shesaid.so Member Spotlight #27: Lachi

Lachi

In honor of The International Day of Disabled Persons, which took place earlier this month, shesaid.so is featuring one of our very inspiring members for our December Member Spotlight series.

Lachi is a legally blind recording artist, songwriter, author, model, and diversity inclusion advocate based in New York City. In the face of her differences, Lachi has made astounding achievements throughout her career — she’s released songs with SONY and Warner Music, she’s clocked in over 100 million streams on Spotify, and she’s been featured in The New York Times, Oprah Radio, NPR, HuffPost, and more.

Lachi spoke to SheSaid.So about being an advocate for persons with disabilities, why her life has improved as her sight has decreased, and why New York City inspires her.

What do you consider to be some of your greatest career achievements?

Firstly, thanks for having me! While I’ve achieved a lot of really cool things in music — collaborations with and support by artists like Snoop Dogg and Armin van Buuren, placements in TV, print and film, and just cracking 10 Million on spotify — my greatest achievements have actually come once I began advocating as an artist with some diversities. After embracing my difference, I found myself speaking on national stages like Adweek and the National Endowments for the Arts, I saw myself in the New York Times, having meetings with Senator Schumer and Rep. Maloney’s offices, speaking with the Biden campaign regarding disability inclusion, and the like. So I’d say, my greatest achievement has been the very act of embracing my difference unapologetically.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a legally blind artist?

Actually, my bigger challenges have been due to my gender and race. No question. I get things done, crack wise, and speak my mind…which I believe goes directly against the “how to be a woman in the music industry” handbook.

I could say being blind makes travel difficult, but frankly being black is the bigger issue, and whipping out the cane almost always helps disarm that.

I could say being blind makes it hard to break-ice at events, but some of my best conversations have started with me saying “Hi I’m Lachi. I’m blind. Let’s do this,” which often gets the response of either “Woah, tell me more!” or “Actually we already met, and you had a different drink then!”

As my vision has progressively decreased, my quality of life has increased exponentially. More confidence, more productivity, steadier checks, not to mention better looking, and really just doing much bigger things than my past sighted self could have imagined.

My blindness is, hands down, the best thing about me. And I get to feel that pride openly and without shame.

Share one piece of advice that has stayed with you in your career.

“Show up to the networking event. You’re going to get a ‘No’. Show up to the next event. You’re going to get another ‘No’ and another ‘No’ and ‘No No No No No.’ But eventually you’re going to get that one ‘YES’….That ‘Yes’ that valued you for exactly what you are. Take that ‘Yes’ and build.” — Dr. Marcellina Offoha

What are you most inspired by — ie. a particular person, film, song, piece of art — and why?

This is always an impossible question. My back to the wall, I’d have to say New York City. It’s exactly everything. It’s beautiful yet unforgiving, accepting but exclusive, hard but worth it, sometimes cold, but always home. I identify with that duality but only because the city’s strong personality has helped shape my own. The city offered me an independence that a blind kid just can’t get anywhere else. And the consistent growth is very much apparent in everything I write.

What is your advice to other musicians with a disability?

Don’t be an inspiration; be a badass. People flock to boldness. — Lachi

Watch Lachi’s recently-released visual arts piece, ‘The Bigger Plans Project’, celebrating a journey of self-love, disability pride, and fashion inclusion:

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🌎 A global independent community of women, gender minorities & allies in music. 🙏 Join us as a member or ally today: https://www.patreon.com/shesaidso

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