In anticipation of his debut EP, ‘Almost Famous,’ New York’s Lionel Da Vinci stopped by in this exclusive interview to chop it up about everything from growing up on classic soul music to what keeps him going on those inevitably rough days. Catch the full interview below and stay tuned for ‘Almost Famous‘ dropping this Friday (August 25th). 🙌🏽
What part of New York are you from and what was it like growing up there?
I’m from Staten Island, which is hard to say at times haha. I’m more influenced by other places in New York than Staten Island because I spent more time in like Soho, LES and other places. However, I’m still from Staten Island.
You grew up on classic soul music. What were some of your favorite tracks to bang back in the day?
I was always influenced by anything my parents played. My Dad played a ton of Blue Magic and the Spinners. My Mom loved Stevie Wonder. And I gravitated towards those sounds, especially those Philly Soul groups. And Marvin Gaye is probably my favorite artist ever.
Who are some of your favorite artists to listen to now?
Definitely Kendrick Lamar. I love artists who are so passionate, precise and militant in how they operate. It’s so dope when you can see that the final product of the music is 100% the artists vision. Chance, Cole, Frank Ocean are my favorite artists today too. And Jay-Z is always my favorite.
How did you know music was your calling?
I always wrote. Probably since I was 9 or 10, it was always a great creative outlet. I just recently started taking it seriously like 1 year and a half ago. Started producing and making songs.
What kind of sounds can listeners expect to receive on your upcoming EP, ‘Almost Famous?’
-My inspiration for this EP was to make vibes for the weekend. Some songs are made for Friday, some Saturday, some Sunday. There’s gonna be some soulful sounds, some fun sounds. I don’t want to give away too much hahaha, but whatever the weekend sounds like to you, your guess probably isn’t too far off haha.
What keeps you going on those tough days?
Always having the support of everyone around me. Pursuing music is looked down on a lot of the times, but I have a good support system around me and they support what I’m passionate about. And in return I always want to be able to provide for them and contribute to something bigger than me. Trying to encourage people to chase their dreams as well, all those things.
In your opinion, what defines success?
I define success as complete freedom. When I can wake up, and no one can tell me where I have to be at work that day, I’m not limited in what I want to do or where I want to go financially. Complete freedom is success in my opinion.