Getting Real with Reggy Steel -By: Niki Kaos

Written by on July 13, 2022

I met Reggy Steel at the popular Rustic Barn open mic, and he caught my attention immediately with his confidence – a true artist. High-quality lyrics over well produced tracks, the heart of the crowd was captured, and everyone was grooving. Since I’m not afraid of talking to strangers, I caught him out on the back deck where the overflow crowd was socializing, and we became fast friends. I learned about his new album and his experience with rap, and I couldn’t resist learning more about what he’s up to.

RRX: As soon as I saw you perform at the Rustic Barn, I could tell you are in a great place with your music. You have a ton of songs on social media, and your new album “Return of the Servant” was just released in May 2022. The eponymous first track is about returning to your faith. What brought you there? And why did you decide to lead with that message on your album?

RS: For me, I grew up in church. My parents put that foundation in me, and so it’s a big part of who I am. God has always been a big part of my life. With me being older, and having kids and doing my music, I think it’s important to share my faith. 

You know, none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. We all have our issues. But at the end of the day, I always believe we can trust in the Lord to get us through, whatever we’re going through. And sometimes we forget that. Sometimes I forget that. So, me returning back to God, it’s not so much that I ever left. It’s just dealing with work, having kids, doing music, sometimes you get so caught up with other things you forget to say that prayer. So basically, “Return of the Servant” is giving my attention back to God. 

RRX: I’m always interested when I run into people I haven’t met before in the local music scene. How long have you been here, and what has it been like for you?

RS: I’m from Virginia, born and raised. And I work for a naval shipyard out of Newport News, VA and sometimes the government will send a lot of the workers to other areas to help with other naval facilities. But my main hub is back in VA. But I’ve been here in NY working for a while out of this naval site. So that’s part of my job. Sometimes I have to go to other naval yards to help out.

It’s a blessing, because I’ve been doing music for a long time. And I’ve performed at a lot of events in Virginia, but it’s good to get out of your hometown. Because there is only so much you can do on the internet. But sometimes people need that face-to-face interaction. That goes a long way too. People need to see you in public. So being out here for work, I’m taking advantage of the situation, because people of New York can learn about Reggy Steel and learn about who I am.

RRX: I asked you a lot of questions about how to write a good rap song, and it sounds like one basic step is learning how to write and rhyme over beats. But you talk about storytelling as essential for producing a captivating song. Once you mentioned that, I noticed the importance of that part of the creative process. This crosses over multiple genres. On a previous release, your song “Soul Mate” tells a romantic story. How do you think storytelling helps people connect with your music?

RS: One of the key components is storytelling. This is why country music is so popular, because a lot of country music tells stories, which is why it’s a popular genre. So hip hop, when you tell stories, it causes people to listen and dig deep into the song. And think about the type of shows that we watch on Netflix or Hulu, our minds are drawn to suspense. We’re drawn to climax. We’re drawn to twists and turns. Because we always want to know what the surprise is. We always want to know what’s behind that wall.

RRX: That ties into one of the songs you suggested I check out. “Wet Dreams” by J. Cole. I saw the title, and was like, is this going to be racy? But it was actually a very sweet, romantic story about first love. A great surprise. 

RS: I see what you’re saying about my song “Soul Mate” and the song by J. Cole. These are key components that we like to talk about. Think about some of the greatest movies you’ve ever seen, they have action. They have storytelling. Plots, twists and turns that you don’t expect. And then of course, there’s always some love scenes in it. The guy gets the girl, or the girl gets the guy in the end. Those are key components. 

RRX: Let’s show some love for the female side of rap. I’m so old “Push It” was a big hit at my middle school dance. Who should I listen to so I can update my playlist?

RS: Yeah, that’s definitely old school. LOL. Check out Young M.A. Cardi B, and Snow Tha Project.

RRX: Wow – those were all uniquely awesome. I’m glad to see the women are out there representing strong! I especially dig the raw honesty of Young M.A. and the friendly vibes of the Snow Tha Product track. One of the things I love about rap is the honesty involved in the lyrics.

Okay – I’m obsessed with rapping fast. I don’t know why, but I really love to (I feel kind of silly saying so) spit those lyrics! I know there is hope for me! The song “Lucky You” from Joyner and Eminem was like – woah! That’s some serious work. What suggestions do you have for me to learn how to get my motor skills up to speed?

RS: Yes – it’s the skills! It really comes over time. The more you write and the more you rap to a beat, you’ll learn how to find different syllables. The thing to worry about is getting the basics down first. The delivery, the timing of the words, how to write a beat. Work on the basics, and then rapping fast and using different methods of rapping, that’s something that will come naturally over time.

But it’s real dope once you get good at it. Just keep at it. 

RRX: Thank you so much for catching up with me. You’re really fun to talk with and I learned so much! I definitely hope people check out your music – it has all of the elements we talked about! You can find Reggy Steel on Distrokid, YouTube or your favorite streaming and social media sites!

I can’t wait to see you around and check out what is next! Thanks for keeping it real and reminding me about how storytelling sets a foundation for a compelling song, no matter the genre. I think your music is very engaging, and I hope to hear more!

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