After much success with his debut, AESTHETIC is back with a new single titled “Shadow Puppets” which released on August 24th. Stylistically this single will build upon the pop style he has already tapped into by exploring some darker sounds. A music video of the same name, shot and produced by Matty Labonte of Crown Media Collective.
Tell us the story behind your upcoming release "Shadow Puppets". The concept for this song “Shadow Puppets” had been fresh in my head for a while but it really came to fruition while I was experimenting with more dark pop sounds back in late May/early June of this year. I’m someone who has dealt with depression for a long time. I’m thankful to be in a good place right now but during that time I was thinking about things that truly take me out of the dark days that spawn sometimes out of nowhere. One outlet that has always worked in getting me out of my own head has been being with my girlfriend. We truly understand each other and when we’re together it’s as if nothing else matters except for us being locked in that moment. We’ve been with each other through our highs and lows so it only made sense to write a song highlighting the positive effects of having someone like that in your life. Once I fleshed out a solid demo on my end, I sent it to my producer Austin Hull and we finished it within a couple of weeks. I shot the video over the summer and now I’m gearing up for the release on August 24th and I couldn’t be more excited! Most definitely the best thing I’ve done in my music career.
When did you know that you wanted to pursue music as a career? Music has always been around. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a family that raised me on the greats across eras. My first musical love was for Frank Sinatra thanks to my grandfather but my earliest exposure to pop music was when I was a little kid. I had the Backstreet Boys Homecoming Live In Orlando VHS and I used to perform along to it. Even had my own outfits I’d wear from time to time hahaha. When I was 8 years old I heard “All You Wanted” by Michelle Branch come on the radio and that was the song that made me want to learn how to play guitar. When I picked up guitar I knew that I wanted to make music my career. While taking lessons for about 6 years I felt good enough to start my own bands in high school. I played everything from classic rock to most recently pop punk/emo. During my band days I had a lot of great opportunities such as opening for artists like Our Last Night, Set It Off and even Trace Cyrus from Metro Station. After many failed bands and years of trying to be a rock star I naturally fell back into my pop roots after I joined an online Facebook group called “Make Pop Music.” I met a lot of great people, released my first single under my artist name AESTHETIC and now the fire to make music my career is burning in me bigger than it ever has before. It’s an exciting time!
Who are your biggest influences and why? In the context of this style of music that I’m currently making, my biggest influence would have to be blackbear. There aren’t many modern artists that I can listen to all of their music and learn every word to their songs but blackbear is that artist for me. Anything he is part of is gold in my opinion. Other modern influences include Drake, Marc E. Bassy, G-Eazy and Zedd. Those influences came into my life just by being around friends in college on Friday nights out and I naturally gravitated towards the positive vibes these artists were putting out. I don’t like to limit myself on influences though! I am someone who can start their day jamming out to Slipknot and then finish it having an epic sing along to Kesha on the car ride home from work. Hahaha. I still listen to the pop punk/emo style music that I aspired to be successful in for so long. Artists like Panic! At The Disco, Senses Fail and A Day To Remember were and still are artists I look up to for lyricism and messaging. As far as classic influences go, can’t go wrong with a little Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley!
What advice would you give to other artists pursuing a musical career? Forget what you think you know and just listen. Honestly. I truly believe that the difference between me trying to make it in a band 5 years ago versus trying to now do it solo was that I was very arrogant. I couldn’t handle criticism and I had this idea that I knew what I was doing. Clearly I didn’t because the band thing didn’t work out hahaha. But for real, I take every experience I’ve had as AESTHETIC as a learning experience. I put out a single earlier this year called “Happy Again” and while it was great I took the lessons that came from it seriously and channeled them towards making this new single “Shadow Puppets” even better. So the best advice I can give to someone who is also trying to do this is surround yourself with people who will help you get to where you want to be, never give up on yourself when things may seem bad and always remain open to changing your game plan. Don’t think you’re hot stuff because you had one instance of success. You should always be trying to outdo what came before because if you don’t, you will get buried in this industry. Of course you should be proud and reward yourself for when you achieve something in your music career. However, always remain a humble student of the music game because this game is ever-changing.