Musical Muse

By Tanisia Morris

New York-based singer-songwriter Lachi is legally blind and describes  her condition as severely nearsighted. Originally from Raleigh, North  Carolina, she says that her disability is the driving force behind her music, which is a mix of pop, indie rock and  alternative. She released her debut, self-titled album in 2010.
Since then, her music has been featured on a host of television, documentaries, and radio including Oprah Radio, CBS Radio and NME. She has performed at venues and festivals such as Joe’s Pub, Knitting  Factory, CMJ, SXSW and New York University, where she received her  Masters in music technology. Her sophomore album, Make Some Noise will be released later this year.


[Lachi singing]

“What if we lived in a world without laughter? / a simple joke would be a disaster and a tickle game would surely be sadder…”

I was kind of a shy kid due to my visual impairment. I’m legally blind so I was shy at school so I would be able to come and play music. And it was kind of like a diary. I’d write songs about happenings in school, things I’m worried about, things I’m struggling with and the piano was kind of my best friend — like the person I spoke to.

The visual impairment was kind of what caused the introvertedness and a lot of the kind of issues that I had in high school, you know not being one of the popular kids and feeling left out of things or being picked on — those came from my visual impairment, all those topics to draw from. I don’t know, it helped me build sort of the internal monologue that you need to become a writer.

My visual impairment, it is part of me. If my arm was gone, I’d be like ‘where’s my arm?’ [laughs] so it is a large part of who I am. A lot of people who just come across my music first, don’t know I’m visually impaired or blind and then when they find out, they’re just like ‘oh that’s cool…mmm that’s really interesting’ or they get a little more into it because now they feel more connected just because they know more about me. People that find out that I’m visually impaired first or blind first, maybe from reading an article or they just know me from a friend or something like that, they tend to think ‘oh, well, ok, I guess I’ll check it out’ or they’ll think ‘aww that’s so sweet, I’ll check out.’

Then they’ll check it out and then they’ll really like it, and then it will no longer be important — so my goal is always to sell myself through my music, not necessarily through a gimmick or anything like that. And I think the music does do a very good enough job.

[Lachi  singing “make some noise”]

“You say I’m wrong/ you think you’re right/ you close your ears/ you close your sight/ we just want to make some noise (we just want to make some noise)/ we’re just a bunch of girls and boys (we’re just a bunch of girls and boys)/ and I really, really feel like I have something to say.”