The Future of Production: Steve Lacy
by Lila Gilliam
Steve Lacy, born Steve Thomas Lacy-Moya, is a bassist, producer, and all-around musical genius who grew up in Los Angeles. California. The Compton-raised artist grew up musically inclined with a creative family, playing the bass and guitar in his early high school years. In the ninth grade, his mother decided to put him in a school to play in their Jazz band. Little did she know, this unseemingly small decision would change the course of her son’s life. Pushing Steve to explore his musical talents led him to be one of the youngest Grammy-nominated producers that the world has seen.
In 9th grade, Lacy met Jameel Bruner, former keyboardist for the Internet, who was a senior and fellow student in the Jazz band. Bruner saw potential in Lacy at 15 years old, and the two began working together. Later, when Jameel joined The Internet, he brought Lacy to writing sessions. There he met Syd, Matt Martians, Patrick Paige II, and Christopher Smith, who would then become bandmates with and rise to fame. Lacy worked to co-produce more than half of his first album with The Internet, “Ego Death” which later received a Grammy nomination.
Outside of working with the band, the artist has also found time to collaborate and produce for other well-known artists like J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, GoldLink, and many more- all at 18 years old. Steve’s methods of music production are somewhat unconventional. WIRED journalist, David Pierce, spent an evening with Lacy in the studio where he uses the Garageband App on his phone and an iRig to create songs from start to finish; first, he creates a drum loop, records guitar through his iRig, and then layers his vocals after singing them into the phone with a Pop filter. Remarkably, his creation process seems to be simple, but he has worked for such big-time artists.
Presently, Lacy has two solo albums out, “Apollo XXI” and “The Lo-Fis”, one EP, “Steve Lacy’s Demo,” and nine singles as the leading artist. Steve has 59 credits for either featuring, producing or writing on his own and other artists’ music. He’s worked with Colombian artist Kali Uchis on many of her projects, Los Angeles- native, Tyler, the Creator on many of his projects including “Flower Boy”, Dynamic girl group, with Chloe X Halle on their track “Worries”, and many more artists. He’s even collaborated with Compton’s YG. The list goes on and on for artists that he’s worked with within the past six years. Here are some of his most well-known collaborations. Here are some of the most well-known songs for which he was credited.
In an interview with The Fader, Lacy notes that some of his idols and influences include Thundercat, Erykah Badu, Mac DeMarco, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Pharrell, and Prince. Many of these artists that he idolizes make unorthodox R&B music, which makes sense compared to the sounds of Steve Lacy. Lacy’s music has Soul, Funk, Alternative, and Jazz elements, from his bass licks to the chord progressions. He has a very differentiable sound that carries across all of his music as well as his features.
Steve Lacy identifies as a cisgender, bisexual man. Much of his more recent social involvement and activism has been embracing the LGBTQ community, as he recently came out as bisexual. Lacy tells how as a devout Christian, he ignored his attractions and feelings until it was no longer possible. Now he is very involved in speaking out and showing awareness and support for the LGBTQ community.
So far, Lacy has been an integral part of modern Hip Hop and R&B production, all while shaking the game and producing much of the most famous work on his iPhone. Lacy has wholly destroyed the stigma that musical success is only acquired by access to money and expensive studios to create quality music, as a few of his iPhone-produced efforts have been nominated for Grammys. Steve Lacy has shaken the entertainment industry and will continue to amaze, innovate, and pave the way for other artists like himself in the future of music.
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Dweyer, Vincent. “There’s a Reason Everybody Loves Steve Lacy.” Acclaim Mag, 2017, acclaimmag.com/music/steve-lacy-interview-the-internet/. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.
Frank, Alex G. “Greatly Blessed and Highly Favored: Steve Lacy Is Destined for Big Things, If He Wants Them.” Medium, FANTASTIC MAN, 23 May 2020, medium.com/@alexgfrank/greatly-blessed-and-highly-favored-steve-lacy-is-destined-for-big-things-if-he-wants-them-by-765a520743a6.
Musoni, Malcolm. “Steve Lacy Produced A Grammy Nominated Album, Now He’s Ready To Graduate High School.” Fader, 19 Apr. 2016, www.thefader.com/2016/04/19/steve-lacy-the-internet-interview. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.
Pierce, David. “The Guy Who Produced Kendrick Lamar’s Best New Track Did It All on His IPhone.” Wired, Conde Nast, 14 Apr. 2017, 7 AM, www.wired.com/2017/04/steve-lacy-iphone-producer/.
TEDXTeen. The Bare Maximum | Steve Lacy | TEDXTeen. TEDx Talks, 19 Dec. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUnmrQfdYpg.
White, Ryan. “Steve Lacy: Musical Wunderkind.” i-D, VICE, 2 May 2019, i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/qv78yv/steve-lacy-interview-tyler-mitchell. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.