Labrinth in 2019
|Birth name||Timothy Lee McKenzie|
|Born||4 January 1989|
Hackney, London, England
Timothy Lee McKenzie (born 4 January 1989), better known by his stage name Labrinth, is a British singer, songwriter, rapper and record producer. After initially pursuing a career in music production, Simon Cowell signed him to his record label Syco Music as a recording artist, after which Labrinth became the first singer who Cowell signed without having competed on a talent show in six years. He has been referred to as “one of the most important British musicians of his generation.”
Labrinth made his debut appearance on the UK Singles Chart in March 2010, when his collaboration with English rapper Tinie Tempah, "Pass Out", reached number one. Since then, songs Labrinth released have entered the chart 18 times as of 2020, as well as 5 times on the Billboard Hot 100.
Labrinth has released two solo albums: Electronic Earth in April 2012, and Imagination & the Misfit Kid in November 2019. In 2018, Labrinth formed the supergroup LSD with Australian singer-songwriter Sia and American DJ and producer Diplo. They released their self-titled debut album the following year. Labrinth has also collaborated with a number of artists as a singer, songwriter, and producer including Beyoncé, Kanye West, The Weeknd, Nicki Minaj, Ed Sheeran, and Noah Cyrus.
He composed the score for HBO drama series Euphoria, for which he was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards, winning one, and The Lion King - Live action's soundtrack, Spirit, with Beyoncé and Ilya Salmanzadeh, achieving nominations at Grammy, Golden Globe, Critics' Choice and winning a NAACP Image Awards.
McKenzie was born and raised in Hackney, London; he is of Jamaican and Canadian descent. He comes from a family of musicians, and has eight siblings. Their home was filled with the sound of American gospel music, which their parents loved. When young, he and his eight siblings formed a band called Mac 9. He attended Stoke Newington School and began to pursue a musical career during his school years. His brother, Mac, who is also a music producer, introduced McKenzie at the age of 15 to the art of creating music in his studio.
2009–10: Career beginnings
Labrinth started his career by producing the track "Dead End" for recording artist Master Shortie from the album A.D.H.D. (2009). The track generated interest in McKenzie as a producer and songwriter. Guy Moot of EMI Music Publishing offered the artist a publishing deal. From 2010 to 2011, Labrinth mentored the Urban Development Vocal Collective (UDVC) alongside his sister, ShezAr. He also produced multiple tracks for the collective, contributing towards a nine-track project titled Urban Development. The vocalists also provided backing vocals for Labrinth's original tracks.
McKenzie appeared as an uncredited guest artist on British rapper Tinie Tempah's debut single, "Pass Out," released on 28 February 2010. He had also produced and co-written the track. The single debuted at number-one on the UK Singles Chart, number six on the Irish Singles Chart, and number seventy in Australia. Having spent two weeks at the summit in the United Kingdom, "Pass Out" was awarded Best British Single at the 2011 Brit Awards and Best Contemporary Song at the 2011 Ivor Novello Awards. It achieved platinum certification from the British Phonographic Industry for surpassing sales of 600,000 copies. Several months later the two artists collaborated for a second time in the release of Tempah's second single, "Frisky," also co-written and produced by McKenzie. The single debuted at number two in the United Kingdom, beaten only by the charity single "Shout" by Dizzee Rascal and James Corden. The track had chart success in Scotland, where it became the duo's second consecutive number one single, also peaking at number three in Ireland.
Throughout 2010, McKenzie continued writing material for a number of high-profile artists, including Professor Green for the track "Oh My God" (Alive Till I'm Dead), Ola Svensson for the track "Let It Hit You" (Ola), and Loick Essien for "Love Drunk" (Identity).
