Lil Nas X is a musician who is perhaps best known for his song ‘Old Town Road’. He is a singer and rapper, but does he use autotune?
Lil Nas X does use autotune, and the vocal processing technology is used on ‘Old Town Road’. The singer has, however, also shared a video where he sings the track without autotune.
Read more about Lil Nas X below.
Who is Lil Nas X?
Lil Nas X, real name Montero Lamar Hill, was born in Atlanta in 1999. He spent his early childhood living with his mother and father, though the family split when he was aged six.
Following this, he and his mother began living with his grandmother. These years were spent in a difficult area that had issues with violence and drugs.
A few years after moving in with his grandmother, he returned to live with his father and his new stepmother. The new area was more subdued with fewer problems with gangs, though the young Lil Nas X didn’t appreciate this as a child.
“I didn’t want to leave what I was used to,” he recalls. “But it was better for me. There’s so much sh*t going on in Atlanta – if I would have stayed there, then I would have fallen in with the wrong crowd.”
His relationship with his mother became strained. For a period, they were in contact, albeit infrequently, but eventually lost touch with one another completely.
He succeeded academically and showed an interest in music from a young age. He played trumpet from fourth grade, but quit learning the instrument for fear of how his peers might view his hobby.
Around the time he began high school, he relocated once again to Lithia Springs with his father. He stopped attending extracurricular activities and instead spent much of his time on the internet.
“I started to isolate myself,” he says. “I don’t know why. I guess I was finding out who I am.”
He took a particular interest in Twitter, sharing amusing memes and trying to build his follower count. He then tried sharing his own comedy videos in the hope that he could use his following to promote himself.
In 2018, while a student at the University of West Georgia, Lil Nas X took his first step into music. He recalls the event nonchalantly, saying “I got bored one day and made this song.”
He posted the track ‘Shame’ on Soundcloud, and it received a positive response. Only a few months later, he dropped out of college to pursue music.
He moved in with his sister and continued releasing songs, though they failed to make any real impact. He stumbled across a producer named YoungKio on YouTube and, enjoying what he heard, paid to use the producer’s beat.
This would form the basis of ‘Old Town Road’. He released the track on Twitter, continuously promoting it until it gained traction.
Just days after its release, he tweeted “Twitter please help me get Billy Ray Cyrus on this.”
Soon, he was being contacted by music executives. Eventually, he agreed on a deal with Columbia Records.
The song’s popularity exploded again when it was remixed, this time including a verse sung by country legend Billy Ray Cyrus, as Lil Nas X had wished for in his earlier tweet. Cyrus, he explains, is known by multiple generations, both as an artist in his own right and as the father of Miley Cyrus.
“Twitter can make a lot of things happen if you get enough retweets,” he says.
The song was the subject of some controversy when it was removed from the Country chart, as it was deemed not to be classified as a country song. Only a few months after the decision, the track won musical event of the year at the Country Music Awards.
For Lil Nas X, his fame can be “overwhelming,” though he appears to have his coping mechanisms. “I just shut down on everybody,” he says, “I’m still a loner in a lot of ways.”