Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

When I was younger, I actually wasn’t really into music.. I used to prefer films like Harry Potter. It was only when I grew up; I went on a trip with my cousin to see my uncle in Liverpool and my cousin showed me Eminem on the telly.

This sparked a massive interest as I think it was the music video for The Real Slim Shady. I loved everything about the beat and at the young age of 11, I managed to torrent (illegally download) all of his music onto my sony ericsson 8 megapixel camera-phone. The earphones became so used and lost all the rubber that protects your ears, I would sit in the car on the way to school with my hands on the headphones applying pressure so that I could hear the bass… It was my first time discovering that I liked the sound of bass and the instruments around it. I found the saxophone really interesting on Eminem’s hit ‘without me’ and would skip through songs looking for interesting sounds (and of course this is something Dr Dre was amazing at). I think that was my first sort of introduction to music, I wasn’t interested in anything else because I found it boring. It was only until my friend after school and his girlfriend were playing ‘Ed Sheeran’ out of a little portable speaker that (as an Eminem fan) I was so annoyed that they were playing something ‘pop’ or something ‘lame’.

Then they switched the track to ‘You Need Me, Man I Don’t Need You’ and it got stuck in my head. For a week I was saying ‘Ed Sheeran Sucks’ and then the week after, I came into school knowing all of his songs from the ‘+’ album. My mate to this day still winds me up about that. Through all this happening I was playing the guitar as a hobby and it was something I really enjoyed. In primary school, I had lessons in a group with other students and I was always struggling and a slow learner compared to others, so I didn’t consider myself as a great guitarist. In secondary school, I taught myself beatboxing after seeing a YouTube clip of ‘The French Beatboxer’ on America’s Got Talent and my friend lent me his Roland Cube Amp to beatbox in Eastbourne Town Centre. This was really where the excitement for music started, I would get small crowds of people watching and made about £12.50 in an hour and I was over the moon. That moment of counting the pound coins with my friend in McDonald’s always sits in my memory. I kept on beatboxing and making money to spend on clothes at Topshop but I came across other buskers who were playing the guitar and singing and they just seemed to make more money. This pushed me to start busking with my guitar and I tried singing for the first time.

My friend who was lending me the amplifier was busy so I had to make do with my acoustic guitar and just found a spot in the Town Centre, under some trees to sit on the floor. Two girls said that I sounded like Ed Sheeran so I decided to start learning some of his songs and the next time I went busking, I played it to them. I was making more money from singing than I ever had from beatboxing and this improved my confidence as a singer/guitarist. It was only when I started liking a girl in my year that I started writing songs. She would show me artists that she liked and I would attempt to write my own songs about her in order to get her attention. Surprisingly, this actually worked and I liked being known in school as the person who sings and writes songs like Ed Sheeran, so I continued to write and my music teacher encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing. Acting had always been my dream before this, but I found more satisfaction in writing and singing my own music and after all the songs were written about (the girl I liked), I continued writing music about other things for other reasons and that’s when I knew that this was something I wanted to do and take with me as my career choice. I never wanted a ‘safe/secure’ job and I always saw the ‘dream’ as something to strive for.

Introduce us to you and your musical history.

My name is Luch Stefano, I’m a singer from Eastbourne. I started out beatboxing and performed a 2 minute set in my secondary school’s ‘gala concert’ and ‘stole the show’. The big response led to me writing a 17 track album and recording it with one of my friends who was studying at ACM College in Guildford. I would sneak into some of his lessons as his teacher liked me and believed in the project and we spent long hours producing and recording ‘Falling Through Flaws’.

During the recording process I met a girl during my session who had travelled from France to record a YouTube video with my producer and she later became my girlfriend. I then was offered a headline slot at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Bar in London in the Ruby Sings room and I used it as an opportunity to bring a live band to launch the album for Spotify and Apple Music. We sold out the room and performed all the songs live in 2015. After this my partner and I broke up and I was accepted to record where Ed Sheeran recorded ‘+’ (Sticky Studios) and I worked with someone who produced my EP ‘I’ve Seen You Naked’ which is about the French girl that I had just broken up with. The single itself is still growing but has hit over half a million streams on Spotify.

18 of my tracks have since aired on BBC Introducing and I performed for Apple at their store launch on Regent Street (London). I then won Eastbourne’s ‘Shine Bright’ Competition in first place with BBC’s Mark Curry as a judge, through this we managed to raise over £1000.00 for Children in Need where I was interviewed on BBC News. I also auditioned for The Voice UK and got through with a small handful of others to the ‘Live Judges Round’ and performed in front of Olly Murs, William, Tom Jones, and Jennifer Hudson, none of them turned their chairs or chose me so I didn’t get aired! I then auditioned for Romeo and Duet and aired on ITV1 covering Lewis Capaldi’s ‘Someone You Loved’, I blew to 130,000 followers on TikTok after a video of mine went viral and I have been managing and supporting myself alone off of gigs and music.. I think that’s about it.

Name me your 3 favorite Albums.

‘+’ by Ed Sheeran, ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’ by Eminem, and ‘The College Dropout’ by Kanye West.

What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?

It was either ‘Stan’ by Eminem or ‘Without Me’ or ‘You Need Me, Man I Don’t Need You’ or ‘Small Bump’ by Ed Sheeran.

The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?

I don’t know if it’s necessarily the hardest… I think it’s difficult. I find the funding part the hardest, I’ve sunk thousands into this career for very small progress, I could’ve probably gotten a mortgage and moved out of my mums house by now if I wasn’t an artist but then I’m so committed to my dream that I think I’ll be able to buy her another house one day.

As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?