2010–12: Signing to Syco and Electronic Earth
Following chart success as a writer and producer, McKenzie was approached in June 2010 and signed to Simon Cowell's record label, Syco. The signing marked a milestone for the label, with McKenzie becoming the first signing in six years who had not gained exposure on one of Cowell's reality talent shows. Through Syco, Labrinth released his debut single "Let the Sun Shine" on 27 September 2010 in the United Kingdom. The track debuted at number three in the UK, also reaching number thirty-two in Ireland. Labrinth was featured as an artist a third time on 3 January 2011, with the release of British rapper Devlin's single "Let It Go." This had limited chart success, peaking at number fifty-nine in the UK. He also participated in a remake of Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band's "Express Yourself".
Over the course of the next year, Labrinth produced tracks by Yasmin and Ms. Dynamite, as well as the 2011 Children in Need charity single “Teardrop”, on which he also appeared as a guest performer. The single, which was performed both at Children in Need 2011 and Children in Need Rocks Manchester on 17 November 2011 debuted at number twenty-four on the UK Singles Chart.
Labrinth released his second single, "Earthquake" on 23 October 2011 – featuring long-term collaborator Tinie Tempah. The single debuted at number two on the UK chart with first week sales of 115,530 copies – the second highest selling number-two behind X Factor winners Little Mix and their cover of Damien Rice's "Cannonball". The track also saw international chart success, peaking at number twelve in Ireland, number five in New Zealand and number twenty-one in Australia; achieving gold certification from the Australian Recording Industry Association and platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Following a third single release, "Last Time", which was released on 18 March 2012 as a four-track digital EP alongside remixes from Knife Party and Gareth Emery, Labrinth released his debut album Electronic Earth on 2 April 2012.
On 23 May 2012, Labrinth performed at the Cheltenham racecourse to celebrate the occasion of the Olympic torch coming through Cheltenham. He also performed at several university shows including University of Leeds’ Summer Ball, Nottingham Trent University Graduation Ball, and University of Surrey’s End of Year Show. On 29 June, Labrinth performed at VG-lista top 20 in Norway in front of a crowd consisting of 90,000 people. Labrinth also performed at GFest in Preston on 8 September 2012 to celebrate Preston Guild 2012. The song "Beneath Your Beautiful", which features Emeli Sandé was released as the album's sixth single and peaked at number one November 2012 on the UK singles chart, and was Labrinth's first entry into the Billboard Hot 100 at number 34.
In July 2012, it was revealed that Labrinth would be working with Rihanna, which resulted in him co-writing and co-producing her song "Lost In Paradise" from her album 'Unapologetic'. Labrinth also collaborated with Ed Sheeran, producing his and Devlin's single "Watchtower", which was released in August 2012. Labrinth also worked with Sheeran in 2014, and produced his single "Save Myself" from the March 2017 album '÷'.
2013–2019: Collaborations and LSD
Labrinth began working on his second studio album in 2013. That year he also appeared on two tracks for Tinie Tempah's second studio album Demonstration: the third single "Lover Not a Fighter" and the album track "It's OK".
In July 2013, Labrinth was picked as Elvis Duran's Artist of the Month and was featured on NBC's Today show hosted by Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, where he performed live his song "Beneath Your Beautiful".
In October 2014, Labrinth released his single "Jealous", which he wrote during a trip to Nashville. The song would eventually peak at #7 on the UK Official Singles Chart in December 2014. The single has received acknowledgement from a number of artists including Adele, who listened to the song to help her cry on command while shooting her "Hello" video, and Jessie Ware, who covered it for the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge.
Released in August 2015, Labrinth features on the track "Losers", which he also co-produced, on The Weeknd's album Beauty Behind the Madness. His contribution to the album earned him his first Grammy nomination for Album of the Year at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. Labrinth later co-produced "Stargirl Interlude" on The Weeknd's 2016 album 'Starboy'. Labrinth also did a duet on the track "Fragile", the lead promotional single from Kygo's debut studio album Cloud Nine.
