Music

Nicholas Hamilton Captures Our Collective Desire to Ditch 2020 in New Single, “Different Year”

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Facing the complete shutdown of the film industry amidst the pandemic, actor Nicholas Hamilton switched his focus to music. Having always felt an affinity for songs that present darker moments of life through an uplifting lens, he knew exactly how to channel his 2020 angst. The result was his new single, “Different Year,” a surprisingly cheerful ear worm that expresses the restlessness of seemingly endless quarantines and lockdowns, as well as the sense of loss and missed opportunity they’ve left in their wake as the weeks and months blur together. We all wish we could escape, but Nic remains upbeat that brighter days are ahead. 2020, or more accurately the coronavirus, can go kick rocks, but at least we can always depend on stellar music to buoy us through even the most challenging of times. Listen to “Different Year” HERE.

Cliché: How has the pandemic changed the way that you perceive your career?

Nic Hamilton: I’ve been acting since I was 11, almost half my life, so I’ve never really experienced being unemployed through no fault of my own. There were bouts where I wasn’t getting jobs, but that was always on me. Covid forced me out of work for what’s coming up to a year now, so I guess I perceive my career now as less of a constant. I also used to never really see money as an object, now I’m budgeting everything, so 2020 made me more financially mature, I guess. Being not able to work also allowed me to work on my music a ton more, I genuinely don’t think I would have music out in the world right now if I wasn’t so inactive last year.

What have you learned about yourself and your relationship to music in 2020?

I learnt almost everything I know about music in 2020. How to make a good demo, how to write with passion, even how to improve my voice. Above all, I really learned how much I loved music last year. I’ve always had an affinity for good tunes, but once I dove deep into creating them, I was fully hooked. I love songs so so much, they tickle a little part of my brain that I didn’t know existed a few years ago.

What can you share about your upcoming EP?

It’s a 15-minute-long diary, essentially. When it came time to pick the songs for the EP, it was less about finding my favourite 5 songs I’ve ever written, and more about the tone I wanted to create. There are some songs that didn’t make it on there that I loooooove, purely because they didn’t match the tone of the rest of the EP. We eventually settled on 5 songs that encapsulate the chapters of my life up until this very point. I think they all blend really well together.

Talk about your brand new single, “Different Year”.

As much as “Different Year” is about how I felt during 2020, it can really apply to any point in anyone’s life where they’ve felt like they want to legitimately time travel in order to get away from the situation they’re in. I can’t state the amount of love I have for songs that are about something so depressing and heart-breaking, but are produced in an overwhelmingly positive and uplifting way. I wanted to achieve that with “Different Year,” and I think we really got there. The plucky synths and the picking guitar melody that guides the verses allow the listener to not get bogged down with how sad the lyrics are, but instead bop their head to a chill pop tune.

You co-wrote the song with Britton Buchanan, runner-up on Season 14 of The Voice. How was that experience?

I love Britton, he’s stupid talented and an absolute legend to write with. It’s cheesy but there’s no wonder he went as far as he did on The Voice a few years back. “Different Year” was the second song we ever wrote together, back in August. After our first session went better than we could’ve anticipated, we met up as soon as we could for the next one, which is when we wrote “Different Year.” We were both so proud of it, I couldn’t stop playing the demo we made that day for everyone who would listen. I’ve continued to work with him ever since.

Why do you think you’re so drawn to songs that present heavier emotions in a positive way?

I love the dichotomy of happiness and sadness in the same song, it allows what could be a fully depressing song to not get bogged down, but I also love songs that represent 100% of either emotion. I love songs about dancing and laughing that make you want to dance and laugh and songs that are about break-ups and crying that make you want to sob. I personally just love making songs that are a bit of both. Songs that you can cry to and dance to, I love love.

How did you cope with feelings of loneliness and isolation during quarantine? 

I wrote songs about my loneliness and isolation. Writing music has been my coping mechanism for a minute now and 2020 was no exception. It just happened to be that I often wasn’t writing about someone in particular, I was writing about a whole calendar year. Other than music though, I’ve been playing a ton of video games with my friends across the planet. It’s really the only way I can be fully social right now, so it fills that hole.

How do you stay optimistic that better days are ahead? What message of hope can you offer to your fans who might be feeling lost?

I take life one day at a time now. I never used to, everything was always building up to a bigger eventual goal that informed my current decisions. Now I fully understand how unpredictable life is, and how planning anything other than what I’m going to do today that will make tomorrow better, if tomorrow even exists, is unreasonable. I’m obviously not saying don’t have goals, just know that life can turn on a dime and you have to be ready to learn how to quickly adapt to it, in any way you know how.

If you could time travel to any point in your life (past or future), which would you choose and why?

This is a great question. If I have to say a specific time, it would be the start of 2019, when I moved to the states. Knowing how 2020 was going to go, I wouldn’t have taken my only “normal” year in LA as much for granted as I did. I made silly decisions because I thought I would have a stable life forever, I’d like to go back and relive that year the right way. If I’m allowed to be vague, literally any time when Covid’s “over”, if that ever even happens. I’d like that time to be now, please.

Read more Music Interviews at ClicheMag.com
Nicholas Hamilton Captures Our Collective Desire to Ditch 2020 in New Single, “Different Year.” Photo Credit: Mike Falzone.

BANDS INTERVIEWING BANDS: Roderik and Tzarina

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This week’s feature sees post hardcore performers Tzarina and NY band RODERIK quiz each other on their influences, how they have found working during a pandemic and the all-important topic of new music. 

Tzarina: Congrats on the release of “Save Me.” Can you tell me a bit more about the song? The writing process, production, etc.?

