Recording artist Steve Lacy is living life like a true rockstar, and apparently, that was always written in the stars for him. The Grammy-nominated singer has come a long way since bursting onto the scene as part of the band The Internet. Now, as a chart-topping, sold-out headlining tour solo act, the guitarist has found an artistic lane for himself that blends the sounds fans have come to know him by as well as what made him want to be a musician in the first place. The songwriter sat down with The Guardian to share what musicians inspired his irresistible sound and more.
Beginning his career in alternative R&B, Lacy shifted to an indie rock-influenced sound with his breakout single, “Bad Habit.” When asked by journalist Shaad D’Souza about this genre blending, Lacy replied, “I’ve always loved doing that — if I have a rocky beat, putting a soulful melody on it. Like ‘Dark Red’ and all those types of songs. It’s a way to play and introduce new ideas into things that we know already.”
He later added, “Growing up playing [the video game] Guitar Hero put me on to a lot of rock and guitar music. As I got older, artists such as Paramore raised me. Mac DeMarco, Dirty Projectors, Vampire Weekend. Even Weezer’s ‘Undone’ is one of my favorite songs ever.”
The singer did not hold back from gushing about Paramore’s Hayley Williams, sharing, “Hayley’s voice and melodies are crazy because she takes the rock thing and makes it soulful.”
As for what he loves about Weezer, Lacy said, “With Weezer, I love the wit and humor. The dissonance of the chord progression of ‘Undone’ is truly just weird. For something like that to exist was super important for me in my musical journey, to be, like: ‘Oh, wow, you can make this sound fun and dope.’”
Other muses of Lacy include late musical icons Prince and Jimi Hendrix. “When I make music, I take a small piece of everything that I love – I’ll take certain melodic approaches from Prince, but I’ll play it as if someone else was mimicking Prince, like if Jimi Hendrix tried to be Prince,” he said. “But I like to mix different approaches together. It happens naturally. I’m never doing it all purposely. It’s just inside of me.”
Lacy concluded his inspiration list by shouting out about indie act Faye Webster, calling her “dope.”
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.