The Moxi in Greeley, where I’ve performed many times, but the biggest struggle has always been getting all the college kids at UNC to come out. There’s a huge disconnect between the UNC students and the rest of Greeley, but I was able to fill the room by putting together this huge party. All I could think while everybody was dancing and laughing was, “I really did this.”
Talk a bit about being both a college student and an independent musician. Have the two helped or worked against each other at all?
COLLUR: There have obviously been times where I have to pull back on one or the other because of time or finances or whatever it may be, but I think this is a very important part of so many people’s lives, and I’m glad that I’m capturing that through what I create. There’s a lot more pressure on people my age than there used to be, so I write about it. I think young people sort of see themselves in some of my lyrics. So yeah, having the perspective of some normal kid in college has influenced my musicality in many ways.
We’re all very eager to know what we can expect next from COLLUR.
COLLUR: In terms of music, I have three singles ready to roll out before the end of the year. I’m super excited about these tracks because I can hear myself in the music more than I ever have before. Expect authenticity. I want to start working on a statewide tour soon too. That’s sort of my next big goal.
Thank you for the time today, COLLUR.
COLLUR: Thank you! It’s been a pleasure.