Cliché: Did you learn anything about yourself as an artist while you were living abroad?
I was exposed to so much culture and unique influences growing up in the Philippines and Scotland. My parents were doing missionary work there, and I was going to International schools. I remember in the Philippines the traditional dances and rhythms…then in Scotland, hearing the bagpipes and other music that seemed to echo the beautiful landscapes… Even when we came to America, we moved to Detroit first – I remember being 13 and falling in love with alternative rock and R&B. We also had so many people from out of the country visit us from India, Africa, etc… my babysitter growing up was from Jordan, and I remember she bought me an Oud for my birthday one year. It was definitely an eclectic musical upbringing…and I see how it has found its way into my music now.
Why did you finally decide to move to Nashville to pursue your music? And now I hear you are moving to LA?
I moved to Nashville originally to go to a music school called Belmont University to study voice. After college I ended up staying and being based there as I started touring, recording etc… there is such a vibrant community of artists and musicians in Nashville – it’s a special place.
I have just officially moved to LA! Literally about a week ago – I’ve been going back and forth between Nashville and LA for the last few years, and it felt like time for a change. I will continue to work in Nashville writing, recording, and probably touring from there…but it felt right to be in a different environment for a while. LA is beautiful, and I’m discovering so much new inspiration and creativity in this city…it feels vibrant and like an exciting time to be here.
What was your thought process behind your decision to leave your band SHIROCK?
My previous band, SHIROCK was initially started as my project – I grew up always wanting to be a part of band, and even though we had some consistent musicians in the band, it never was fully a traditional “band.” We ended up having some rotating musicians, so at first we transitioned from being presented as a 5 piece ‘band’ to a duo. We ended up personally parting ways a few years later, and instead of continuing SHIROCK as my project, I decided to make a subtle transition to C. SHIROCK. I view the whole catalog of work as one evolution – I love some of my songs from SHIROCK, and will continue to play them live. But it felt important to me to have a clear beginning that represented myself as a solo artist.
How does your new identity reflect your evolution as an artist?
It feels so much more free – I feel like I can chase whatever turns me on. It feels more experimental, more pop, more fully pulling from my influences… There’s a freedom about being a solo artist that you can’t have in a collective band. I feel like it fully represents who I am as an individual and as a creative.
Talk about your new song “Lost To The Night.”
“Lost To The Night” was co-written with my friend and co-producer, Thomas Doeve. We were sitting in his studio in Nashville, and we were talking about a heartbreaking situation in his family, and his desire to reconcile and mend his relationship with his brother. We started asking; ‘if we had the chance, what would we say to someone we lost?’ That was the start of the song – pulling from very personal experiences and real emotions.
The song was inspired by a veteran and reconciliation. How can we better reach out to our veterans?
There are some incredibly heartbreaking statistics about the mental health of veterans of all ages…I think one of the most important things we can do is to check in and care for veterans on an emotional level. Unless there are very evident PTSD symptoms, veteran’s mental and emotional health tends to be overlooked. I think there should be more programs providing counseling and therapy to anyone coming out of the military, not only those with traumatic PTSD symptoms. At minimum checking in with those close to us that have come out of the military is a great place to start. You never know what’s going on with someone behind the surface.
Is there someone in your life who you’ve lost or haven’t seen in a long time? Do you think about what you’d say to them if you had the chance?
There are a few – this past year I lost one of my dearest friends. We lived together for a while, and created music together for years…he was like a brother to me. He died unexpectedly this year, and now when I sing “Lost To The Night” I can only imagine Jon. I regret not seeing him more in the last few years, I regret not being there for him in ways I could have been…there is so much I’d say. You never know how much time you have…and it hasn’t ever felt more real to me than losing Jon.
Do you have a message for fans who are coping with a family member in crisis?
Seek help – ask questions, and check in with them. It is so hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. I’ve had friends struggle with drug and other addictions, and it can be so easy to judge them. I need to be reminded of this too – do what you can to understand their struggle and what it’s like for them…how they got there. Healing will never happen through judging – understanding, empathy, listening and communication is where change begins. And don’t be afraid to seek help – I started seeing a therapist a few years ago and it changed my life, my view of myself and my self worth…it might have saved my life. I don’t know why I was so resistant to it all the years before. I thought it was weakness if I needed it… seek help, encourage your loved one struggling to seek help, and do your best to listen and understand them. We are all fighting our own battles…do your best to stay gentle.
Read more Music Interviews at ClicheMag.com
C. SHIROCK Explores What’s Left Unsaid in His New Single, “Lost To The Night.” Photo Credit: Allister Ann ; Daniella Midenge ; Emilia Pare.