RODERIK: Thanks guys! Yeah, it was definitely an interesting process. The initial riffs and melodies for the song were actually started mid-late last year. We entered the studio around January to start recording this song, but due to the pandemic, we didn’t finish the song until about mid summer. It was by far the longest time I’ve ever taken to record a song, so there was a lot of tweaking and stuff throughout that long wait time. 

RODERIK: What does “Tzarina” mean and what was the main influence behind the band name?

Tzarina: Tzarina is basically just a Russian queen. So like in the old Russian empire, the royal family had a Tzar (also commonly spelled Czar), to which his bride was often referred to as Tzarina. I went down a really intense history rabbit hole on pre-WWI Russia and watched a couple documentaries where the term was thrown around. It sounded musical so I basically told the guys one day we were changing the band name.

Tzarina: How are you all getting by as a band with the current state of the world and the pandemic?

RODERIK: It’s definitely weird. RODERIK is basically a band made up of some of my best friends, so we all really get along well, but it’s really a strange situation that we can’t all get together and jam, write together, or even just hang out. Other than that, I REALLY miss playing shows. I’ve been impatiently waiting for shows to start up again, but I’m happy to stay on the cautious side until they can safely do so. 

RODERIK: I know we’re all pulling for shows to come back, but when they do what’s the first venue you have in mind for your first performance back? 

Tzarina: Somewhere in Bowery. A bunch of the local clubs on the LES. Outside of that, my hometown of New Haven in CT has some pretty legendary venues like Toad’s Place and The Acoustic.

Tzarina:  What are some of the musical influences that inspired you to piece together this band?

RODERIK: Oh man, way too many to list. We went into writing songs for this band with an open mind. I feel like a lot of artists try to focus on one primary genre, but for us, there’s no limit on what influences go into our songs. Some of the biggest ones are probably My Chemical Romance, Too Close to Touch, Point North, Lauv, Ruel, Dance Gavin Dance, and even Mac Miller.

RODERIK: I know for us, the pandemic has really changed how we function as a band. We’re so used to getting together and hashing out new songs, or just jamming for the fun of it. How has the pandemic impacted your band in general? 

Tzarina: To be honest, outside of affecting how we were going to record the album not much else has changed. We have been having regular rehearsals to make sure that our live show is on point and ready to go as soon as it’s okay to do so. We’ve also just been trying to hammer out the content to round people up and keep them interested in what we’ve got going. I’ve been toying with the idea of our first show being a live stream but I’d want to do it right. Lights, good audio and video, etc.  

Tzarina: Can we expect any more new material in the near future?

RODERIK: Yes, absolutely you can. We’re constantly writing and working on new material. You might even see a new release as early as November. 😉 

RODERIK: Now that ‘Deadsong’ is out, what do you guys have planned for next?

Tzarina: Hopefully playing a show sooner rather than later, but just like everyone else, we’re playing it safe and waiting. It’s kind of ridiculous, I’ve been seeing bands on DIY touring forums actually asking for other bands to come on and support shows that are happening in states where the COVID numbers are through the roof. For early 2021, we’ll be releasing the second single with a video and then hopefully we’ll have a better idea on timing of the things opening across different states (in a safe way). We’d like to finalize the album dropping around that time.  

Follow Tzarina:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tzarina.official

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tzarina.official/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0vqW0rp5eMIldvGwQveMzN

Follow RODERIK:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RODERIKMusic

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roderikmusic/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6ZWEU3cIwl4EdCVRaeLtZS

 Read more Music News on ClicheMag.com

(Right) Tzarina. Photo credit: Kelli J Bartlett.(Left) Roderik. Photo credit: Photolitsina

BANDS INTERVIEWING BANDS: Shayna Adler & Brittany Bexton

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Our latest edition sees a meeting of minds between Folk/Rock singer Shayna Adler and Nashville singer/songwriter Brittany Bexton. Their in depth conversation touches on topics such as faith and the challenges faced in the industry by female performers.

Shayna Adler: As a woman, what’s it been like to navigate the music industry and build a career for yourself? Do you feel like you’ve encountered any obstacles or difficulties? 

Brittany Bexton: It’s definitely been difficult as a woman, especially when I was marketing my music primarily country. The industry still has a pretty big good ol’ boy mentality that is not very inclusive of women. I’ve definitely had booking agents and managers turn down working with me over time either “Because I was a woman, and they couldn’t make any money off a woman.” Even after multiple people personally recommended me to them. And I’ve had managers tell me they loved everything about me but my age. I was in my mid twenties when the comment was made. There is a huge double standard with that for men. but I also think it’s character building. The way I see it is there is a market for my music, and I will get to the people that want it, regardless of obstacles. That’s part of why I just started touring. I wanted to do something to get out there that didn’t require the gate-keepers so to speak. I booked my own shows with a fill in gig here and there that a booking agent friend would throw my way. I played 50-100 shows every year booking myself, so that was pretty crazy. But the experience was great. The way I see it, as long as you make music that means something and matters there will be a market, and regardless of still running into challenges, I know I’m where I need to be and my music will somehow get to the people that need it. 

Brittany Bexton: What was the first song you wrote? How would you say you’ve grown most as a songwriter over the years? How has your style morphed? 

Shayna Adler: I wrote this song called “Turn the Page” in 2008(?) that’s literally just one chord throughout LOL. Not many pages to turn there…But hey! You have to start somewhere. I think my songwriting has become more intentional, and has evolved into full stories with characters. If I know exactly what I’m trying to say, what the message is, etc., the songs come really easily. I spend more time determining that over a notebook or “notes” on my iPhone before I even pick up a guitar. The music, sound, and chords follows the moods, settings, and meanings of the stories. It definitely wasn’t that way when I started. 

Shayna Adler: Tell me more about your connection of music and faith. How did you begin to bring the two together? How has that influenced your songwriting?