If I knew that I’d probably be a lot bigger than I am haha. I think advertising is expensive but also important. To be completely honest, no artist likes hearing it, but it’s going viral.. Around your music. People don’t want to be ‘sold’ your song on TikTok, they want to be given an experience around your song, then decide for themselves if they want to type you up. This way, they feel as if they’ve discovered you themselves. Oh and don’t ever brag your music is free in a way that tries to make people feel like they owe you their ears… Free music is everywhere for them.

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you?

I mix ketchup and brown sauce on a fry-up, I can fit 41 Maltesers in my mouth and I eat Beanz straight out of the tin.

What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?

Tough one. Spotify dominates the music industry but I’m on their side when it comes to being innovative and stopping people from pirating music. I think they should offer Marquee or Campaigns for any artist. It’s a shame I can’t use that feature because I haven’t got a thousand followers on there. I didn’t ever promote following my Spotify in the past because I didn’t think I needed followers on there really. I think they’re great but they could be paying more royalties and doing more to help expose smaller artists.

Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories?

Nope. I think the industry is suspicious at times but that’s just down to who you know. I can’t stand how booking agents, promoters, and managers will all ignore you if they’ve never heard your name.

Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?

No. I bought the bare minimum.

What was the worst experience on stage?

Probably when I was busking in Brighton with my mum watching, I was robbed by three dudes and my mum started crying… Was a bit of a disaster.

Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about.

I sang to Conor Maynard when I was in a duo and we filmed it and put it on YouTube. I was busking ‘Let Her Go’ by Passenger in Brighton and Passenger came and put £2 in my tin saying ‘that’s my song

What makes you stand out as a band/artist?

I’m like a mix of Ed Sheeran and Eminem, I’m a lot rougher than Ed when it comes to rap and production and a lot softer than Eminem, I’m somewhere in between. I’m Greek and Chinese and have a unique clothing style that is slightly urban with a bandanna and a cap. My inspirations are drawn from UK Grime, RnB, and Motown as well as folk classics. My message is always being yourself and do things yourself when no one else will for you. I also write about life experiences and heartbreak. I can contrast from soft to rap and am experimental with my music when it comes to song topics and production.

I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.

This song ‘I Like it on You’ is the opener to HErARTWORK which is an album I’ve always wanted to create and release. I put this album together from some of my best work and it just made sense to me in this order. It takes you back to my relationship in London with my French girlfriend at the time and it brings you into a world of synth acoustic romance. There’s around 17 songs and they were all written around the time that I was deeply lost in love but also anticipating the end of our relationship. This is because we both knew she had signed an agreement form to start a course at Berklee in the United States. I would wait on producers in the past, but then last year I put a stop to any sort of waiting and bought all the equipment I needed to do it myself on a credit card. I put myself on the line and have been working on this project since, I’m a big fan of risk and following my dreams but of course the process of production is never easy. I’m super proud of what I have achieved and how professional but raw all these songs sound from the hours of work put into them.

I Like it On You, opens the project with a smooth sounding acoustic guitar and then leads you into the atmosphere of the song. This song in particular says ‘I hate that bloody accent, but I suppose I like it on you. Surprisingly enough, this song was actually about a different girl that I was working with, she was from Newcastle. The song fit so well as the opener that I slotted it in. This girl had a ‘Geordie’ accent (that’s what we call it in the UK) and it’s a little bit of a joke that I used to tease her about and it made a very cool line for my song.

Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.

The thought process of the new tunes was ‘I want them to tell my story and to help the listener transcend into this world’. I was a big fan of synths on Drake’s ‘Take Care’ album and I loved the way it sucked you in, I loved the way you could feel a sense of sadness or loneliness within the production and this is something that I wanted to capture at times. I wanted the listener to feel like they were in my shoes living in a London Uni room through the cold winter with only a romance which is bound to end, to keep you company. Someone who becomes your best friend and adventure companion is the one that will break your heart.

What was the recording process like?

It was difficult. Recording and production have never been my favourite thing to do but as a musician, you know exactly how you want it to sound in your head and no one else knows that vision (or sound) better than you do. It was only when I was in session with a producer once that I was telling him everything to do and he turned around and said ‘mate, you should do it yourself because I’m literally just doing what you’re saying’ and then I realised actually yeah there’s no reason why I can’t.

I guess I didn’t have the confidence to believe in myself as a producer because I’ve always been an artist. I want the best for the song and never knew if my sound was good enough quality. So what I do is, I produce the song and then I send it to my producer Ed Stokes to just mix the sound. I send him the sounds with all my effects on them so that it doesn’t change the tone or sound of the recording but he cleans up little bits that clutter the song and also puts a bit of icing on the cake.. If you like. I had to write notes in my book whilst listening to the most recent draft in order to decide exactly what I was going to work on, so that I don’t waste any time working on pointless distractions.

I had to develop a form of discipline to actually sit at my desk and do the work (which wasn’t fun) but it’s incredibly rewarding once I bounce down the track which I’ve sunk a whole day into, AirDrop it to my phone and listen in my car on a drive. This gives me fresh ears to feel the song rather than overthinking it in the studio. If it makes me excited and I start singing along, I know I’m on the right path. This isn’t always the case, but I note it down if something is bothering me or feels missing.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

I’d say my production has improved and I’ve learned that I don’t actually ‘need’ someone else to produce the songs, I can actually do it myself. But that being said, I think I’ve learned that a lot of my melodies in the future could be played with a lot more. I’ve been listening to a lot of older music like American Pie by Don McLean and I love the way he changes his melodies. This is something I want to take with me into writing new songs, but I felt I needed to get these ones out of my system first to really progress in my skill of writing.

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

No, if I ever feel like I need to change something, I always change it before it’s released! A track is finished when I no longer feel anything is missing or doesn’t feel right.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Just all the music that I can create and give!