Steve Lacy is a 19-year old producer and musician whose skills grabbed him a grammy nomination and is part of Times most influential teenagers of 2017.
When Lacy first set out to make music, he couldn’t even afford a laptop, let alone professional recording equipment. So instead, he turned his iPhone into a portable studio—using apps to make original drum patterns and guitar riffs, then layering on vocals he’d recorded using the mike. “You have to find a way with what you have,” he says.
His way paid off: Lacy co-produced his band, the Internet’s 2015 release Ego Death, which went on to nab a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album. Now, in addition to creating his own music, the Compton, Calif., native is producing tracks for artists like Big Sean and Kendrick Lamar. (He says the latter collaboration was like “my eighth-grade playlist coming full circle.”) As his profile increases, Lacy has started to embrace more traditional producing platforms. He remains committed to his iPhone, though. “It’s scary to do things differently,” he says, “but I’m for the weirdos.”