Brittany Bexton: I grew up singing worship and hymns in church, but I have always written songs more about my own personal experiences, struggles and growth. I have written some worship tunes over the years too, but have always felt like my job as an artist is to talk about the human condition and point people back to God. The new album’s theme being Christian wasn’t really planned ahead. But, the couple of years that I wrote most of the songs on the new project, I was going through a lot of personal growth and healing. A huge part of that healing was rebuilding my faith after trauma. When I started to listen back to the songs I had been writing, they all had an inspirational tone, of empowerment, and faith. It’s still a bit of a journey for me figuring out next steps, and what that means as far as my touring goes for the next couple years. Lately I’ve been writing a lot more worship, mainly for comfort through the times. I’m not exactly sure what the next project will hold. But I think this one came out when it was needed most in the world. 

Brittany Bexton: What is your favorite song to sing off of your new “Wander” Album? What song on the album is the most personal for you? 

Shayna Adler: I can answer both questions in one song—it’s definitely “Dear Capricorn.” It’s immensely personal. It’s quite fun to sing, too! That song sums up a plethora of experiences meeting new potential “love interests,” but especially the ones that didn’t go anywhere…and all you remember is the intense feeling of hope, and butterflies in your stomach. It’s a subject I always wanted to write about, but the catalyst was experiencing that unrequited rush of blood to the head again with someone. It’s so bittersweet. That song was written after a lifetime of experiences and one 5-minute conversation.

Shayna Adler: What band or artist is your biggest musical hero?

Brittany Bexton That’s so hard! I’m not good at picking one! The truth is I don’t have a musical hero so much as a number of artists and writers I really respect who have shaped my music over time. Singers like Aretha Franklin, Carol King, Patsy Cline, and Bonnie Raitt. And writers like Jewel and John Prine. I can tell you that two of my all time favorite songs as a writer are, “Angel From Montgomery” by John Prine, and “To Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan. Both of those songs are so rich; I feel like I get something more out of them every time I hear them, and soak up the lyrics.

Brittany Bexton: What has been the hardest part for you about being an artist? What’s the part of it that brings you the most joy? 

Shayna Adler: The part that brings me the most joy is connecting with people, and feeling some pride in that my music is offering them something fun to escape with. I really miss that about live shows: looking out into the audience and making eye contact or even talking to them from stage, and meeting everyone afterwards. It definitely soothes the soul to sit here and write or play songs by myself, but I think getting to share it all with other people is what makes it special.

Over the course of this year, I’m increasingly finding less time to enjoy the creative side of being an artist, because of the general management of everything. It’s really challenging to keep that balance. I find myself spending 8+ hours a day on my laptop between social media, managing my website, editing videos, emails, marketing, etc. I really miss just sitting and playing my guitar and being able to just focus on that alone, rather than squeeze it in when I’m either not awake in the morning or dead tired at night.

Follow Shayna Adler

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shaynaadler

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shaynaadler/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shaynaadler/?hl=en

Website: https://shayna.world/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6HQfEJ7EPuK775DilxBNdB

Follow Brittany Bexton: 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/brittanybexton

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brittanybexton/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brittanybexton/?hl=en

Website: https://brittanybexton.com/home

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0BlAK8GVkrloYGu0aWmp2a

 Read more Music News on ClicheMag.com

(Right) Shayna Adler. Photo credit: Anna Azarov (Left) Brittany Bexton. Photo credit: Photo credit: Brandon Oursler

Lila Yin and J.Ar.J Explore the Complicated Feelings of a Situationship in New Single, “Oxytocin”

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Singer Lila Yin and music producer J.Ar.J met by chance at a workshop – and the rest is history! The two have collaborated to produce their latest single, “Oxytocin,” which deals with the realization that situationships aren’t always what you want or need from a relationship. In spite of the initial pain, they want to underscore that it’s important to love yourself enough to separate from the emotional roller coaster. Check out the video for “Oxytocin” below!

 

Cliché: How did each of you discover your own unique sound?

Lila Yin: There are definitely certain sonic elements that I seem to gravitate towards (e.g. warm pads/synths, vocal swells, layered harmonies) but I’m not sure I’m at a place where I can truly sum up what my sound is. It’s a work in progress!

J.Ar.J: When it comes to a unique sound, for me, it just develops overtime from constantly creating different ideas regardless of genres and finding sounds you like and processing sounds in a way that you personally find pleasing. Also definitely music you listen to growing up does influence what directions you take when creating melodies and chord progressions. But as Lila says I think a unique sound is always a work in progress, as we as people are always a work in progress.

What was the moment when you realized you’d be amazing collaborators?

Lila Yin: We both attended a masterclass run by SG Lewis as part of Nando’s Yard last summer. We walked back to the station together afterwards, showing each other our work the whole time and that was it! Jordon is honestly one of the most hardworking and chillest people I know. He has a great ability to make you feel comfortable during a session, especially when I was less sure of myself & my creative ideas. 

J.Ar.J: For me, I’ve worked with a lot of artists and can usually tell from conversations about how well I will get on with them. I had a good feeling about Lila from the beginning as we had really good conversations about music and what her inspirations are and I felt we definitely are very similar when it comes to music. Like musically I consider her able to read my mind, literally always thinking to do what I’m about to say or suggest. Every session we’ve had has always been really inspiring and just fun!

What was the inspiration for your new single, “Oxytocin?” 

Lila Yin: A situationship that ended badly. Sometimes we accommodate for the other person because the chemistry between you both is so strong and then neglect our own needs in the process! And they let you – because it works out for them. 

J.Ar.J, how did it feel to be able to bring “Oxytocin” to life?
 
