London-based artist Conrad makes music that is good for the soul, like sitting in front of a spewing and roaring fire, it instantly warms you. Case in point: his new single ‘Bonfire’ is a ballad that tackles anxiety and vulnerability in a raw three and half minute track. The debut track is ghostly, evoking the feeling of a miscommunicated relationship about to go up in flames. Drawing inspiration from big soulful musicians, it is safe to say Conrad has found his niche.
The wholehearted artist’s debut release is nothing short of a remarkable entrance and his burning desire to release more music in 2019 will most definitely see him topping the charts. He chatted to us about his “eureka” moments, first memories of music and writing processes.
Do you remember the first moment you thought “music is what I want to do with my life”?
Well it’s been quite a long road to this point, to be honest, so I feel like I’ve had that moment a few times in my life – I think the first time was at a Coldplay gig about 8 years ago! Their live performance is so huge and I just got this crazy buzz off the thought of being able to emulate that sort of performance to that many people. From then I started writing more music in my bedroom and planned to give it a go after I finished school. I ended up going to uni and studying Biology… I think after a few lectures I realised again music was 100% what I wanted to do, but I also didn’t want to drop out so I finished my degree but also spent a huge amount of time busking. Once I finished I finally moved down to London and gave it a proper go, and here we are!
Do you come from a musical family?
Not at all, my sister played the recorder once I think?… My grandad and my great uncle did actually play piano but that’s about as musical as they get.
How does it feel to have your debut single, ‘Bonfire’, out in the world?
It feels amazing, the response has been really positive and it’s felt like such a long time coming!
Was there a “eureka” moment for you when creating ‘Bonfire’?
Well, I wrote it with a couple of very talented friends of mine: Cameron Bloomfield and Jon Hoskins, over about 4 sessions but that was across about a year and a half! We always knew it was a great song, but I think it was the third session when we made a few structural changes and re-recorded the vocals that it was obvious it had to be the first record I put out.
What is your writing process like?
I’m always writing little bits of ideas, song titles and content in my notes – I find tube rides the best time for that. Then I go into a session with a producer and sometimes another writer and try to flesh out more ideas on the skeletons of concepts I’ve started with over the base chords of the song we’re starting. Then record about 100 melody ideas into my voice notes and then start building out the structure of the song from there.
The music video for ‘Bonfire’ really conveyed the vulnerability behind the track, what was the concept for the visual?
The visual was supposed to do exactly that, so I’m really glad you felt it. Conceptually the idea was the use of really emotive, cinematic footage that reflected the ideas in the song. So naturally building an 8ft bonfire was a must, haha. I think also having me out in the countryside, totally isolated made it even more powerful in getting the message of the song across.
What’s changed in your mind since ‘Bonfire’ dropped?
Well any sorts of doubts I had about my project have definitely reduced because the reaction has been great. Other than that, not a lot has changed! I’m about 3/4 songs ahead all the time so I just can’t wait to get more music out and start pushing my live shows to the next level in 2019.
Who are some of your main influences?
John Legend is a big one, his early albums were massively important to me. I love soulful pop so musicians like Sam Smith, Gallant, Hozier, Micheal Jackson and going back a little further my grandad would play a lot of Frank Sinatra to me and we’d sing it together – I’ve always been influenced by big soulful vocalists.
Do your lyrics draw on your own relationship experiences?
Absolutely, I find that when you’re singing about your own experiences you can fully embody the emotions in the song – it’s way more real and I think that’s important.
Your music kind of reads like a diary, which is obviously an extremely personal thing; but when you record a track and put it on the internet, then to some extent it becomes everyone else’s property as well, right?
Yes, I guess so, and that’s all part of being an artist… That’s not just a singer or a songwriter but in any creative field you’re giving a lot of yourself to the people who consume your art. At the same time that’s also quite special I think?
What’s the best compliment you’ve received about the single?
In an online review someone said I harnessed a soulful voice that hits a range rarely matched by anyone not considered as one of the most important vocalists alive today… Which is an unbelievable compliment that I hope I can live up to!
Any future projects you can tell us about?
I have another track due out very early 2019! Following that I’m looking to get as many live shows and festivals in as I can next year.