Get To Know Chicago’s Own: LA VanGogh

Introduce yourself

What’s going on, my name is Edgar Lamont Anderson Jr., but I go by L.A. VanGogh. I was born and raised in Dolton, but adopted by the city at 17. I’m a creative musician, thinker, and a philosopher.

How was life growing up?

So many things race to my mind like hot dogs and sprinklers. You ever run through the sprinklers? I lived on a suburban block, Dolton to be exact, so it was nothing too crazy. It was kind of like a growing impoverished area. I moved back and forth between Harvey and Dolton. Harvey is more kin to the South side as far as how the environment is. With my parents being separated, I spent my life growing up with my Dad and grandparents. My dad was a teacher and coach at Thornton, which was in the heart of Harvey and because of that I spent a lot of time from the age of 3 until 13 at Thornton.

When did you begin to witness your creative talents?

I got into singing and writing early as a kid. I was 6 when I wrote a remix to Candy Girl by New Edition because I wanted to give it to this girl in class. As I look back on my life I would sing everywhere – riding my bike, under my breath in the car, in my head, everywhere. I didn’t think I could sing but subconsciously I would freestyle songs as I sang in the shower.

Talk about the meaning of your name L.A. VanGogh

LA stands for my two initials, Lamont Anderson. I’ve been called that since I was a kid. VanGogh came from a rap I wrote a long time ago. I was in a group called the McFly Kids when I was 15. We were obsessed with Back 2 the Future. I was LA McFly and in this verse I said something along the lines “I’m the Davinci of 16’s, the VanGogh of the flow, paint a picture in your head, when I write it like Poe”. From that day on my friend DeMarius called me VanGogh. I tried to change my name a million times cause I was a fan of Lil Wayne, J.Cole, Snoop dog. Those are all compact names and I had four syllables in my name. I’ve grown to accept it and now I love my name.

When did you first start getting into Poetry? 

I used to write raps in this notebook from 5th-7th grade. I paid more attention to poetry because that’s what I was graded on in school. English class was my first introduction. I was a big fan of Slim Thug at the time. I’m learning all these poetic devices I’m hearing in rap in school.  I knew that if I wanted to be a rapper I had to be good at English, I had to know how to talk. In 7th grade we had to submit poems for a book and we would read it in front of the class. I wrote five poems, three of them I remember. One was called sunsets and it was about a porch, the other was called Death before Life, which was about abortion. I can’t remember the other one but the other one was the one that ended up getting published.

How did you transition from poetry to music then?

When yahoo messenger became hot because I could talk to a lot of different people from a computer. That’s where I learned to make music through a couple of my friends who would make juke music. I became apart of that culture. When I was 14 I was introduced to Fruity Loops, and my friends Kevin K and Julian Malone. They were some of the first people who taught me about the technicalities of music software. J’Lin too she’s an international footwork DJ and producer now. Those were the people that taught me the basics. That’s when I went back into making footwork tracks. I actually made a diss juke track to this clique at my school called 5 pharaohs. Everybody at school found out about it.

You’re a spiritual person we see it in your tweets and music. How did that come about?

In college I came across “The Secret”, the documentary. All my life I felt that I was special. There were always things that would happen. When I was 18 or 19 I realized I could see people Auras. I started getting into crystals.

When did you and Ambi lyrics come together to make safeNsound?

safeNsound came together in 2015, right after I dropped my first project, “The Vinyl”. Ambi had heard “The Vinyl” in 2012 when I first started putting it together. When I was releasing it Ambi sent me the beat to what is now nine ta five bluez and I wrote that song. When I brought that song back to her she said we should do a project together, and it just kind of formed after that. We did a safeNsound project in 3 months. It was just us putting stuff together. If there was any concept behind the project it was about women. We just wanted to make something for women. We presented my project first and we are going to be releasing Ambi Lyrics next.

In December you released my favorite project of yours “friends first”. Talk to us about that project

I did this program called the artist way, It’s a 12-week program for the recovering creative. I was in a really bad writers block so I started writing everyday. I told the fam at PVTSTCK that whatever songs come from all of this writing, are going to be apart of my next project. Upon finishing the program, I released ‘friends first’. One of the biggest things that changed about this project is that I stopped expecting the feedback I wanted. I stopped expecting a certain type of feedback period. I really detached from social media and perceptions from others. When I hear people tell me they like that project I feel good. My favorite song is probably ahead of the count. And that’s based on replay value. That’s a song I can replay over and not get tired of but the production on Serena is my favorite.

How did you meet the guys over at Private Stock?

I started linking up with them in 2015 after a chance encounter with Luis and Jacob Cuevas from Heart Of The City. We worked for 3-6 months, developed a friendship got to know each other got to know the space and boom here we are two years later.


What are three songs you would recommend to someone who has never listened to your music?

I would say listen to If, No Service, and Changed My Number pt. 2

When it’s all said and done how would you like to be remembered?

That’s not up for me to decide. That’s like a boring answer but that’s just how I feel. I try not to think how other people look at me. If anything I hope to be remembered for something good and something that represented what my life actually did, not what someone tried to make my life out to be.

 Written By: Cory Jackson