It was really fun! Lila and I both produced the initial track at our session in the Nando’s studio. And literally everything just worked don’t think we actually changed much from the first version we did that day. We just added parts to help create that spacey vibe the song has. Also I feel that this song is maybe the first track that I could say is my sound in terms of production. Usually I’m either developing a sound for a new artist or slightly evolving a more experienced artist’s style so usually there’s elements that I would leave out as it wouldn’t give the right feeling for a particular song.
 
Sometimes we can convince ourselves to stay with someone longer than we should because of chemistry or physical connection. How do you separate yourself from that high to realize you aren’t getting what you deserve out of a relationship?

Lila Yin: Knowing what you want from a relationship and having the self love to really own those wants. Self love is at the heart of it though, because it gives you the strength to remove yourself from situations that aren’t good for you, no matter how painful it seems.

In each of your personal lives, what have past experiences taught you in terms of recognizing your self-worth and pursuing healthier relationships?

Lila Yin: Your relationship with yourself is so important. Emotions can be fluid, people can grow in different directions and not everyone has your best interests at heart. A lot of the time people don’t even know what they want or how to communicate it! But as long as you do, you’re good. Life’s too short to waste time.

J.Ar.J: Number one rule for me is that your partner should be a cherry on top of the dessert that is your life, meaning they’re not the source of your happiness, you are responsible for your own happiness and they are an addition that helps make everything that bit sweeter. 

What’s next up for both of you? Can we look forward to more collabs in the future?

Lila Yin: I’ve just started an Electronic Music Masters so I’ll be focusing on that for now, but there will definitely be more collabs in future! Jordon & I always have something on the backburner.

J.Ar.J: We’ve made many ideas and definitely will be doing more work together in the future. I also have a lot of new music coming out from various other artists for the rest of the year. You can follow my Spotify account where I have a playlist with all my latest productions.

Read more Music Interviews at ClicheMag.com
Lila Yin and J.Ar.J Explore the Complicated Feelings of a Situationship in New Single, “Oxytocin.”
Photo Credit: Krishana Sivathasan (@krish.ess).

Christian French Discovers Peace in Patience in Optimistic New EP, “good things take time”

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As a college student posting music to Spotify, Christian French could’ve never dreamed where his future would take him. Spurred on by his fraternity brothers, he chose to leave school in order to devote his time to music, soon finding encouragement from an unexpectedly enthusiastic reaction to his song, “head first.” Now, Christian is back with his brand new EP “good things take time,” an examination of the ups, downs, and doubts of life through the characteristic positivity that makes his music a ray of hope in even the gloomiest of times. Through it all, he’s learned that calmness and self compassion will carry us through anything – a reminder that many of us could use right about now. Stream “good things take time” HERE, watch the video for the eponymous song below, and be sure to follow Christian on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook!

Cliché: You’re a former pre-med student. What prompted the leap to pursuing music full time?

When I started posting my original music on Spotify was when I started to make the real shift toward music being a more full-time thing. With the help of my fraternity, where everyone was from a different city, they’d tell their friends to listen, then their friends’ friends, and their friends, and so on. So it really helped spread the word, and helped me build a following and come to this realization that this could be a real project. And truly, when I became more interested in music than I was in school, spending more time on music than studying – there was this distance and disconnect with school. I just felt more connected to the musical world.

You’re not afraid to explore themes of self-doubt and anxiety in your music, but in an unconventional way. Why is it so important to you to not only work through these emotions in your music, but to do so through a lens of positivity?

It’s really easy to get trapped inside this anxious, pessimistic way of thinking where you overthink everything and start to make up scenarios and stories in your head of people not liking you or things not working out, and this can be REALLY restricting. It holds you back from your full potential and I’ve found that the best way to work through this is with consistent positive thinking – not letting yourself go down a hole of negativity and instead replacing with encouraging words. Over time, your brain will start to default more to these positive thoughts rather than the negative ones, and it feels like a huge fog is lifted from your brain. It allows you to be so much more present and accomplish so much more, which is why I feel it’s so important. 

Were you surprised by the massive success of your song “head first?” Did the acclaim fuel your creative fire moving forward?

I was! There are certain songs that feel better to write than others, and the whole process of creating “head first” felt so easy. As I was writing it, the words just came to me and I knew it was gonna be a big one, but it was really cool to see everything come to fruition. “head first” was a step in a new direction for me, and seeing how people reacted to it definitely made me want to make more music that leaned in that direction of harder hitting drums. 

Talk about your brand new EP, “good things take time.”

‘good things take time’ is about trial and error – it’s important to find what works best for you and what doesn’t, and then bettering yourself for the future. Throughout the writing process, the phrase “good things take time” kept coming up- it really helped keep me sane when I was getting frustrated with myself because I didn’t think I was writing the best music that I could. This mindset saved me from myself. Instead of being swallowed and consumed by failure, I was able to stay calm and positive and then and move past it and continue to grow.

A lot of these songs have been done for around a year, and they’re just now coming out. I wrote 5 of these songs in one month with the same amazing friends and collaborators because we were just on a roll. The last two (“paper thin” and “wake up”) have their own stories. “paper thin” was written in May of 2019 and has gone through so many different versions, and “wake up” wasn’t even supposed to be on the EP because I made that song with my roommate about a month ago. I was way too excited to wait to release it and it was actually perfect because it fit so well with the theme of the EP, so now the track list is 7 songs instead of the original 6.

Did you learn anything about yourself personally or as an artist throughout the process of making the EP?

Yeah definitely! 3 years ago I really had no idea how a song was put together – I’d just write acoustically with a piano and then would have a producer build a song around the demo I made. Now I’m very much involved with the production and I’m there for every step of the way to get the details exactly how I want them. I’ve started learning to play guitar this year and have written SO much on it, but it really is just when inspiration hits though. Sometimes that’s in a session working with another producer, sometimes it’s by myself while I’m playing the guitar or piano, and other times inspiration hits at 4am while I’m laying in bed and I scramble to write words down in my phone and end up with an amazing song. But it comes down to putting in the time and working as hard as possible and holding myself accountable and making the best music that I possibly can and music that I’m proud of.

