Last week, we featured plenty of wonderful artists for our #SOTD, from Dua Lipa to Kendrick Lamar. Out of those artists, we chose to highlight “Dark Red” by Steve Lacy. He’s a 19-year-old musician, producer, songwriter and audio engineer, as well as our Artist of the Week. “Dark Red,” like many of other efforts presented by Lacy, has a nomadic sound, as it finds no home in one genre. It’s not pop, it’s not R&B- in fact, he describes his sound as plaid. As you listen, you can’t find just one thing that has your head bobbing or your foot tapping. You just know every part of each song is rightfully placed and goes together wonderfully. He has such a refined and distinct sound that many artists have requested his work on their own tracks.
He got into producing after meeting fellow The Internet alum, Jameel Bruner while playing in his high school’s jazz band. At 17, he produced Ego Death for The Internet and earned his first Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album in 2016. He says the day he found out, he still had to go to school. That’s the kind of focus he has. As a kid from the rough streets of Compton, he overcame his surroundings by sticking with his music and listening to his mom.
For my American Gods fans, imagine if the Egyptian god of music, Ihy, was down on his luck in an urban city. Technical boy would’ve handed him an iPhone 6 fully equipped with SoundCloud, GarageBand, and an iRig, and this Steve Lacy was born. This is to say, Lacy has mastered the art of music-making technology so well that he rarely has to use traditional studio equipment. He uses a pop filter and sings music straight into his phone. This way, he can make music whenever he has an idea about a riff or lyric. However, you probably couldn’t be able to tell that his music was made on the same device you tweet, snapchat and play Candy Crush on.
People have taken notice to Steve’s creative genius, including Woke Twitter’s faves, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. Steve not only assisted in production for “Folding Clothes” on Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only, but he also provided background vocals for the track. On Lamar’s DAMN., he helped produce “PRIDE.” Other artists include Twenty88, Chloe x Halle, Isaiah Rashad, Kali Uchis and GoldLink. His origin story is similar to that of one of his influences, Pharrell Williams, in the respect that he was discovered young, developed his own signature style and became a phenomenon in no time. He has the potential to be just as essential to the music industry. He has the drive, the talent and now all he needs is time to produce more content to become the legend he’s destined to be.