We're inspired to hear about young people who are reclaiming what success means, who are challenging themselves to live and work differently. We talk to Luca Antoniazzi, a 27-year-old from London on how he has set and stuck to his goal of shortening his work week to focus on music

Luca is the ethereal, wistful voice behind L U C A, a dream folk act making waves in the capital after his first single went viral on Spotify last year. Luca is 27 years-old and lives in Forest Hill, South London.

About a year ago, Luca grabbed life by the horns and shortened his work week by two full days to focus on his music. He now works part-time as a director’s representative at film production agency You Are Here. Here he discusses some of the surprising benefits of spending less time in an office.

Luca, why the part-time job?

I’m lucky in a sense that I have this abstract dream of becoming a notable songwriter. I quit my last job thinking that I was solely going to pursue that dream, and move to Bristol where my producer lives, and live hand-to-mouth: I’d work in a cafe, live with friends cheaply. Then I met the Managing Director of my new company, who offered me a job 3 days a week. I looked at the opportunities in London compared to Bristol and made up my mind to stay.

I had to assess whether or not I was going to be able to afford life in London, because of my champagne lifestyle [laughs] and I realised it was a simple decision to make. I had to weigh up whether having this time was more important to me or whether having that extra couple of hundred pounds a month was.

How has the extra time helped you creatively with your music?

It’s brought me so much freedom, I’ve been able to write more and my stress levels have deteriorated. I’m not worrying about going to work; if I don’t use one of my weekdays to practice, I eat into my weekend.

This time last year I was having a bit of a hard time, and work was full-on. Having gone through a similar rough patch this year, I’ve found that I’ve had a lot more space to deal with those things by working at an office 3 days a week. On my days off, I’m much more likely to get up early and exercise. I feel like I’ve taken better ownership of my body and mind, so my wellbeing has improved tremendously.

But that’s not to say that I haven’t been working hard on the days that I’ve had off, because the whole objective is to work towards my dream. Aside from rehearsals, production meetings, and song writing, there’s also so much admin! No one tells you about that. Things like using Instagram come so unnaturally to me, that it takes a lot of time and effort.

How do you stick to your goals?

You earn less, so you have to cut corners. I shop in charity shops; it’s something I’ve always done but before I would slip into this cycle of treating myself with an expensive new purchase every month. I never do that anymore. When I need new music equipment, unless I can borrow it I’ve often had to go without. To avoid travel fares I cycle everywhere, and to spend less on food, I’ve gone vegetarian. I find myself going out a lot less, too, though this means I get more rehearsal time.

I’m really lucky to be working with the team at You Are Here. The longer I work with the excellent MD and film directors, and watch their work, the more I want them to succeed. It’s an office of three, we have a close affinity. It makes it easier to do this job, it’s not just some grind.

You go out less, but do you feel that there’s a community around music that you’ve become a part of?

I’ve made close friends with people I’ve written music with. Rehearsals become opportunities for long conversations, gigs become the times where you go out. All the hard work pays off with a night of revelry.

Any surprises since you shortened your work week?

You find out who your true friends are! Those who I continue to see are the ones that know I’m working hard and that I can’t always make it to their birthday party. A lot of these people are investing in the dream with me. They are people who are seeing it form into something tangible. Friends have been very understanding.

What would you say to others thinking about going part-time to pursue other projects?

I’m chasing a dream, which might never materialise for me, but hopefully will. Even if you haven’t got that, I’d say look very closely at what’s important to you. So many people think that the only way to be happy is by having the latest phone or the latest outfit, the latest pair of shoes. Those things are so far from being important. Having the time to suss out who you are is much more important.

I don’t want to detract from the fact that loads of people and their families are going hungry despite long work hours in our country - I don’t want to be flippant about that. But basically, if it’s something that you can do, I would strongly recommend doing it.

What about the future? Will you continue in this vein?

I’d like to think so. Obviously, at some stage I’d love to make music my full time job, but for as long as I can keep this arrangement going and for as long as it continues to benefit me, my music and You Are Here, I’m happy.

Check him out at The Great Escape festival in May, on Spotify at L U C A.