How would you describe the emotional journey of the EP?

I feel like different songs bring up different emotions, and it’s important to feel all of them, not just the good ones. This EP comes from my life experience this past year, and there have been so many ups and downs, and I tried to put the tracks in an order that of you feel that wave of emotion. 

I do enjoy putting optimistic twists in my music though – because I feel like it’s something that’s missing in music. Having positive thoughts and conversations with yourself is so important, and no one really teaches you how to do that.

What do you want your fans to walk away feeling?

I want fans to feel all of the feelings, honestly. I think different songs bring up different emotions, and it’s important to feel all of them, not just the good ones. 

I enjoy putting optimistic twists in my music because I feel like that’s something that’s missing in music. Having positive thoughts and conversations with yourself can be so important, and no one really teaches you how to do that. You have to be honest with yourself, and also be patient.

Are there any good things you’re currently looking forward to or hoping for in the future?

I’m really excited about this next cycle of music that I’m currently making, and I can’t wait for everyone to hear some of these songs later this year. Other than that, I’m using this year to get better at production, piano, guitar and songwriting. I’ve already come a long way, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. And I CANNOT wait to get back on the road and tour!

Read more Music Interviews at ClicheMag.com
Christian French Discovers Peace in Patience in Optimistic New EP, “good things take time.” Photo Credit: Mickey Mars.

Aidan Tulloch Gets Nostalgic for His Yorkshire Youth in His Debut EP, “Somewhere Without Lights”

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Self-described indie kid Aidan Tulloch has been busy balancing university with a burgeoning music career. The singer is reflecting on his adolescence through his first EP, Somewhere Without Lights, which channels the excitement and endless possibilities of night. Aidan already has a second EP in the works, but for now, he hopes he can captivate his audience and fill them up at a time when so many are feeling so empty. Stream Somewhere Without Lights HERE and follow Aidan on Instagram and Twitter.
 
Cliché: Do you remember the first song you wrote? What was it about?

Aidan Tulloch: I used to write songs all the time as a child with my friends. When I look back, the melodies were actually so catchy, but the lyrics were totally meaningless, and we just sung words we thought sounded good together. The first song I wrote with a proper message would have been a Christmas carol that I put together on commission for BBC Radio Tees when I’d just turned 13 after they’d spotted some other composition I’d done. I still remember it, it was about love, peace, and respect, and kind of tried to look at modern social and economic issues too. I’m still really proud of it, and look at it every Christmas.
 
Which genre appeals to you the most as an artist and why?
I’m an indie kid at heart, and that’s where my artistic journey all began. The music I write might start there, but it always goes onto draw from pop, jazz, electronic, hip hop, classical, and folk. I think that’s noticeable if you listen to this record. I can think of plenty of artists in all of those genres that I love and consistently learn (borrow? steal?) from. If I have to answer with just one, let’s say contemporary. By which I’m referring to all the really exciting music that’s happening right now. It’s such a good time for music, and to be a musician, and there’s no need to conform to a traditional genre category.
 
Tell us about your new EP, Somewhere Without Lights
 It’s my first proper record. It’s got three songs on there that I’m really proud of, and I’ve also included a more abstract sketch as well as a piece of instrumental piano that I adapted from a score that I initially composed for a stage play a friend of mine directed. Together it feels like a really cohesive work that really reflects the time it was created in, and the artist it was created by.
 
How would you describe the overall mood of the EP?
It’s primarily an EP of the night. The space where sound and light get a chance to go off piste. There’s something about the night that’s just so exciting and filled with opportunity. The mood of the music captures this, and articulates the sense of restlessness, sleeplessness, decadence, and maybe fear. It’s also nostalgic: the other place without lights, of course, is the North Yorkshire me and my friends grew up in. The iceberg on the artwork is vast and enormous, yet silent and empty. I think that’s an enthralling contrast that can be relevant to a lot of this record.
 
In your opinion, which track has the most creative complexity behind it?
Creative complexity?! Probably Song for Armageddon. It went through lots of different phases, and ended up capturing so many armageddons as I kept coming back to it over the course of a year. It started life on a coach during the heatwave last summer, and then also felt really urgent after the awful 2019 UK election in the middle of winter. Even after the melody and lyrics were done, the production process was complex too — I ended up deciding to intersect chamber pop and avant garde neoclassical with saccharine throwback EDM drops. And that just feels right, doesn’t it.
 
Would you say you’re trying to recreate the memories of adolescence through your EP?
Definitely, particularly on Goalposts. Being back at home for lockdown definitely got me re-approaching those memories and those situations. I felt the need to look back, and then to think about how I want to remember it all.
 
Now that you’re an adult, how has your self-perception changed? 
It’s always changing, and I think it always continues to change. People always say that they behave so differently with different people that they don’t know who they really are, and I’m the same. It’s impossible to assess yourself as a fixed entity. 
 
Why is it so vital to you to create music that acts as a sanctuary for listeners?
Because I’ve felt how powerful an experience this can be. The contract between voice and listener is one of the most special. Also, I’m so conscious of the fact that you can’t just take an audience’s time for granted. You’ve got to earn it, and have something valuable, meaningful, and worthwhile to share. I want to make spaces and moments that leave people feeling fulfilled, moved, maybe even rescued, and maybe even amused.
 
