"I am in charge of the destination, the route, and I get to be behind the steering wheel."
We all have those songs that make us reach for the stop button because it reminds us of an ex or a difficult time in our lives, and 'Favourite Song' by Dublin singer-songwriter Tim Chadwick from his new EP 'Timothy' epitomises that exact feeling.
The five-track collection - which includes the 2020 single 'If I Gotta Run' - marries huge, euphoric pop choruses with the rollercoaster ride of emotions that comes with learning to love yourself again following the end of a relationship.
'Timothy' is the start of a new and exciting chapter for rising talent, Chadwick, stripped-back and raw, the Irish star turns pure emotion into heavenly poetry paired with angelic crystalline vocals.
Here, Chadwick tells Lizzie's Lowdown how empowering it feels to be fully in control of his career, the fun process of "hiding realism and vulnerability behind inviting melodies" and his journey to becoming "innocent, independent, hopeful" Timothy again.
This EP is just what we need right now, you can't help but get up and dance to it. Was that what you had in mind when you made it? That's the exact feeling I wanted to inspire. I try to be as transparent as possible online when it comes to both my personal life and the music, which have always seemed to be intertwined. I do try and keep a lot of things for myself, but I don't think I'm the type of songwriter that will produce a song about everything being perfect, or someone being perfect. I like to bring a lot of realism into my songs and so the outcome of the last year was only ever going to be raw and honest. However, what I do love doing is hiding some of that realism and vulnerability behind inviting melodies. I enjoy the juxtaposition of light production and heavy hitting lyrics - it entertains me as a performer but also as a fan.
"I think everyone should have an artist that when they open their mouth to sing or play an instrument, they believe what comes out. Hayley Williams is that for me."
Tell us about the track Favourite Song and what inspired that lyrically? I had just landed in LA after a breakup and I was meeting up with another Irish songwriter, Bill Maybury, who was living there at the time. I had told him that the first song that had come on my Spotify on the way to the session was this song that I had shown my ex and used to sing to him and I told Bill that I was just angry and annoyed that it was no longer mine. I was upset that I had shared something so close to me and now even when I'm totally on my own, something that was purely mine no longer was. We started the song instantly and I finished it a few months later when I got back home to Ireland. Lyrically, I wanted to pin-point the moment when I heard it come on and that feeling of instantly having to turn it off because those three or so minutes would only remind me of what went wrong in the relationship. There's a line in the second verse that I added in as a sort of mockery of myself. "I had to burn you off, light up the Molotov." There's a scene in Arrested Development where Lucille says: "Gays are so dramatic! They make me want to light myself on fire." She wasn't lying. There's an exclusive for you lol.
Are you a visual writer? The EP could almost be a soundtrack? I've never classed myself as one, but that is a huge compliment. I have one fault when it comes to my songwriting, which is that I can't seem to write about anything other than my life. The EP was written over the course of probably the most turbulent year of my life where there were very clear beginnings, middles and definitive ends. I'm glad that it sounds like it could be a soundtrack, it certainly was for me. How have you developed sonically since your last release, would you say? I feel like in the last year, from the beginning of 2020, I've hit my "okay I know what I want everything to sound like" stride. I think that will shift in a year or two again. It's fun to shake things up a bit. I've gone from folk to folk pop, then pop pop. I feel comfortable where I am now, but not too comfortable where I don't feel challenged. Which artists were you inspired by in the studio? Hayley Williams has been a huge inspiration for me. I have talked about her in every interview so far. I believe her. I think everyone should have an artist that when they open their mouth to sing or play an instrument, they believe what comes out. She is that for me - always has been since my young emo days of being a Paramore fan. A lot of trailblazer women are on my 'sounds like timothy' playlist on Spotify - Maggie Rogers, MUNA, Haim, Caroline Polachek, Christine and The Queens - the list goes on. Talk me through the main themes running through the EP? I would say self-love, self-discovery, heartbreak and healing. I went from a long-term relationship to single during a global pandemic in the space of three months. I was forced to do the hard work of figuring out who I am without someone holding onto the comfort of who I was (me included). Without any distractions I had to relearn how to speak kindly to myself, to discover my flaws but also my strengths. I had to do the work and it's still ongoing. The name on my birth certificate is Timothy and I wanted to just return to that person for a while - innocent, independent, hopeful. I also wanted the EP to feel cyclical. It starts with heartbreak and ends with heartbreak (see Lucille quote from Arrested Development!). But, in the middle, there is self-love and discovery. I wanted to play with the idea that perhaps throughout our lives we will fall in and out of love with both ourselves and with other people and that maybe, that's just life. A lot of the visuals around the EP consist of sunrises and sunsets that I captured throughout the year on my MANY walks, re-emphasising beginnings and ends.
In Another Life really displays your vocal range beautifully. Is that a track you are excited to perform live when things get back to normal? That was actually the hardest to record vocals for. I was nervous it was too raw? I have a strong visual in my head for how I want that song to look when it's performed. I wanted it to feel like we are all above the clouds. I work with a very talented lighting engineer so I can't wait to be able to bring it to people.
"The name on my birth certificate is Timothy and I wanted to just return to that person for a while - innocent, independent, hopeful."
What's the best thing about being independent, is it empowering? How has it changed your outlook on the music industry? It's extremely empowering. I am in charge of the destination, the route, and I get to be behind the steering wheel. That does mean that everything rests on you, but that sort of pressure is something I'm learning to take in my stride. I think labels are fantastic and I would never say I am anti-label. I think it has to be the right time and everyone involved needs to know the destination and be looking at the same map. I think sometimes people get caught up in making it to "the top" and forget about the in-between parts and how important they are for creating a successful and long career in music. The top goal should never be to get signed. I have seen equal amounts of success stories from both independent and labelled artists. There is no right or wrong, it just depends on what's best for the artist and their career.
Did Los Angeles influence the EP? Favourite Song was born in LA and finished in Dublin. It really did change a lot of things for me. I wanted it to feel like how I felt driving through the city. LA had also come at a very pivotal time for me. It really does have a magnetic pull, which I still feel to this day. The energy there is something like I had never felt before. I'm so LA now, btw.
Are you working on new songs all the time, what's next for you?
Always. Sometimes they are fully-fledged songs, sometimes they are just lines or ideas here or there, but I've pretty much written the next body of work, which is exciting. If 2020 has taught me anything it's to not really expect anything any more. I hope this EP reaches the right people's ears and that those who are looking for an EP like this, find it. Then after that, who knows? I'd love to get back over to LA once everything calms down. But I also have plans to move to London for a while. SHOWS. I need to play a show soon and I can't wait to bring these new songs to a stage.
'Timothy' is out now.