In 2016, Labrinth worked alongside Mike Posner on Posner's widely successful album At Night, Alone. Labrinth is featured and co-wrote on the sixth single, "Silence". The album was officially released on 6 May 2016. "Silence" was written by both Posner and Labrinth. The song was produced by Posner and Terefe. He also produced and was featured in "Make Me (Cry)", Noah Cyrus' debut single, released on 14 November 2016. Labrinth also featured alongside Cyrus in the song's music video and performances on The Tonight Show and The Late Late Show. The single eventually peaked at #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 2017. Over the following 2 years Labrinth and Cyrus continued collaborating, with Labrinth lending writing and production duties to Cyrus' May 2017 single "I'm Stuck", September 2017 single "Again", and August 2018 single "Live Or Die."  In December 2016, Labrinth performed a medley of "Frozen" and "Like A Prayer" at the annual Billboard Women in Music event, where Madonna, who had personally selected him to perform, was honored as Woman of the Year.
In May 2017, Labrinth was featured on Sia's single "To Be Human" from the Wonder Woman soundtrack. In September 2017, Apple used Labrinth's song "Misbehaving" in their keynote to announce their Apple Watch Series 3.
On 3 May 2018, Labrinth was announced as a member of the supergroup LSD along with Sia and music producer Diplo. It was the first time the three artists have worked together on a single project. According to Diplo, LSD started when he was invited into the studio to write with Labrinth and Sia. Their first single, "Genius", was released via Columbia Records in the US and Syco Music in the UK the same day, along with a psychedelic cartoon visual and the announcement of a forthcoming album. LSD released their second single "Audio" the next week and their third single "Thunderclouds" in August, followed by a "Thunderclouds" music video featuring dancer and previous Sia collaborator Maddie Ziegler. The latter was used as the promotional song for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, which helped propel it to the top of Billboard & Clio’s Top TV Commercials chart for August and September 2018. It is also LSD's highest charting single to date, peaking at #67 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #17 on the UK Singles Chart. In November 2018, the three received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Remixed Recording for their song "Audio (CID Remix Official Dance Remix)". Also in 2018, Labrinth co-produced and featured on Nicki Minaj's track "Majesty" featuring Eminem, which peaked at #58 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In January 2019, Labrinth starred in a Mini Countryman ad, in which he sings a version of “Don't Fence Me In”. A full version of the song was also released with the campaign launch. Following the release of their single "Mountains," LSD released their debut album Labrinth, Sia & Diplo Present... LSD on 12 April 2019. That month the group released a video for "No New Friends" featuring Maddie Ziegler and made their first live appearance performing the song on Ellen.
2019-Present: Euphoria and Imagination & the Misfit Kid
Following the release of his single "Miracle" in June 2019, Labrinth made his scoring debut when he was announced as the lead composer for season 1 of the HBO drama series Euphoria. Inspired by some of the music that Labrinth's manager Adam Leber had shared with him, the show's creator Sam Levinson approached Labrinth to contribute music for the series while he was working on his second solo album. Several of Labrinth's original songs are also featured throughout the series, including "Mount Everest" and "All For Us" featuring vocals from the show's lead actress Zendaya. The show's score was released on 4 October 2019 via Milan Records and Sony Masterworks. Characterized as "a mash-up of electronic, R&B, dance and hip-hop sounds", Labrinth's score was positively received and received praise for "perfectly complementing the journey of the main character." The following year, Labrinth received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for his work in Euphoria; Outstanding Music Composition for a Series for the episode "03 Bonnie and Clyde" and Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics for the song "All for Us", winning the latter as well as an Ivor Novello Award for Best Television Soundtrack.
Labrinth co-wrote and produced Beyoncé's July 2019 single "Spirit" from The Lion King remake soundtrack and companion album The Lion King: The Gift. The single charted on the Billboard Hot 100, was nominated for Grammy and Golden Globe awards , and was shortlisted for the Best Original Song Academy Award. That year Labrinth also collaborated with Kanye West, co-producing and lending vocals to "God Is" from his October 2019 album Jesus Is King.