How do you expect your music to evolve from here?
For this project, I’ve got a second EP in the pipeline — like this record, it’s profound and reflective, but it’s already feeling like there’s even more of a narrative. There’s more space to breathe, and the riffs are even livelier. And throughout, I’m collaborating more and more with filmmakers, artists, architects, curators, and all sorts of talented creatives to — in the longer term — make multi-disciplinary moments where the music can still communicate even in between listens.
 

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Aidan Tulloch Gets Nostalgic for His Yorkshire Youth in His Debut EP, “Somewhere Without Lights.” Photo Credit: Ryan Kilbourne.

R3HAB Collides with TINI & Reik for Summer Latin Pop Anthem “Bésame (I Need You).” Out Now on Hollywood Records.

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R3HAB explores uncharted sonic territory on “Bésame (I Need You),” his sultry new collaboration with singer/actress TINI and Latin GRAMMY-winning Latin Pop trio Reik. We quickly find out what happens when three powerhouses of this magnitude come together, as the track subtly fuses exquisite elements of each one’s signature sound. R3HAB delivers his deep, driving drum bass lines that serve as the backbone of the song, asking listeners to get up and dance, while Reik‘s influence plays with Latin-infused melodies that give “Bésame (I Need You)” exotic appeal. Platinum-certified TINI and Reik come together for a female/male vocal group, evoking images of a balmy and enthralling night out dancing. The single is out now on Hollywood Records and follows R3HAB‘s releases “Feel Alive” for “SCOOB!” movie’s soundtrack as well as “Be Okay” with HRVY.

Right after we started working on the song, it was clear what the sound of the track will be like. Tini & Reik brought the perfect energy, which you can hear throughout the entire song. “Besame (I Need You)” is being released right in time to provide these necessary summer vibes to our fans.” – R3HAB

 

I am so excited to work with Reik and Rehab. I find it very interesting to explore new musical styles, and Bésame definitely has a special sound, distinctive from other songs. I feel very honored to collaborate with these two great artists.” – TINI

We love the song. It’s super energetic, it makes one dance and have fun all the time. It’s one of those songs that you really just wanna jump to. Looking back, we remember meeting TINI at a concert in Argentina when she was 15, or so. It’s crazy now having the song together with her. About R3HAB, we just recently met him, and we love what he does. He already remixed our earlier single “Si Me Dices Que Si,” and it blew our mind, as he took the song to another dimension. Collaborating with R3HAB again is awesome” – Reik

Over the last eight years, the Dutch/Moroccan artist Fadil El Ghoul – better known as R3HAB – has established himself as a leader at the forefront of modern electronic music. His talent has been called the “future of the craft” by the likes of Forbes and Billboard, and he’s circuited the globe’s best clubs and festivals, all without the backing of a formal record label. In 2017, R3HAB independently released his debut album “Trouble” through his imprint CYB3RPVNK, which amassed over a half-billion streams globally and officially placed R3HAB among electronic music’s heavy hitters. He made number 14 on DJ Mag’s Top 100 list in 2019, topping the charts with tracks like “Lullaby” and “Hold On Tight,” while his sophomore album “The Wave,” revealing more complex, emotional and experimental layers of himself, has amassed over 250 million streams on Spotify alone. In 2019 R3HAB‘s “All Around The World”’ with A Touch of Class quickly became his biggest ever record already topping 200M streams across platforms and achieving gold & platinum status in 8 countries. It was followed by “Flames,” R3HAB‘s collaboration with ZAYN.

 

Since her 2016 debut album, TINI has become a global phenomenon, with a social following of 24 million and 3 billion combined audio and video streamsTINI toured Europe and Latin America on her headline “Quiero Volver” tour in 2019/2020, including 9 sold-out Luna Park shows in Buenos AiresTINI‘s most recent releases include “Recuerdo” (99 million combined streams), “Oye” (301 million combined streams), Gold-certified “Fresa” (379 million streams), and Platinum-certified “22” (365 million combined streams.) TINI has had numerous collaborations with fellow A-list artists, including Sebastian YatraKarol GMoratGreeicyCali y El DandeeMau & RickyAlessoJonas BlueAlvaro SolerOvy on the DrumsNacho and The VampsTINI will also be joining Alejandro Sanz as a judge on the upcoming season of THE VOICE (La Voz) in Spain, airing later this year.

Multi-platinum and award-winning group Reik is made up of band members Jesus Navarro (vocals), Julio Ramirez (acoustic guitar), and Bibi Marin (electric guitar). With a career spanning over 15 years, Reik are the most listened to Mexican band in the world. Reik’s top singles include “Aleluya” (110 + million audio streams), “Indeciso” (145 + million audio streams), “Me Niego” (575 + million audio streams), “Duele” (52 + million audio streams), “Amigos con Derechos” (337 + million audio streams), “Creo En Ti” (187 + million audio streams) and “Ya Me Entere” (421 + million audio streams.) Reik has a social following of over 45 million and appear courtesy of Sony Music Mexico.

More info on R3HAB / TINI / Reik / Hollywood Records:

Chromatica: Lady GaGa on Mental Health and Self Love

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Rain on Me Video. Directed by Robert Rodriguez

 In Lady GaGa’s iconic overnight hit featuring Ariana Grande, Rain on Me, Gaga and Grande sing:  “I can feel it on my skin/ It’s coming down on me/ Teardrops on my face/ like misery… I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive.” A precursor to the launch of her sixth album, Chromatica, the single galvanized public attention, leading the top of the charts in ten countries across the world. GaGa and Grande fans have come together to celebrate their unexpected collaboration, as the song reached 8.1 million plays in one week. But the song is more than an explosive video, GaGa dancing in futuristic, punk platforms, or even the electronic melody of their voices in harmony. What is perhaps so provocative about the piece — aside from the fact that Lady GaGa has completely reinvented herself for her sixth album— is that it is unabashedly candid. Throughout the album, she addresses her personal experience with mental health, overcoming trauma, and healing. In a recent interview with Apple ’s Zane Lowe, GaGa shared that “I think that the beginning of the album really symbolizes, for me, what I would call the beginning of my journey to healing… and what I would hope would be an inspiration for people that are in need of healing through happiness, through dance.”

