How are you doing?
I'm good! I'm super busy, I'm still at university, our classes are back in person, and I have a job now, so I'm adjusting to going on tour and then coming back and having school work.
How did you first get into music? Did growing up in Nashville influence you?
Yeah, it totally influenced me. I always loved singing. I started vocal lessons in elementary school and I would write these tunes as I was walking around. You know how Disney princesses sing about what's going on to them at that exact moment? When I was like a little kid I would walk around and do that same thing. Then as I got to middle school, I started writing more, learning the guitar on my own, and then me and my sister wrote a song and ran upstairs to my parents like, “Oh my gosh, we just wrote a song!” After that I started playing these things called writers’ rounds. Nashville is a super songwriter-based city, so they have these things called writers’ rounds where three songwriters will go on stage for an hour and they'll take turns going one at a time playing their songs. I did those hundreds of times in middle school and high school. In high school I had an actual band and played electric guitar and then recently I started producing. So I’ve always done it, it's just transformed from singer-songwriter acoustic to indie jam band, and now I'm figuring out what's next.
Congratulations on the release of “Bringing Me Down”! The lyrics seem so raw and intimate, what inspired them?
I was living in a toxic college situation and the lyrics are just so straight-up, like “I wish I could say that I hadn't played a part here / I wish I was better at keeping better people near” and “It’s been a hard few weeks and it’s bringing me down”. The whole song is about being in a toxic situation, how it makes you upset and you want to talk about it but you’ve already talked about it so much that you know none of your good friends want to hear about it anymore. Then there's that bridge where it's like “oh, say no more, I don't like how I'm feeling and I'm walking out the door”, just acknowledging that sometimes in situations you have to walk away because sometimes people will only see the version of you that they have the most power over. No matter how much you grow, how much you work and how capable you feel, certain people will just keep putting you down and you don't need to explain your validity to someone who doesn't want to see it. You can just say, “if you don't see my value, and don't want to see my value, I don't need to be angry at you but I also don't need to subject myself to being in a relationship that makes me feel lesser than”.
“Bringing Me Down” is the opening track of your forthcoming EP, can we expect the other tracks to sound similar? How would you describe the EP as a whole?
I would describe the EP as fun and versatile. It has “Bringing Me Down”, but then it also has a soulful song - you can expect to see multiple different genres that bleed into each other. There's a song about growing old in a relationship and being really happy, there's a song about a relationship ending and being like, “I didn't even realize the relationship meant that much”. It has soulful, it has dance, it has indie, and then it has some personal stories and just some cool songs. It’s definitely a “get to know you” EP.
What do you want people to take away from the EP?
Before “Bringing Me Down” I'd never really produced, so I feel like this little collection of songs is the most “me” thing I've ever made. What I'm trying to do with it is just find my sound, explore my sound and try and get other people to be able to come into my world. I've never made something that shows who I am as much as this does. Producing it meant I could make something that truly reflects all my inspirations and interests.
What were your main inspirations?
I was really influenced by soul music. I love Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, all kinds of Motown. When I was in high school and middle school I was also really into alternative and indie music like Tongue Tied, Frankie Cosmos and Mac DeMarco, so that’s in there too. Then there are the other influences like Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu, really fun rhythm, really fun drums, just honest grounded music. The goal was to combine these influences, so having really cool drums and having a wavy kind of acoustic guitar on top of more of an R&B drum beat, but then also to make vocal forward songs. I think a lot of times in indie jam band music, the vocals take a backseat and are just part of the song. I like the forwardness of Ella Fitzgerald or Etta James where the whole point of the music is to highlight the vocals. I wanted to make music that feels familiar because it has these influences, but is hard to place because they're combined in kind of a funny, new way.