A few days ago I came across this article in Wired, about a young musician named Steve Lacy. Before I even heard his music, I was in. He’s 18 years old and writes, records, and produces all of his music on his iPhone. Let me repeat that – he uses his iPhone as a tool for composing, a recording studio, a microphone, a DAW to mix his tracks, AND a distribution system (he uploads his work to SoundCloud). Welcome to the motherfucking future!
There are so many cool things about this… First of all, it drives home the importance that you don’t need much to make music. Just a burning desire to create and express yourself – armed with that, you WILL find a way. When you are young and driven, this is how it starts. Young Mr. Lacy may have hit the lottery with his current success, but I am not really interested in that. My money says that he would be creating and making music whether he was successful (in the traditional sense of recognition) or not. What is so cool about him is that he is just DOING IT. His drive to express himself in sound just gravitated to whatever tools were at his disposal, and that’s what he used.
Good fortune and the quality of his work led to a connection with Kendrick Lamar, which is a bit of a distraction to the point I am trying to make here. Make no mistake – there is no no viable music business anymore, so the moral of this story has nothing to do with his association with someone who might give the illusion that such a thing exists. But what is so interesting and inspiring about Steve Lacy is that he doesn’t see the limitations of any of this. He is just making cool shit, and for him (and for all of us) it is a glorious time to be alive.