On 31 October 2019, Labrinth announced his sophomore studio album titled Imagination & the Misfit Kid with the single release "Where the Wild Things". The 15 track album, which features guest appearances from Zendaya and Sia, was released on 22 November 2020. The single "Imagination" was used in Apple's "Made in the UK" advert in July 2020. As part of Apple's 'Behind the Mac' series, the ad features UK creative talent working at MacBook laptops including Labrinth himself.
On 9 October 2020, Labrinth released his single "No Ordinary", which was used in the Xbox Series X/S launch trailer. Labrinth also wrote and produced two singles for Sam Smith released that year including "Love Goes", which he is also featured on and comes from Smith's album of the same name, and an original Christmas song "The Lighthouse Keeper".
- @Labrinth (4 January 2013). "It's my birthday in Thailand" (Tweet) – via Twitter. @SonySoundtracks (4 January 2021). "Happy birthday to the one and only @Labrinth" (Tweet) – via Twitter. @DawBell (4 January 2021). "Happy Birthday to the wonderful @Labrinth 🎂" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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- Peak positions on the UK Singles Chart:
- For all except where noted: "The Official Charts Company > Labrinth". Official Charts Company. 21 March 2012.
- For "Pass Out", "Frisky" and "We Bring the Stars Out": "The Official Charts Company > Tinie Tempah". Official Charts Company. 21 March 2012.
- For "Let It Go": "The Official Charts Company > 'Let It Go'". Official Charts Company. 21 March 2012.
- "Chart History | Labrinth". Billboard. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
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- "Labrinth 'Last Time' – Digital EP". iTunes (UK). 18 March 2012.
- Fox, Al (2 April 2012). "Labrinth Electronic Earth Review". BBC. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
- Newsbeat – Dappy and Labrinth will headline G-Fest in Preston. BBC (2 August 2012). Retrieved on 12 September 2012.
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- "Rihanna was 'difficult' to work with says Labrinth at Clyde 1 Live". Daily Record. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- "Devlin and Ed Sheeran release new single via augmented reality". The Drum. 15 August 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- Rigby, Sam (1 December 2014). "Labrinth on Ed Sheeran collaboration: "We've made some great records"". Digital Spy. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- Leight, Elias (13 August 2020). "Nicki Minaj Collaborator Labrinth on How Big Pun and the Beatles Inspired 'Majesty'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- "ATOMIC EP by Labrinth on SoundCloud - Hear the world's sounds". Soundcloud.com. 24 December 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "labrinth unveils heart-breaking ballad 'jealous'". MTV. 31 October 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- Bacle, Ariana (27 October 2015). "Adele shares the song that made her cry in the Hello music video". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- "Jess Ware Takes on Labrinth's 'Jealous' for Radio 1". DIY. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- Goodman, Jessica (4 August 2015). "The Weeknd: Ed Sheeran, Lana Del Rey confirmed as featured artists on new album". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
- Empire, Kitty (30 August 2015). "The Weeknd: Beauty Behind the Madness review – a dark seduction of the mainstream". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
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- Darville, Jordan (25 November 2016). "7 Hidden Details On The Weeknd's Starboy". Fader. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
- "Miley Cyrus' sister Noah makes pop debut, shares single with Labrinth". NME. 15 November 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
- Bowsher, Allison (22 November 2016). "Noah Cyrus And Labrinth Battle Heartbreak In Video For 'Make Me (Cry)'". Much. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- Cantor, Brian (22 February 2017). "Noah Cyrus & Labrinth Perform "Make Me" On Corden's "Late Late Show" (Watch Now)". Headline Planet. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- "Noah Cyrus". Billboard. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- Mench, Chris (25 May 2017). "Noah Cyrus Shares All The Verified Lyrics To Her New Single "I'm Stuck"". Genius. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- Burks, Tosten (21 August 2018). "Lil Xan and Noah Cyrus "Live or Die": Young Couple Shares New Song". XXL. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- Lynch, Joe (9 December 2016). "Madonna Delivers Her Blunt Truth During Fiery, Teary Billboard Women In Music Speech". Billboard. