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“In the SoundCloud era, we posted music like we post a selfie on Instagram.”

American singer Steve Lacy © Sony Music

American singer Steve Lacy © Sony Music

Number: You just revealed Gemini Rights, your first studio-produced album. How does it represent a turning point in your career?

Steve Lacy: First, there was the pandemic. I started to think about my status, to ask myself why I do what I do and I started to be more confident… This album marks a turning point: the first time I consider myself an artist. Before, although my name was credited on platforms etc, I didn’t think I was good enough to be an artist…

How did you consider yourself?

I was just a guitarist or a producer. I don’t know… I liked my ideas, but I thought of myself only as a musician. Being an artist is about making artistic choices, it’s not just about having good ideas. This album makes me an artist. I thought about it a lot, made choices, edited it the way I wanted…

Does spending time making artistic choices make personal decisions harder to make?

Nope ! Artistic choices are about playing with people’s perception of who you are. And life choices are more like asking what you want to eat today…I would say both are difficult. [Rires.]

Talking about the perception people have of you, why did you hide the fact that you could sing when you were younger?

I didn’t want to be seen as a singer. My little sister pushed me, I worked on my voice, but I hated it because I didn’t want people to hear that I was struggling. It was a mix of pride, fear, I didn’t want anyone to meddle in my business…

How did you consider yourself at the time?

I was just a guy [Rires] ! A guy who experiments.

Are you the type that can’t stop thinking?

Never. I am very impulsive. I even tell myself sometimes that I don’t think enough, that is to say!

Have you deleted Garage Band [le logiciel avec lequel il a entièrement produit ses deux premiers albums] also under the influence of impulsiveness?

Nope ! I don’t use it anymore but I still have it on my phone. I often want to listen to some of my old productions…

How has the SoundCloud platform changed the way you make, find or publish music?

It had a crazy impact! Something we won’t know again… Still from the point of view of someone very impulsive, I think that in the era of SoundCloud, we published music like we post a selfie on Instagram. For example, I produced the track That’s no fun in high school, I made the mix quickly on campus and posted it! It was a very important tool around which a real community gathered. Some are still on it by the way, but this period was fabulous: we didn’t think too much, it wasn’t artistic at all… Now everything is monetized, you have to think more, put more intention, think about what you’re in. as an artist.

In 2017, Tyler, The Creator released a track called November where he evokes the fear, for an artist, of no longer being as creative as we once were. Have you experienced this feeling since your debut with The Internet?

I think I’ve felt this many times: for my album Steve Lacy’s Demo [2017]the title Palace/Curse [2015] and the scrapbook Ego Death [2015] from The Internet. I was like fuck, shit, I’m good! So, you take the big head… You wonder if you will feel that again. Not if you’re going to produce something as good, but just if you’re going to feel like you’re good again. It’s full of questions, fears…. With this album, I broke away from that: I was finally able to think about what I was going to do after without comparing to what I did before. I had to remove those moments from their pedestal. Tell me ok, it happened and let’s move on. I learned to let go, to detach myself from the moments when I was sad not to be able to go back…

In one of your titles, you say that one does not surprise a person of the Gemini sign. Why ?

I say that because I am everywhere: my mind is in two thousand places at the same time and is always at the crossroads of lots of ideas. I think of all the ways something can happen before it happens..

Your mother and your sister sang backs on a few tracks on the album. I imagine that they gave their opinion at the time of listening. How do you usually receive reviews?

It affects me in a weird way. I tell people to fuck off in the first place, that they don’t know anything about it because it’s my thing, and then I think about it. I tell myself that in the end, they may be right… [Rires] Like when my mother lectured me and I didn’t want to listen to anything and later admitted that she was right.

Gemini Rights (2022) by Steve Lacy, available from RCA Records/Sony Music Entertainment.


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