Interview: Five Minutes with Donna Lugassy

Donna Lugassy covers self-evaluation with her upcoming solo EP, Love & Breakups which is slated for release on 13 March via Lugassy Records. The EP follows the pattern Lugassy’s own love life travels through, with the first stage being made available to listeners around the world. ‘Moonrise’ covers the introductory or getting to know you phase, where candles, white wine and deep conversations drive the new couple deep into the early hours of the morning.

Donna Lugassy is a name that should be on your lips with an impressive play count of just under 4 million across streaming platforms. The vocalist is known for her numerous collaborations with other artists, including the likes of VINAI and 22Bullets on ‘Take My Breath Away’. However, Lugassy carries with her her own stache of knowledge of the music industry, having been placed in singing lessons at age 14 before going on to receive her Senior General Secondary Education from Codarts University of the Arts in Rotterdam.

While we eagerly await Lugassy’s next release, we sat down for an exclusive interview, greedy for more information about this Dutch singer-songwriter.

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

Since the age of 7, I’ve been obsessed with music and making my own.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

The sound, then freestyling to it usually gives me an idea of what the track is gonna be like and sometimes the freestyles I record end up being the track. Just like the track ‘How bout you’ which is 100% freestyle. I didn’t write any words down when I recorded that.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

No. I produced, wrote, sang and mixed the EP. The Master is done by Erah Music.

What’s on your current playlist?

6lack, Pink Sweat$, D’Angelo, Drake, Kehlani, Burna Boy, Collie Buddz and many more… 

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I sample my own voice often, f*ck it all the way up and use it in my beats/productions.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

I mostly work at home in my self-built studio and that’s where I made the entire EP. Usually, I start with some chords that trigger me to freestyle and then through that freestyle, I can find out what’s on my mind subconsciously… When that comes out I also get more clarity on what I’m dealing with at the moment and can get it out in song. From there, I start building the rest of the song and production.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

I literally woke up one day as a 7-year old, telling my mom I’d become a singer. She told me, “yeah, yesterday you wanted to be a ballerina and tomorrow you’re a painter”. (She would always support me but she didn’t take it seriously at that point). I never changed my mind though. Music came out of nowhere for me since no one in my family did music or knew anything about the industry or how to make music. It was just something that kinda fell from the sky back then since everyone thought I was going to paint or draw later. That’s all I did as a kid. 

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Pink Sweat$ is an upcoming superstar in my opinion. Great music.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Travelling, solitude, great music from other artists…

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I have my MacBook, Komplete Kontrol keyboard, UA apollo interface and a Neumann tlm 103 microphone. That’s what I use in my studio, I also have a smaller set up for if I’m travelling or going to another studio/writing camp.

Any side projects you’re working on?

I also do vocals for several different labels and DJ’s. I’ve done vocals for Spinnin’, Armada and soon on Protocol Records. My name isn’t always on the featurings because I’d like to have my listeners know that I’m more into R&B/pop/soul. 

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

For the last 3 years, I’ve just been doing music fulltime. No other jobs. Struggling artist but it’s what I want to do and I need to make this work for me to be able to function. I know for a fact that this is what I was meant to do. So for years now, I’ve been going to writing camps, trying to get placements, talking to publishers, setting up studio sessions for myself and others, writing for other artists, singing & writing vocals for DJ’s, producing for myself and others and just trying to improve on getting to the core of who I am as a person and an artist. That way I can really get out the music that’s been living deep inside me without any facades.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

This EP is just the start for me. I finally found my sound, the sound I want to produce/write and sing. There is definitely more where that came from. This EP is entirely me, I am also looking forward to doing features with other artists and producers. This project though gives a great idea of me as an artist and as a person.

Famous last words?

I would like to explain what my EP is about. ‘Love & Break Ups’ is my cycle or pattern of romantic relationships… In ‘Moonrise’ there is the push & pull of first getting to know someone, which is still fun & games usually and finding out who likes who the most etc. Then ‘Coldest’ is the part where I have fallen for this person and I’m head over heels thinking this is the one I need. ‘Nobody (loves like I do)’ is the part where there are beginning to show cracks in the relationship and I am so invested, letting the other person know I’m all in and would do anything for them. ‘How Bout You’ is about the other person not coming through for me as I feel that they should have and false promises are getting too much. ‘Break Up’ is where I’m getting fed up with the bullshit and reject the other person and get a real big attitude with them. Then followed by ‘I wish’ is where I feel like I made a mistake by breaking up with them and I have regrets on what I did, rejecting them. Then its usually a wrap and I start all over with a new person back at ‘Moonrise’… “I’ll see u right at the moonrise, convos and white wine” that’s when the next relationship is starting, to do everything all over again and repeat the pattern.

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