Coi Leray Looks to Become the Ultimate ‘Trendsetter’ With Her Debut Album

Coi Leray Looks to Become the Ultimate ‘Trendsetter’ With Her Debut Album

Coi Leray is typically energetic every day of the week — but on this day, during her 32-minute long conversation with Billboard, her energy is on another level. After the March announcement of her electric single “Blick Blick” with hip-hop icon Nicki Minaj, her excitement is uncontainable, as she later details her plans to get her Barbie tattoo in honor of her collaboration with the Pink Friday rapper. 

“She is so sweet! She is a true businesswoman, and it is very inspiring. She is not super raunchy; she is calm, sweet, and patient,” Leray tells Billboard. “It is a blessing to have someone like her in my corner for an upcoming artist like myself. It shows that she believes in me, which gives me goosebumps.”

Leray’s trajectory in the music industry should not come as a surprise to anyone — especially with her unmatched tenacity on the creative front. The New Jersey-bred recording artist is quickly proving all of her naysayers wrong: She previously served as Billboard’s April Rookie of the Month last year, became a XXL Freshman, toured with Lil Baby and Lil Durk, and squashed any conversation about being a “TikTok rapper” with her Hot 100 hits “No More Parties,” “Big Purr,” and most recently, “Blick Blick.”  

Now, the stage is set for even bigger things for Leray, as her debut album, TRENDSETTER (out via Republic Records on April 8) looks to cement her fast-rising stardom. Although she has plenty of assistance on the 20-track album, with features from Fivio Foreign, Polo G, H.E.R., Yung Bleu, and more, Coi’s trademark sound shines brightly throughout the project.

“I am a little anxious, I will be honest, but I am very excited because I do know that the body of work that I have been working on for these last three years is absolutely amazing,” she says. “Everything from the features to the production is on point. The amount of time I took, and the many trials and tribulations that helped me make this story, will be great, and I cannot wait until it drops.”

Below, Billboard speaks to Coi Leray about TRENDSETTER, manifestation, becoming a social media force and more.

This past year has been full of life-changing moments for you. Why do you feel now is the perfect time to drop your project?

I feel like God makes no mistakes. I feel like it is a perfect time, definitely. Because there were other times I thought it was an ideal time, and it wasn’t — because, as you can see along this way, I just landed a feature with one of the most prominent artists in the world. Man, thank God that I waited!

TRENDSETTER covers various topics, including love, loyalty and success. Where do you draw most of your inspiration?

I draw a lot from my personal life. Everything that I write is through experience. If it is not through experience, it is something that someone close to me went through. For example, I have a song titled “Too Far” about one of my brothers. I wrote that song about a tough situation he was going through a little while ago.

You already have RIAA certification plaques for “No More Parties,” “Big Purr,” and “Twinnem.” Which song do you believe will shoot up the Billboard charts and go gold or platinum?

I feel like “Overthinking” featuring H.E.R. will be super big. I love H.E.R. — and I do not have many albums on my phone, but her latest album Back Of My Mind is one of my favorites. I feel like we are going to live on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop charts. I feel like it might go No. 1. Also, my song “Clingy” with NAV is R&B vibes that I think will do fantastic. It is so hard to choose because I have so many favorites. Lastly, I am super excited for “Mission Impossible” because it is fire, and I am the first woman to have a song produced by Chief Keef. That track is so fire!

You have features from A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, Fivio Foreign, Lil Tecca, and Young M.A on TRENDSETTER. Was it essential to work with artists from the Tri-state area?

Hell yeah! I always wanted New York in my hands. I am a huge fan of every NY artist on my project. I know all of their songs word for word. There is nothing like the support system that New York has in music, and I am excited to be a part of that.

What are your goals for this project and your career as a whole?

Honestly, my goal for this project is to show my versatility and to give them a refresh on music. I watched a clip the other day, and they mentioned how hip-hop is a competitive sport. There is a lot of competition in this industry — and one thing I know is that I am strong-minded, and I bring something different to the table. I mean that in every way when it comes to music, because that is most important. Also, I inspire young girls with everything I do outside of music.

Dropping this album will show people that I am a true artist. Whatever happened in the past, regardless if it was a video of a dead crowd or an award nomination, it will all be a part of my story. I am looking forward to becoming one of the most prominent women artists globally. Over time, I can be at the top with Nicki Minaj. 

Your fans are tapped into everything you do as a social media sensation. Why can you naturally grasp everyone’s attention with a simple post?

One thing that my mother always told me is that God does show favoritism. So if you do good by him and praise him and stay focused, he will never overlook that. I have “God’s Gift” tatted on me, because that is what I am. I am someone who just does things naturally. I believe so strongly and manifest everything that I want in life. I do not try hard to capture people’s attention, and it happens naturally. 

People do not understand that I am a human first and have real emotions. I cannot wait to tap in with my fans even more this year. Throughout all the things that I go through, my supporters are always there to make me feel like I am never alone. I love my trendsetters, and I look forward to doing more to tap in with them this year. That goes for all the young women out there that support me, and I have no problem making the mistakes for them if they continue to show the love that they do.

If you could go to dinner with five artists or creatives dead or alive that inspired you, who would those five people be?

No. 1, rest in peace to Juice WRLD. What he brought to this generation and what he left with was just legendary. His impact was so strong that his music still lives, and his fan base is huge. Next, I would invite Nicki Minaj because I would love to work with her again. Not only is she incredibly talented, but she is also super kind. I would also take Lala Anthony! She is so connected and an incredible businesswoman. She has done so much to inspire me over the years. Also, Chief Keef, Gucci Mane, and Babyface Ray would all be there. They would all count as like one person because they have such a strong stamp on trap music right now.

I would say Doja Cat, even though she and I have never really had a conversation. She is extremely hard working and always shines no matter what people say about her. She is a flat-out superstar. Lastly, Missy Elliot and Lady Gaga both inspired me. They have crazy aesthetics and changed the game for other young women like myself. They showed me it was possible to do whatever you wanted and stay true to who you are as an artist.

Lastly, what are your plans to support TRENDSETTER that your fans should know for the rest of the year?

It is so hard to talk about after the album because it is just now about to drop! It will live so long because the music is fresh and new. I am most definitely going on my first headlining tour. My agent Cara Lewis is great, and her team has put together some fun options. I am very hands-on, and I want to make sure everything is perfect. We are going crazy all 2022 and beyond!

Coi Leray Looks to Become the Ultimate ‘Trendsetter’ With Her Debut Album Coi Leray is typically energetic every day of the week — but on this day, during her 32-minute long conversation with Billboard, her energy is on another level. After the March announcement of her electric single “Blick Blick” with hip-hop icon Nicki Minaj, her…