Lutalo shares their musical firsts, from their first instrument to their first officially released song and more.

Music was a crucial family activity for Lutalo growing up. Their father helped to educate them on the Black experience in America through some of the greatest art produced by Black Americans in history – hip-hop, jazz and more. Meanwhile, one of their first inspirations came when they were taken to African drumming classes by their parents.


That exposure to great Black art has interwoven with Lutalo’s kaleidoscope of experiences growing up in Minnesota, travelling across the state for school, and in spending time as an adult in the beating heart of New York City. Now, they’ve made their peace with urban life and moved to a new locale entirely – the quiet green land of Vermont, where they have focused on building a small community that can be passed down to future generations.


It’s an ethos that has fed directly into Lutalo’s latest work, a transfixing fusion of bustling urbanism and the tranquility of rural life – a fitting theme for an artist who has just toured with Adrienne Lenker of Big Thief. In doing so, they aim to probe the two highly diverging sides of America, and see whether a gap can be bridged between them.


On the EP, they say, “I tend to grapple with a lot of existential questioning, I wanted to capture what it feels like to be a twenty-something in this time period, reflecting on our relationship with technology, the internet, relationships, world governments, housing… All while discovering what it means to be an adult and how our definition of what that looks like begins to shift. The vision I have for this project is not so much genre-based as it is sound-based, and that sound is just a reflection of me. I didn’t want any boundaries because I’m not trying to replicate anything that’s come before, I only want to be adding to music in some way.”


We caught up with Lutalo to find out about their musical firsts, from the first song they ever made to their first iPod Nano to the hardest obstacles they’ve faced.

First song you ever made?

The first song I ever made was in middle school. I wrote a song for a girl I had a huge crush on. Never got to show it to her but that’s probably for the best.
First song you released officially?
The first song I released officially on my own was a track called “Love Drought.” It was a bit more poppy and electronic, something I was experimenting with at the time.
First CD or record you owned?
I got this record from a shop in Minneapolis called “Work” by Sound Team. A pretty cool album, it turns out it’s just really hard to find on the internet so I’m happy that I have it.
First time you realized you wanted to be an artist?
I remember huddling over a iPod Nano my aunt got me as a kid with my best friend, watching the music video for “Clint Eastwood” by Gorillaz secretly during recess. We must’ve watched it a hundred times over, and I just remember wanting to play in that band so bad. Or even just be part of a band that cool. I think that was when I really wanted to start learning how to create music.
First gig and first festival you went to?
The first gig I went to was P!NK at the Excel Center in  St.Paul, MN! In middle school my friend’s dad’s had tickets and he brought me along. Can’t even lie, the 40 year old women around us were so hyped it almost made it fun. The first festival was Sound Set. It was a HipHop festival my dad took my brother and I to. I think right before the final act a tornado ended coming through and everyone had to rush to their cars and leave.
First time you faced an obstacle in your career?
I think the first obstacle was just naming a project my after myself, and it only being me. I was just a drummer prior to this project, and I literally got to be in the background of any group I was in. It was a little scary to imagine starting out playing shows all alone on stage, and having no one else to defer to.
First instrument you owned?
I believe the first instrument I owned was a Djembe, a West African drum my mother gifted to me.
First time you felt like giving up?
I had one occurrence when a close friend told me my voice was going to hold me back and I should focus on writing for others. I know they meant well, and it wasn’t the first time I had been told something like that, but it definitely felt rough. I’m glad they did though because it ended up just pushing me harder, and here we are.
First time you felt starstruck?
I can’t really recall a time I’ve ever felt starstruck, but I was super excited when I saw Khurangbin in concert.
First time you ticked off a bucket list goal?

I don’t know but I just went to Star Wars world at Disney and that was pretty cool.

Stream "Call It In" below:


Related Articles

Undiscovered: Keaton Rich, Saya Gray and Lutalo

Undiscovered is a weekly playlist sharing our pick of the best new music from the world's most exciting emerging musicians. You heard it here first.