A decade after her debut album, The Fame (2008), made her a global star, GaGa’s career trajectory has been a rollercoaster of experimentation, outspoken ideas, and, of course, shocking wardrobe choices. As her fans know, she has long used her music as a platform for storytelling and social activism: from Poker Face, an exploration of her sexuality, (The Fame, 2008) and Hair, a plea to be free from bullying and societal restraints, to Joanne (Joanne, 2011), a tribute to her late aunt, who passed away from lupus. And now, Chromatica is an exploration of GaGa’s powerful return to dance and her journey towards healing along the way.

The album is divided into three sections, and GaGa encourages her fans to listen to the songs in sequence, as they function as a narrative. The first section— which features Alice, Stupid Love, Rain on Me, Free Woman, and Fun Tonight— serves as the thesis of her album. It discusses themes personal to her heart, and her ability to continue dancing and creating in spite of the obstacles she fights each and every day. It addresses mental and trauma through a hopeful lens. For instance, Alice, a fan favorite, narrates her journey down a -hole, insinuating a long-lasting personal battle with mental illnesses—  and the wonderland at the end that she searches for everyday. Similarly, Free Woman reflects upon re-claiming agency over her own body as she copes with sexual trauma. The second section— 911, Plastic Doll, Sour Candy (featuring Blackpink), Enigma, and Replay— gives her fans a glimpse into the darkest parts of her past. She grapples with trauma, perfectionism, and addiction in these electronic tunes with raw candor. Additionally, this section is the most electronic in the album, adding yet another unexpected genre to GaGa’s list of musical fortés and experiences. Over the course of her twelve year career, she struggles to overcome these issues, which she addresses in the third section. Chromatica III includes Sine from Above (featuring Elton John), 1000 Doves, and Babylon, a hopeful ending to her journey towards healing. In 1000 Doves, she sings: “I’m not perfect yet, but I’ll keep trying/ When your tears are falling, I’ll catch them as they fall/ ….Lift me up, give me a start/ ‘Cause I’ve been flying with some broken arms/ Lift me up, just a small nudge/ And I’ll be flying like a thousand doves.” There isn’t necessarily a sense of foreclosure at the end of her narrative, as GaGa suggests that she continues to grapple with trauma and identity everyday, but there is a sense of tranquillity and self-acceptance. The narrative is moving, and frankly, even more so than the electronic undertones of the album, completely unprecedented in the world of pop— a testament to Lady GaGa’s versatility and influence as an artist.

Chromatica Album Cover. Photo Credits: Norbert Schoerner

GaGa utilizes her ’s global presence as a platform for starting a vulnerable dialogue on mental and self-love. GaGa has complimented the launch of her album with various conversations around mental in her professional career, from a recent conversation with Oprah on mental resources to various initiatives led by her non-profit organization, The Born This Way Foundation. Through narrating her decade-long battle with mental , and even admitting to the shame and coping mechanisms that ensued, she destigmatizes mental illnesses, especially in an industry that strives for perfectionism. The album has been met with millions of messages from her fans via Twitter and Instagram, expressing their gratitude for her message and sharing their personal stories. Though her is often recognized for its catchy tunes and audacious accompanying performances, Chromatica is a testament to the depth and impact of her work. The album, which has been publicized through eye-catching graphics and a shocking new genre, revitalizes the pop industry with the authenticity, hope, and healing it brings to its listeners. 

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Photo credits: Robert Rodriguez & Norbert Schoerner.
Images provided by Youtube & Instagram

Blake Rose Releases New Single ‘Rest Of Us’

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For anyone that has ever been told that your dreams are ‘too big’, Blake Rose wants you to know that no dream is too big. After witnessing a friend give up his dreams of becoming a musician due to the lack of support from his family, Blake Rose was inspired to write an anthem that served as “a middle finger to anyone who doesn’t want you to live your dream” he says. His newest release, “Rest Of Us”, out today, echoes the motivating message to not let anyone dictate your life.

“Rest Of Us” serves as the follow up single to his wildly popular song “Gone” which continues to gain momentum, with over 7 million streams to date! In a showcase of his Buckley-esque vocals, luscious electric-guitar-driven melodies, and knack for writing insanely infectious alternative pop songs, Blake recently released the live rendition of “Gone”. “I try to give listeners an experience,” he reveals.“I take a lot of time with every element to make sure I’m creating a world people can immerse themselves into. Whether the narrative is precise or ambiguous I try to attain a certain level of depth with each song that I hope people can latch onto and let it be as much a part of their own story as it is mine.” 

In just over a year, Australian native Blake Rose, has gone from busking in the streets of Perth to becoming one of the most exciting rising musicians to emerge in 2020. From his debut single, “Hotel Room” to his incredibly successful releases of “Lost” and “Gone” and now with his newest release of “Rest Of Us”,  Blake Rose is paving his own path while becoming a global force in the music industry. 

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Images Provided by High Rise PR 
Photographer:  Bjorn Franklin

Natalie Shay Struggles With Temptation in New Single “Owe It To You”

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Though she idolized Taylor Swift and dreamed of a life in music, Natalie Shay never thought of pursuing music as her full-time professional career – until she began attending The BRIT School. With raw and honest lyrics, Shay never shies away from sharing her personal life in her music. In her latest single, “Owe It To You,” she comes to terms with the obvious end of her relationship while struggling with thoughts of someone else. Natalie can’t wait for the release of her upcoming EP, NAKED. In the meantime, you might be able to run into her on Club Penguin. Stream “Owe It To You” HERE.

