By Justin Kerecz
Today, Nicole June releases new single, “Glad I Tried,” an adventure pop rock anthem that looks to burn the past. We sat down with Nicole June to talk about the latest release, what she’s been up to in COVID and her release plans. Read on!
With the world shut down from the pandemic, how have you been keeping busy creating music?
I’ve been writing and recording a lot. I’ve had more time to experiment with electronic production so I’ve been building my sample library and learning more about how to program beats. At the same time, I’ve recently put the laptop away and have been just singing and playing guitar again. I’ve decided I’m just going to make whatever I feel like making in the moment!
The production of this song is mindblowing, but it’s different from the solo, keyboard live performances we’re accustomed to. What inspired the shift and how did you start to explore this sound?
Philly really pulled me into the electronic/beat production sphere. I worked at a studio for the better part of 2 years where there were always new hip-hop artists coming in with their own beats. I liked what I heard but wanted to fuse that with the singer-songwriter in me. I started working on a bunch of different ideas, but then I got carried away with this song in particular and experimented with the production for hours, days, weeks…”What happens if I pitch bend the every track in the second pre-chorus?” Or, “What happens if I drop a literal bomb as a sample in here?” That process was really fun – but I hope it never takes me so long to finish a song again. All part of the learning experience I guess!
Can you describe how you landed on the “Adventure Pop” sound and what that means?
I like music that I can run or drive to. I like music that makes me want to explore, or move, or go try new things. When I’m making music I always have scenes playing in my head with vivid colors. I once had a friend say that a song I released made her feel like the main character in a movie. I felt like that’s what I want to live up to, that experience, when I’m making songs.
I don’t know if I have a sound. I currently only have 3 songs out, 2 of which are electronic-based and 1 which is totally acoustic. I want to create whatever I feel like in the moment so I’m trying not to pin myself down to “blues” or “indie” because that might be true today but not tomorrow. So, I came up with the term “Adventure Pop” as kind of an ambiguous description for the experience I’m aiming to create.
What does the burning scarecrow represent in the music video?
Many things… mostly that experience you need to let go of. We all have those things in our life that weigh us down. Time heals all, but setting something on fire can be quite the release.
What I will say is that the scarecrow became central to the video concept for two reasons 1.) I thought burning something would visually match the “umph” I was going for with the production in the song, and 2.) We were bored (quarantine) and wanted to use the video to do something fun or crazy. We don’t just go around setting things on fire for no reason. But when you can say “it’s for a music video…” well, then all of a sudden it becomes productive and a bit more of an acceptable way to pass the time.
In ‘Glad I Tried’ you inspire the listener to burn the past and become in touch with themselves again, how have you connected with yourself during these times as an artist?
Well, I’ve been living on my own in a family house in Stone Harbor for nearly 6 months. It’s the off season here so it’s really quiet and beautiful, but I’ve had a lot of time on my own. I like to write in my free time. Whether it’s lyrics, music, or just in my journal. I’ve been writing a lot these past few months, I guess that’s my way of connecting with myself. Recently it’s been mostly words/lyrics, which has led me to the guitar on most nights. Just singing and playing guitar, feeling out the right chords for the words – that really is one of my favorite things to do. It’s a great feeling when you find that perfect moody chord for the right lyric.
For people who are looking to move on from the past especially now with many social activities limited, what would you say to them?
Drink some tea, then some wine. Get outside daily. Be productive. Find a creative release and *create for creation’s sake.*
That being said, I don’t think “letting go” is always a graceful act. Taking deep breaths and exercising every day – sure, that helps. But sometimes you have to throw that glass bottle at the wall. Then you sweep it up, throw it in the trash, and hopefully you feel a little better. I’m not an advocate of violence, and I would never hurt anyone. That’s an important line to draw here. But sometimes it’s necessary to put grace on the back burner and let yourself get angry (or sad or whatever you need to feel).
What else are you doing to celebrate the release of “Glad I Tried?”
I’m playing on Alt 104.5 Philly’s Live at 5 stream today, March 12th. It’ll be streaming on their instagram and their Facebook at 5pm and will also be available for viewing after. You can find it here: https://www.instagram.com/alt1045philly/