Brocton musician staying on positive track
Brocton’s Collin Lacki has accomplished quite a lot in his 21 years. In such a short time, Lacki has been a part of a couple different bands, and even released his own Extended Play last month, entitled “Flipside.” And all his musical accomplishments become that much more impressive when you find out he can’t really see.
A month before his fifth birthday, Lacki said cataracts were found on his eyes, and in the time since then, he’s had 13 eye surgeries over the years, and his vision has fluctuated through that time as well. When he was around 10 years old, Lacki said his vision was nearly perfect, but when he was 12, he started developing glaucoma, leading to losing vision in his left eye. Then when he was nearly 14, he needed surgery on his right eye that to this day he has never recovered from, leaving him with just limited sight in his left eye.
“Currently I’m pretty much completely blind in my right eye and I can see a foot in front of me with my left eye,” said Lacki.
Lacki comes from a family with strong military ties, and always saw himself following in the footsteps of the many men in his family before him. However, once his vision became worse and worse, the military goals had to be put aside. What didn’t have to be put aside though was his love of music, which began when he was eight, learning how to play keyboard on his grandfather’s electric organ.
“He taught me how to play when I was very young,” he said. “It piqued my interest and I’ve kept it since then. I kept the muscle memory from when I used to play when I was younger and now, I’ve learned to play better as of recently.”
Lacki was part of his first band at 16 years old, a metal band called Through the Storm, though the band couldn’t make it through the storm of all the members being old enough to go off to college. But Through the Storm allowed Lacki his first real chance of songwriting.
“They had a singer who ended up leaving so I started taking over songwriting and that was my first experience writing music,” he said. “Whether it was good or not, probably not, I was 16, but that was my first experience of seeing music as an outlet for getting any sort of emotion out and getting other people to hear it.”
Lacki went on to attend Niagara County Community College, where he really focused on making piano his main instrument, as opposed to bass guitar, which was his main instrument in high school. Lacki took private lessons with a few of the professors, who he said were very good and accommodating of him and how he needed to learn. NCCC, in a rock ensemble class, is also where Lacki met the members of his next band, Tedesco Knows Best, with Tom Tedesco and Connor Best. Together, they played their first show in May 2021.
“In rock ensemble, they’d split us up into groups and create a bunch of bands and we had a performance at the end of the semester,” said Lacki. “Thomas (Tedesco) came to class and wasn’t even a student, and one thing led to another and I joined as the keyboard player. We’ve done a bunch of shows since then.”
With Tedesco Knows Best, Lacki had the chance to open for the Tubes at the Riviera Theater in October 2021, among playing in many other shows. And while still with the band, Lacki has recently focused more on his own music. Lacki started recording his own music two years ago at Arkwright Loft Studios and his latest EP, “Flipside,” he said really signifies his change in philosophy.
“I started to appreciate the world around me and everything life had to offer despite my vision loss and in contrast to the music I had been writing before, which was very angry and negative,” said Lacki. “This new release definitely portrays my shift into becoming a more positive person.”
This fall, Lacki will depart NCCC to attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., where he will pursue music therapy, which he describes as his fail safe dream job.
“The trope with musicians is they need to get a real job so I want music therapy to be my real job,” said Lacki. “That’s my failsafe. I was in such deep depression and the music pulled me out of it.
Music has helped me so much and if I can do the same thing with other people with music therapy, and if I can help people doing something I love, that’s the dream job.”
But there’s a dream job above the dream job: Performing. At the end of the day, Lacki wants to be a performing artist above all else. After his first performances when he was 16 in Brocton, he just can’t get that initial taste out of his mouth.
“After getting that first taste, I can’t go back,” said Lacki. “I would love to be a performing musician for a living, so whether it’s through therapy or performing, I want to spread good messages through my songs.”
Lacki’s EP is available to listen to on all platforms, including YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and more. You can also find Lacki on his Facebook page, Collin Lacki Music. Tedesco Knows Best’s Facebook page can also be found by searching the band’s name.