Cliché: Who were your musical idols growing up?

Natalie Shay: Taylor swift!! All the way. She was definitely one of the main reasons I started all this in the first place. 

What did you learn about yourself as an artist from your time at the BRIT School?

I learnt that this is something I could just go for after finishing school. without going to Brit I never would’ve had the confidence to just go for a music career full time at 18. I’ve also made friends for life that I continue to use in all of my projects

Talk about your new single, “Owe It To You.”

 This song is from personal experience. It’s about being in a dying relationship, finding yourself thinking about others and resisting temptation. The song is about the realisation that this might be time for you to walk away as these aren’t the best things to be feeling. I wrote it with my talented writer/ producer friend Kaity Rae.

How do you deal with the struggle to resist temptation in a relationship?

Write a song about it and hope for the best. 

What would you say is the biggest challenge of modern dating?

Time management and balancing life. Finding the time to spend quality time with someone away from busy, fast moving work / social life.

What advice would you have for someone who has maybe lost the spark in their current relationship or is struggling with attraction to someone else?

I’m no relationship guru, but I would always say make sure you’ve tried everything before you give up, then realise your self worth and accept and be grateful for any experiences. 

What is it about the 80s that you find so appealing in terms of musical inspiration?

I love how exciting and interestingly unique the production is. Anything that keeps the ear interested and gripped.

You recently promoted your new song with a clever homemade Club Penguin lyric video! Are you playing a lot of Club Penguin during quarantine?

Oh my god every single day, my username is igalpigel which is literally the same username I had when I was 9, maybe you’ll catch me waddling about, say hi, keep an eye out.

 What can you tell us about your upcoming EP, NAKED?

Really proud of it, it’s exactly what I wanted my debut EP to be like. All of the songs lyrically are very real, some deeper than others, I hope it works as a good introduction to me and the music I have to come 🙂 

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Natalie Shay Struggles With Temptation in New Single “Owe It To You.” Photo Credit: Caili Shea.

Circa Waves Deals with the Chaos of Information Overload in Double Album, “Sad Happy”

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To many, sadness and happiness may feel like polarized opposites, but not to Circa Waves. The UK indie rock band never shies away from speaking their minds – and that expression can be a much needed antidote to the constant influx of terrible news and carefully constructed social media feeds that can make us feel anxious, excluded, and alone. At the same time, they would argue, you need to experience sadness to be able to fully appreciate happiness. The full double album will be released on March 13th. 

Cliché: How did you meet? 

Circa Waves: We all met at playing football in Liverpool. The chemistry on the pitch was so good that we thought, fuck it, let’s start a band together and the rest is history. 

What is it about indie rock that appeals to you as a genre?

It’s full of energy. We all love bands that put on big sweaty raucous shows and doing what we do means that now we are one of those bands and our shows are always disgustingly sweaty.

What’s the meaning behind your band name?

It is literally meaningless. Or it’s a secret

Talk about your new album, SAD HAPPY. 

We secretly recorded it in a month last summer between festivals, we had just put out our third record so I don’t think anybody saw it coming. We feel like it’s the record we’ve always been heading towards, we’ve honed in on what a Circa Waves record should sound like. 

Why decide on a double album? Was it daunting creatively to be faced with producing that much material at once?

 I’d like to say that we had a master plan but there wasn’t one from the start. It was while we were getting the songs together it became clear that we had an album that was divided. After that the idea to put them out separately came naturally, this way people get to experience the two sides as individuals before seeing how it all works together. 

 There’s obviously an inherent contradiction between sadness and happiness. How is that reflected on the album?

Well the concept of Sad/Happy came about when we were flicking through TV channels in a hotel one night and saw this never ending cycle of apocalyptic news interspersed with all of these inane tv shows and commercials. We’re living in a world where we’ve never been more informed about all the awful shit that goes on out there but at the same time we’re absolutely drowning in entertainment and it’s hard to reconcile those two things but somehow we all manage it. I think that sadness and happiness are contradictory but at the same time are inextricably linked. They’re two sides of the same coin and you can’t experience one without the other. 

Many of the songs reflect the anxiety created by this technology-saturated era we live in. What do you think it is about technology that produces so much insecurity in all of us?

I would probably say we’re all capable of experiencing insecurity and vanity which is a dangerous combination. If you add to that a constant drip feed of other peoples curated hyper reality and it produces these toxic effects. Even though this is all obvious it’s impossible not to look! 

What are your plans after the album release?

We’re going to be out touring it as much as possible! It’s the best bit about putting records out, we get to go everywhere and have these amazing gigs with everyone.

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Circa Waves Deals with the Chaos of Information Overload in Double Album “Sad Happy.” Photo Credit: .

C. SHIROCK Explores What’s Left Unsaid in His New Single, “Lost To The Night”

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Chuck Shirock (known professionally as CSHIROCK) cultivated his love of music from a young age and through the unique lens of an international childhood. He ultimately decided to pursue music and start building his career from Nashville before just recently relocating to LA. He started a band called SHIROCK before quietly recommitting to a solo endeavor. After hearing of his friend and co-producer’s painful estrangement from his veteran brother, Shirock was inspired to write his new track, “Lost To The Night,”  in which he contemplates what he might say to people that he’s lost. The song wound up taking on even more significance in the wake of the sudden death of his close friend. The message is clear – we should always reach out and treat each other with compassion and empathy, because you can never know what someone else is going through. You can listen to “Lost To The Night” HERE.

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.

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C. SHIROCK Explores What’s Left Unsaid in His New Single, “Lost To The Night.” Photo Credit: Allister Ann ; Daniella Midenge ; Emilia Pare.