INTERVIEW BY: MEG
You recently released your debut single “Different Year.” First of all, what made you choose it to be your debut single?
I love that Different Year was the first thing anyone ever heard of my originals. I’m insanely proud of that song, and I think it encapsulates 2020 really well. I can’t remember why we chose it as the lead single, I think it was just the amount of positive feedback we got on it once it was written. I showed it to a few close friends and collaborators and they all reacted really positively to it, so I knew we at least had to record it. I wish I could tell you why we chose it as the first, it kinda just happened.
Regarding the lyrics, what is the track about, and what is the meaning behind it?
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.
Who/what were some of the primary musical influences for this song in particular and for your music in general?
I listen to a ton of chill pop, similar to what I write. People like Quinn XCII, Jordan Mackampa, Ruel. Sad songs sung in an upbeat way. I’ve also fallen in love over the last few years with a subgenre of that chill pop. Songs that just sound innocent. Like it was written on a bed in a childhood bedroom. Different Year turned into that for me. It’s a really innocent look at 2020, and that feeling I always got as a kid of just wanting to go to sleep when life was difficult, and wake up when everything was fine again. I grew up listening to my Mum and Dad’s music. Basically everywhere you go in Australia is at least a half-hour drive away, so every drive with them was like a road trip. I remember driving with my Dad to football practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays and listening to The Eagles and Cat Stevens, or driving up the coast to my extended family with my Mum and listening to Kenny Rogers and Charley Pride. Those trips 100% fuelled my love of music, even if I didn’t know it at the time.
You also released another single titled “noRoom,” which features Savs - what was it like working with Savs?
Sav is a phenomenal person to write with. We both write really honest songs so collaboration seems to flow pretty easily when we sit down to pen something. If one of us writes a lyric that the other doesn’t completely understand, we ask them to unpack it, explain it so we both know what we’re singing about. We don’t just write filler lyrics that make a catchy pop song, and I really respect that about her. She’s turned into a really great friend over the past 2 years, sister even.
How would you compare collaborations like this to writing your own music?
I’ve always loved writing with others. It’s how I started making music, in my guitarist Ben Kuhl’s bedroom in Australia, with him thinking of progressions and melodies and me coming up with vocal melodies and lyrics. I’ve had a lot more time alone over the past 2 years, living by myself in the states and sitting down to cry at a piano for hours on end. So I guess I’ve spent a good amount of time doing both. The main difference is learning to listen to the other writer. Taking in their ideas and opinions and working with them to create the best possible song. I idolise people like Ed Sheeran. The way he can just write for someone else and it sounds like they wrote it, how he can fit into someone else’s shoes perfectly like that is incredible, and somewhere I would love to be in the future.
With these two songs out now, what can people expect to follow them up (more singles, an EP/album, etc.)?
All of the above! noRoom is out the day before Valentine’s Day, then another single before my debut EP at the end of March. It’s insane to me that I’m actually releasing music, so saying those words is really surreal. The whole EP sticks with the same honest, authentic vibe I’ve tried to create with my other tracks. They’re all about real things that have happened to me, real people in my life.
What are you currently working on and what else can people expect from you in the future?
I’d love to be on set again. The pandemic pushed all my signed projects from last year to this year, so I’m hoping I can actually work on those and finally be on camera again. And I guess doing gigs goes hand in hand with that, if I’m allowed to shoot something I’d love to eventually start playing my songs to real live people, that would be unreal.
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nic hamilton's debut single, "different year," is available now. listen to the track here: