Why the name “Phoenix?”
A couple years back I went through a few bad relationships that all kind of ended as quickly as they begun and it was always kind of my fault because I had this habit of falling hard for someone and then talking myself out of it, I guess I would just freak out. So I always would end up being the bad guy, and I hated that. I got in the studio in LA and wrote a song called ‘Phoenix’ with Drew Lawrence and Igloo in which we used the mythology of the phoenix to represent my beaver in these relationships, suggesting the freak outs that I had were similar to a phoenix spontaneously and doomed to repeat itself time after time in every relationship. As I was writing the the rest of the songs for this project, I realized they all kind of spoke about the same thing, they all spoke about three unstable relationships that I was in a couple of years ago so I decided to name the whole record ‘Phoenix’. I’m also a Sagittarius, a fire sign which I think is the perfect imagery to use when talking about young irrational love.
What was it like writing with Igloo and an amazing songwriter like Drew Lawrence?
Being able to get in the studio with Igloo and Drew Lawrence was an absolute crazy experience. They are such talented and down to earth guys which is so nice to see from people with Grammys and Worldwide number one hits under their belt. You meet a lot of egos in this industry, but these dudes are the nicest guys and making this record with them was a fucking party.
What’s your favorite song off the EP and why?
Every day I have a different favorite; it really depends what mood I’m in, but I suppose the song I’m most excited for people to hear is a track called ‘User’ as it’s kind of the heart of the record because it’s the only song where I have my guard completely down and I’m extremely vulnerable. It was the last song I wrote for this project and it’s about a really volatile relationship that I was in at the time, you know one of those relationships your friends and family all tell you are bad for you but all you can see is what you want to see. I was being mugged off by this person but I kept going back for more, but thankfully something shook me one day and I came to my senses. The messed up part is that it’s still the closest thing to falling in love I’ve ever been.
What is “Stormy Weather” about?
‘Stormy Weather’ touches on the same thing that the song ‘Phoenix’ speaks about, that inability to stay clued into a new relationship and fully let go with anyone. It was a frustrating time and I definitely used the song to portray that and get a bunch of shit off of my chest.
Who are some of your musical inspirations?
I grew up on old soul & blues, my all time favorites would have to be Etta James, Donny Hathaway and Nina Simone because they all had something real to say and they said it with conviction. I grew up in the naughties so albums like "Stripped" by Christina Aguilera and "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" were also big influences on my music too. I just love music that has soul and honesty to it, I want to believe what a singer is saying to me.
What do you think about the current state of pop music?
I think pop music is in a strong place right now. I feel like the music industry is allowing artists both new and old to take risks and make more artistic decisions, and I think this is because people like Amy Winehouse and Adele have made them realize that it’s ok do that. There will always be bubblegum pop, there will always be artists that are rough around the edges and there will always be those that are in-between and I love that.
What do you consider success in music?
For me success is measured in happiness, it sounds cheesy but if what you are doing is bringing happiness into your life then you are being successful. You don’t begin making music for the pay check or the fame. You do it for the love of doing it. Don’t get me wrong... almost everything costs money so that paycheck definitely helps out from time to time, but I never want to be an artist that puts that above everything else because like I said that’s not why I started making music.
If you could collaborate with someone, who would it be and why?
I’ve always said I want to collaborate with Sia and I was so close to doing it too. I met her in the queue for the toilet in Silver Lake at Intelligentsia, I turned around and she was there so naturally I told her I loved her music and we got talking. We even started dancing... She gave me her number with the intent of us working together before I left but I was leaving the next day. Cut to a year later and "Titanium" comes out and she sky rockets on the charts, so safe to say she’s a little busy at the minute. I love experimenting so I’m down to work with a lot of different artists and soul music lends itself so well to other genres so the possibilities are endless.
What’s something you want people to know about you?
I frown a lot and sing about serious things and that can sometimes make people think I’m angry, but I’m not and if you ever met me you would realize I am such a nerd, a really happy nerd. I wrote this record in particular because there are a lot of love songs out there that are written by the person who was hurt and has been wronged by someone and I suppose I wanted to flip the script a bit and use "Phoenix" as a way of dealing with a few bad situations a couple year back.
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