You know the music is good when it sounds fresh five years after it was created. That’s what you’ll find when you hit play on this brief retrospective from Austin singer-songwriter Bryan Ray, who took a break from his solo work as Lonely Child in 2013 to focus on producing for other artists. After a successful streak producing for the likes of Mobley and Marian Call, Ray has decided to dive back into the world of Lonely Child, and with this six-track EP, he is inviting old fans and new fans alike to enjoy the magic of his past work.
It’s sweetly ironic how an artist named Lonely Child can make you feel less alone. He lets the listener know that he or she is not the only one dealing with suicidal thoughts, depression, isolation, and, yes, loneliness. On these six songs, the human condition is expressed purely, concisely, and without judgement. You will dance, laugh, cry, and sing, and you will probably be damn glad you were alive to experience all of it.
If you’ve ever lost somebody, you may be familiar with the connection you feel to a song when it seems to resemble that person you lost. It can happen with love and breakups, and it can happen with the death of a loved one. You start to hear a song in a different way and suddenly the lyrics mean so much more to you.
I’ve always found this to be a really powerful experience in music. I find myself listening to the lyrics much more intently when I’m at my highest or my lowest, searching for similarities and connections to my own life and emotions.
A similar experience happened to Lonely Child, who recorded this cover of Miguel’s song “A Beautiful Exit” after losing a very close friend of his. He was in the midst of a crazy time of his life; he was working too much, building his studio, and was constantly feeling exhausted. He told me the following:
When my friend died, it obviously took a lasting toll. Whenever I was driving, though, this Miguel record would play. It was the first in my iPod’s rotation, so it would come on every time I turned on my car. And it started to reveal itself as being about my friend. It was so weird, but this song became part of my day to day life, every time I’d drive my car. And I realized I wanted to record it as a tribute to my friend. It so perfectly describes him, encapsulates how I feel about him, and was just such a cathartic experience to record. It’s the first thing I recorded entirely in my new studio as well. It’s just a very important, personal recording to me.
Things like that are a big part of why I love music so much. We can find peace in our deepest hours through songs and stories. It hurts like hell to lose somebody, but being able to cling on to a special feeling like this and, for Lonely Child, forever remembering that his first song in his new studio was written in memory of his friend, makes it seem like everything just might be okay.
Hit the jump to listen to the Miguel original and read the lyrics.
Pharrell singlehandedly brought the funk back to music in 2013, and Lonely Child is continuing the funk revolution with his newest single “Loaded Gun.” But don’t get it twisted; this is not piggybacking on a trend. What Lonely Child does on “Loaded Gun” predates anything Pharrell did last year. This track has its roots in the ’70s (as did most of Pharrell’s contributions, but that’s besides the point). This is a song for when your parent’s grumble about “today’s artists.” It is music that is good and true and transcends any generational gaps.
You wanna come with me tonight, you’re gonna have to pull the trigger, honey you should have known, I’m a loaded gun.
A week ago I turned 20. It is a weird age because, for me at least, it is the beginning of the end for a lot of things. Like, for the first time maybe ever, I am worried about my parents’ health and concerned about seeing my grandparents before who knows what happens. Time is the ultimate killer. I haven’t seen my grandparents in India for like five years. These are the thoughts that Lonely Child‘s song “Tuesday” briefly help me forget. It is a warm reminder of the friends and family that are living the same days you are and are happy and are thinking fondly of the memories you share with them, which actually is perfect as we approach the Christmas season.
On a completely different note, I also need to acknowledge the extremely smart and cool rollout Lonely Child has adopted for his Monday EP. After subscribing to the EP, I got this message which sheds some light on the plan:
The Monday EP is a 5 song EP that you have just subscribed to. Your subscription gets you each album track and its instrumental version two weeks before the public release date. The coolest part is that you get to hear the album as I make it, knowing that while you wait for the next track, I’m working tirelessly to write and produce the best music I can to make I’m proud of and that you’re a part of.
Join the subscription here and receive the first two singles along with their instrumentals.
Sunset Selections is a curated collection of original songs written exclusively for this mixtape by our favorite breakthrough artists of 2013
A lot of people contributed to the making of Sunset Selections, so I decided to write this post as a thank you note. It feels dumb writing it, so if you feel dumb reading it, understand that that is okay. First and foremost, I would like to thank the artists who were a part of this mixtape for being so accepting of this idea and all-in with this project. You guys surpassed my expectations on that front and then met my expectations with the awesome songs you sent (my expectations were really high okay–that’s why we asked you to contribute). I would also like to thank the Sunset Fam for working their asses off for me and this idea. Without getting too sentimental, I love these people more than my own family. Just kidding. But they are cool, and it’s cool how Lydia set up a submissions page, Eric made a legendary trailer, Alicia let me use her collages, Jordan and Andy got artists on board, and they all listened to me vent about all the bullshit and awesomeness that took place while heading up this project. I really think the mixtape does its job of capturing this moment in time, but more than that, pieces of it are timeless. Oh God, that was ‘cheez‘-y. Fuck, I can’t stop. Just… let this mixtape soundtrack your 2013 and then your entire life.
I read a lot of articles that say email is the barrier that stands between a human and productivity. I believe it, too. I find myself going to work and struggling to get through my emails in a day’s time. What it leaves me with is time spent in meetings or reading and responding to emails. So when do I actually get work done? When I get home, mostly. And there’s nothing fun about that. So I’ve decided I’m going to start blocking time off on my calendar for a full hour to sit down and do work and not allow myself to read my emails for that hour. Probably nothing groundbreaking, but easier said than done. Good news is: I just created a new Listen While You Work playlist that’s just over an hour long, so it’ll be the perfect soundtrack for this work hour. Hope it’s helpful for you, too.
In the most recent Now Playing feature, I compared Lonely Child to Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service, and Zooey Deschanel fame. With “Dead Life,” the Austin, TX resident’s most recent offering, the honor still stands. Except, where Ben would maybe stop and play a more conventional, indie-rock role, Bryan Ray pushes his music a step further. “Dead Life” is artfully tainted with electronic delicacies and organically constructed between rapid-fire percussion and a subtly powerful voice. This track gets underneath your skin, builds upon itself, and roars between gritty chaos and soulful constraint.
We’re just pretenders and we’re living a dead life, but we dance away the night pretending everything’s all right
Hit the jump to follow along with the rest of the lyrics of “Dead Life”… Continue reading “Premiere: Lonely Child – Dead Life” »