blown away by the support of his single 'take it all', ernest pours himself into new songs that he wants to resonate with people
Hi Ernest, thank you for taking part in our Top 20 Beatdown Voting and congratulations achieving 1st
place with your latest song 'Take It All'.
1) Claudia eRecords contacted you out of the blue and asked you to take part and submit a song of yours. What went through your head?
When Claudia eRecords reached out to me, the first thing that I felt was gratitude. I had just released my single “Take It All”, and it meant the world to me that they liked what they heard, especially since I am a beginner in the music industry. “Take It All” is one of my favorite songs that I have ever written, and I’m blown away by all of the support and positive feedback that I’ve heard from it.
2) Tell us something about you. Where are you from and where are you heading music wise?
I was born and raised in the Bronx, NY. Growing up in New York truly shaped my identity in a lot of ways that I didn’t realize when I was younger. I truly attribute my wide range of interests and my many facets to growing up in the city and being exposed to so many different experiences, cultures, people, and viewpoints. My parents involved my siblings and I in a lot of extra-curricular activities when we were young, and we learned the importance of working hard and staying curious.
Music wise, I don’t know exactly where I am heading, but I think that is a good thing. I’ve been spending a lot of time learning how to use Logic Pro X and teaching myself how to produce. I’ve been writing a lot of music for my debut album, and it has been really cool to watch it all come together from scratch, and to be able to start producing it from home and recording demos.
3) You are mixing your knowledge of classical and contemporary music into a new style. How would you describe your music? And what genre does it fall into?
My music tends to fall into an indie-pop category, but I am influenced by many different styles of music. I played the flute for 7 years when I was growing up, and had classical flute training in high school, and I still really love classical music. I find a lot of inspiration in orchestral pieces, because I like the way that they evoke emotion so seamlessly.
A lot of my new music involves arrangements that feel orchestral and atmospheric, but also have a lot of modern pop influences. I am a sucker for anything that feels percussive, and makes you feel like you have to move your body, so I’ve been playing with mixing the two, and I feel like I am really starting to hit my stride - I can’t wait to begin sharing some of the new music, later in the year, or early next year.
4) You have been writing music since you were 9 years old. Where did your passion to write music come from?
I’ve always loved vocabulary and language, so writing songs was really just an extension of my curiosity, at first. My brother actually taught me how to write a song - he taught me how to structure a song, and we wrote a song together. I don’t remember anything about the song that we wrote, but it is one of my fondest memories, and it really became the catalyst for me starting to write more on my own, about how I was feeling.
I was still in elementary school at that time, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that I could express myself through a song better than I could in person. It was also around that time that I started to really develop a sense of what music I liked, and didn’t like, and I started paying a lot of attention to song lyrics. I still fixate over lyrics, both when I am listening to music and when I am writing. When I fall in love with a song, I’ll often google the lyrics and read them over, developing my own interpretations.
5) You had 3 notebooks filled with songs by the time you finished middle school. But you started to release songs just recently since September 2019. Are you drawing on the songs written at school or do you come up with new songs? Do you use the songs you have written at school for today’s releases?
I haven’t used any of the songs that I wrote in my childhood for current releases, but I do go back and read the lyrics for inspiration, quite often. The songs that I wrote at that point were very raw and wrought with uncaged emotion, and while I love revisiting that, that emotion isn’t refined enough. I will most likely wind up pulling bits and pieces from a lot of the old songs, but for now, they are just great to revisit. Every original song that I have released or performed up to this point was written after 2017. It is interesting to see, however, that I still write about a lot of the same things, now, that I wrote about as a child, but in a more eloquent way.
6) Did you learn to play an instrument when you were younger?
Yes! I started learning how to play the flute when I was in 5th grade. I also took guitar and piano lessons for a short period of time, but eventually stopped going, and pursued other activities. I still own my flute, and I have an electric keyboard and an electric guitar, but I pretty much only play my keyboard, because it is easiest to write with. I hope to dive back into playing the flute, eventually, and to learn how to play the guitar.
7) What is your creative process? How does the idea for a song come to you?
I honestly don’t have a specific creative process when it comes to songwriting. I try to let myself just be blindly inspired, without putting too many parameters on myself, because I just want everything to feel as authentic as possible, and sometimes too many limits kill my creativity. I’ve slipped into a bit of a routine since the beginning of quarantine, which has been nice. I typically wake up around 7:30am, make a cup of coffee, sit at my desk, and just dive right into whatever idea I feel most inspired by at that moment, which has been really freeing. Most of the time, I’ll wind up spending about 5-6 hours, knee deep in a project before I realize that the day is passing by.
8) What are your plans/goals for the next 3 years?
If someone would’ve asked me this question a few months ago, I would have said that my plan was to move to LA, and start learning how to produce, in the hopes of writing my first album. Interestingly enough, this quarantine has put me in a position where I am doing just that, but not in LA.
My new goals for the next 3 years are to just write and produce as much as possible, and to travel. I would love to spend some time in London, and work on music there. There are some great musicians coming out of the UK indie scene, and I’d love to be around that. I want to do more collaborations within the next 3 years, as well. In my opinion, collaboration is one of the most gratifying things about being an artist. I’d also love to just keep fleshing out my home studio. Right now I have a very small setup, but it is perfect for where I am in my career. I’d also love to do an artist’s retreat at some point within the next 3 years.
9) Where do you see your challenges?
I think that my biggest challenge will be adjusting my goals and plans to fit the current state of the world, and trying not to be in my own head so much. I get very nervous about my music, as all musicians do, because I find it hard to gauge whether it’s actually good or I am just excited about making it.
A lot of that comes from anxiety, which we all have, but knowing that just makes me more anxious. It is a bit of a constant struggle, but I have been working on affirming myself and not stressing out so much on feeling like I need validation from others. Covid-19 has also changed the way that artists and fans can interact, because live shows likely won’t happen for some time, which will be another thing to adjust to.
10) What is your dream music wise?
My dream as a musician is to get to a point where I am able to live comfortably off of my art, and to see my music connect with people. That is the most important part - the connection. Knowing that all of the work that goes into the songs is resonating with people is all I have ever wanted, and I am honored to say that I am starting to see it happen.
I’d also love to start my own label that has a mentorship program for new artists. As a new artist, sometimes it feels so impossible to get your foot in the door, or even know what resources to look for. I’d love for my program to help new artists connect with people in the industry who can help them grow, as musicians.