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- Tingley, Anna (14 September 2017). "Catching Up With Labrinth: The Mystery Artist Behind Apple Watch Commercial's Viral Song". Billboard. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- Spanos, Brittany (25 May 2017). "Hear Sia's Sweeping New Anthem 'To Be Human' from 'Wonder Woman' Soundtrack". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Svokos, Alexandra (12 September 2017). "The Song In The Apple Watch Series 3 Commercial Is So, So Catchy". Elite Daily. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Deville, Chris (3 May 2018). "LSD (Diplo, Sia, & Labrinth) – "Genius" Video". Stereogum. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- White, Jack (3 May 2018). "Labrinth, Sia and Diplo announce supergroup called LSD, release new single Genius". Official Charts. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Rettig, James (10 May 2018). "LSD (Sia, Diplo, & Labrinth) – "Audio" Video". Stereogum. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Blistein, Jon (9 August 2018). "Hear Diplo, Sia, Labrinth Supergroup Seek Solace on New Song 'Thunderclouds'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Pedrosa, Marina (30 August 2018). "Maddie Ziegler Flies High in Sia, Diplo & Labrinth's Psychedelic 'Thunderclouds' Video: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Boyle, Kelli (9 August 2018). "The Galaxy Note 9 Promo Song "Thunderclouds" By Sia, Diplo, & Labrinth Is Next-Level Good". Elite Daily. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Rutherford, Kevin (14 September 2018). "LSD's 'Thunderclouds' Storms to No. 1 On August 2018's Top TV Commercials Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Zellner, Xander (17 October 2018). "LSD's 'Thunderclouds' Rules Top TV Commercials Chart for September 2018". Billboard. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- "LSD FT SIA/DIPLO/LABRINTH | Full Official Chart History". Official Charts. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Amter, Charlie (5 February 2019). "'Best Remixed Recording' Can Be a Career-Making Grammy Award". Variety. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
- Hampp, Andrew (15 January 2019). "Labrinth Takes Cowboy Classic 'Don't Fence Me In' to the City for New MINI Campaign". Variety. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Legaspi, Althea (1 November 2018). "Hear Diplo, Sia, Labrinth Move 'Mountains' on New Song". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Hilton, Robin; Thompson, Stephen; Gotrich, Lars (12 April 2019). "New Music Friday: Our Top 7 Albums Out On April 12". NPR.
- Bein, Kat (16 April 2019). "LSD Take a Live-Action Trip in 'No New Friends' Video: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Zemler, Emily (25 April 2019). "Watch LSD's Vibrant Performance of 'No New Friends' on 'Ellen'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Spanos, Brittany (7 June 2019). "Watch Labrinth's Fantastical Video for New Song 'Miracle'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Hampp, Andrew (25 June 2019). "Songs For Screens: Labrinth on Scoring HBO's Drake-Produced Drama 'Euphoria'". Variety.
- Marks, Lily (3 October 2019). "How Labrinth Created the Perfect Soundtrack for HBO's 'Euphoria'". Retrieved 27 November 2020.
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- Butler, Bethonie (4 October 2019). "The entrancing score of 'Euphoria' has arrived, and it sounds like teen angst and eye glitter". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Willman, Chris (28 July 2020). "Emmy Music Nominations Include Dual Score/Song Nods for Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Labrinth; Nathan Barr Earns Three (See Complete List)". Variety. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
- Hipes, Patrick (17 September 2020). "Creative Arts Emmy Awards: 'Big Mouth', '#FreeRayshawn' Lead Night 4 – Winners List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
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- Strauss, Matthew; Yoo, Noah (25 October 2019). "Here Are the Full Credits for Kanye's New Album Jesus Is King: Clipse, Kenny G, and More". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
- Leight, Elias (25 October 2019). "Kanye West Releases 'Jesus Is King,' Capping Hectic Rollout Saga". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
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- McGonagle, Emmet (24 July 2020). "Apple signs up Michaela Coel, Maisie WIlliams, and Dave to star in MacBook campaign". PR Week. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
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