Apple Music just released an album made on an iPhone

So much creative power in so many pockets

Apple, Steve Lacy, The Internet, iPhone, iPad, Billboard, GarageBand, Apple Music, iOS
Credit: Apple

Apple continues to create tools that let creative people be creative, with a new album release recorded on an iPhone, edited on GarageBand and made available through Apple Music proving the value of the end-to-end creative ecosystem the company has built.

Steve Lacy’s Demo

Grammy-nominated artist, Steve Lacy (also in a band called The Internet), just released a new album project (Steve Lacy's Demo) through Apple Music. The entire project was recorded on an iPhone, edited using Apple’s consumer-friendly GarageBand, and made its debut on Apple Music this week.

You can hear it here.

I think the release underlines Apple’s historical commitment to providing creative tools for the rest of us. The complexity of the music helps demonstrate the potential of these tools for unique self-expression.

Lacy spoke with Beats 1 anchor, Matt Wilkinson, about the project and why he chose to work with an iPhone. While he built some drum riffs in Ableton, Lacy pulled all the recordings together in GarageBand. The artist likes that he can record ideas and build new hooks in his hotel room when he’s on tour.

The hook on the first track was recorded in a hotel room in Australia, he said, “I will record anywhere I get an idea,” he said. “So shout out to GarageBand for being so mobile and such a good way to get my ideas out.”

Be creative

While it’s a neat story in technology terms, Lacy is also passionate about the potential for self-expression locked inside devices hundreds of millions of iPhone users already possess. In the right hands these devices are tools for personal empowerment.

“To give the message to kids that like, you don’t have to be limited to use this equipment to get these ideas out. Cos you know you have like, I feel like there’s a lot of kids, or just people in general who are like, “I can’t do this because I don’t have this”. You know what I’m saying? Yeah, when you have an iPhone, work with what you have. Cos if you have the ideas, it’s going to comprehend you know what I’m saying?”

Digital natives

Lacy is one of a new breed of completely digitally savvy artists. He was eight-years old when the iPhone first appeared and five when Apple shipped the first version of GarageBand.

“I started making beats on my iPhone because I wasn’t about the excuse of ‘oh I don’t have this, so I’m just not gonna do it,” he says.

“So I went to this Guitar Center convention and bought this piece called the iRig which was $20. Initially I got it just to plug my guitar in my phone and see what apps have cool guitar effects. Then I got this app called Akai MPC and that’s where I started chopping all my drums up and doing all my samples, strictly off the iPhone,” he said.

“Then I made a little more money, got a laptop, and made beats and songs off my laptop, but I still went back to this method. It was just raw and it’s home, you know?"

Lacy isn’t the first artist to record an album completely on an iPhone – other artists to have done so include One Like Son and Dan Tedesco. Damon Albarn famously recorded Gorrilaz fourth studio album, The FaIl, on an iPad.

Happy birthday Steve

It is all the same worth noting that Lacy’s album makes its debut during the same month veteran music industry title, Billboard, used a picture taken using an iPhone as the  image on its front cover.

Events like these testify to the raw creative power available to every iPhone user.

Ten years since the introduction of the iPhone, these 'computers for the rest of us' reflect Steve Jobs' life's work, from his summer job at HP to the potential for powerful creative expression you hold in your pocket, today.

I can’t help but reflect that the fact millions worldwide now have access to these creative tools can be seen as a  fitting tribute to Apple’s Steve Jobs, who would have been 62-years old today.

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