Music

Tim Chadwick is making waves with his engrossing and honest electro-pop

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Breakout Irish artist Tim Chadwick is an emerging talent you firmly need on your radar.

The Dublin-based singer-songwriter is making waves with his huge pop sound and lyrical honesty – an engrossing combination that’s excellently showcased in his new EP Timothy.

Across its five tracks, Tim draws on recent personal experiences and wears his heart on his sleeve as he explores loneliness, self-reflection and re-gaining confidence.

Songs like the electro-pop-driven Favourite Song and Only Me are juxtaposed with the enchanting ballads In Another Life and Search Party, exhibiting Tim’s wondrous musical dexterity.

On delving into Timothy’s themes, Tim told Daily Star: “This whole EP is essentially conversations I have had with myself. The mirror became my best friend.

“I had a lot of work to do in terms of falling back in love with myself. So I think this EP needed to happen. It started off being for me, and now it's for everyone else.”

His 2019 single I Need To Know was a hit in Ireland and reached 26 in the Irish Single Official Charts off the back of major radio airplay.

It led to a live interview and performance on The Six O’Clock Show, firmly cementing his reputation as an artist to watch.

Tim, who’s culminated 15 million streams on Spotify, has already supported Mabel, Hudson Taylor and Billy Lockett, while his own headline shows sold out in just 72 hours.

Daily Star’s Rory McKeown caught up with the Dubliner to talk about Timothy and its themes, navigating a pandemic, his career so far, and getting out on the live circuit again.

Hi Tim. How have the past 12 months been for you? How have you navigated the challenges a pandemic brings to an artist?

“Hello! Well, I think we can all collectively agree that it's been one of the hardest years on record. I'm pretty sure I've gone through every emotion under the sun, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the back of the pandemic.

"Music has been the saving grace however; it has kept me sane, and creating a body of work really kept me grounded and present, during a time when it's very easy to feel disconnected. In saying that, I found it impossible to create and gather my thoughts for about four months after March 2020.

"Like most, my head was both on overdrive and also stationery. Once the dust settled, I finally felt like writing again. I've tried to remind myself how easy we should be on ourselves during all this madness. Getting out of this having survived is the greatest accomplishment. Anything else is just a bonus. "

You’re about to release your new EP Timothy. What was its writing and recording process like? When did it begin?

"The writing process was very natural. Because I wasn't pushed into the studio to create anything, everything just felt easy and intentional. I had been writing with the purpose of not having it be anything.

"I had worked closely with my good friend/producer, Seán Behan, on previous songs, but had never attempted an entire project. When Covid restrictions allowed for house visits during last summer, we locked ourselves in the studio for three weeks and the EP is what came out of that.

"The songs began taking shape in late 2019 and then once we were in lockdown I had plenty of time to sit and think about what I wanted next and how I wanted to go about it.

"I had a lot of work to do on myself after a breakup and because there were no other distractions I was forced to do the hard work. The whole experience was very cathartic and necessary."

There are huge pop sensibilities to it, with soaring choruses and absorbing synths, ranging from the dancefloor filler vibe of Favourite Song to the enchanting ballad of In Another Life. How did you hone this sound? How has your output evolved since starting out as an artist?

"The EP took on the soundtrack to the last year of my life, and I wanted that to be intentional. There were highs and lows, and love seemed to ebb and flow for me in the space of a year. As an artist, I enjoy embedding hard hitting truths and lyrics within light pop production – it helps me deal with life in not such an overpowering and overly serious way.

"I feel like I've hit my stride in producing a 'sad banger' genre that really serves my intention as an artist. I love being able to move through emotions, rather than being held down by them.

"I think from starting as a more folk-leaning artist, it has allowed me to hold onto my singer-songwriter and storytelling roots. I've learned now that you can still get all that across when leaning into my pop-focused realms."

Across its five songs, you tackle themes like loneliness, self-reflection and re-gaining confidence. As a songwriter, what’s it like delving into subjects close to the heart? Do you find it helps you on a personal level and do you hope its honesty resonates with the listener?

"I think my job is to feel everything strongly and honestly, and then give it out into the world to digest. I've found a strength in being open and vulnerable. I keep a lot of things to myself, but I find that the artists that I love and admire always let me in just enough so that I can see them as another human.

"Empathy is key, especially in the hard and often times cruel world we live in today. This whole EP is essentially conversations I have had with myself. The mirror became my best friend. Like I said, I had a lot of work to do in terms of falling back in love with myself. So I think this EP needed to happen. It started off being for me, and now it's for everyone else."

Is there a song you’re particularly proud of on Timothy?

"Oh, tough question. This changes a lot because I'm proud of them all. Right now, I'm proud of the imagery and lyrics of In Another Life. It was the most difficult to sing and there's a part of me which feels I could have done it better but I love how raw it is. "

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Who are your influences and inspirations – either personally or musically?

"Hayley Williams from Paramore is the songwriter, performer, general human being I look to and find inspiration from. I love her honesty and softness as an artist.

"Other artists like Haim, MUNA, Maggie Rogers, Caroline Polachek, Troye Sivan have all been killing it continuously over the years and I really admire what they are doing with the art and how they really own their craft.

"In terms of personal inspirations, I really look towards my peers in the music industry. I love seeing my friends thrive both on and off stage and keeps me excited about music."

When did you get into music? Was there a stand out moment when you knew it was the path you wanted to take?

"It was slightly accidental if I'm being totally honest. I had been writing songs since the age of 12 but I never found a way to take it to the next level, professionally. Music wasn't even an option in my school. I feel like I stumbled for many years in my late teens/early 20s and it's only in the last two years do I feel fully confident in what I'm doing and how I'm doing it.

"I loved the feeling that came with being proud of the work I made. It's a sense of fulfilment that I haven't found in any other job. So as they say in yoga, I've been following a very 'find what feels good' approach. I think when people started to react positively to the songs I was putting out and actually coming to shows and festival slots, that I thought that this could really be something. "

You’ve supported the likes of Hudson Taylor and Billy Lockett, and have played festivals such as The Great Escape and Independence. What did you learn from these shows? How eager are you to get back out into the live scene?

"I've learned how to get what I do and how I do it across. The show you create should be a reflection of who you are. That's something I wasn't sure of in the early days. So as the music has become more in line with how I am as a person, the shows followed in tandem. I've felt they became more welcoming, more open and more enjoyable for all involved.

"I really dislike the 'I'm the artist, you're the fan' mentality, so that's a wall I try to break down during live shows. I am SWEATING to play in person again. I'm excited to get this EP on the road and perform it how it should be performed. The last thing I want is for restricted connection and limited fun, so I'm going to be patient when it comes to rescheduling dates etc."

What’s the Irish music scene like right now?

"Thriving. Diverse. Impactful. Important. Irish artists are competing with the top worldwide stars in terms of content and talent at the moment and the majority of them are unsigned independent artists.

"I can't emphasise how important it is to start listening to Spotify playlists like 'A Breath of Fresh Éire' and 'An Alternative Éire' on Spotify. They will really prove to you the quality of the scene right now."

Your breakout single I Need To Know hit 26 on the Irish Single Official Charts and was backed by every major Irish radio station, leading to an appearance on The Six O’Clock Show. What’s it like having this support as an emerging artist?

"It feels great to be supported. To know that your country has your back is very encouraging. I recognise how lucky I am. Ireland is extremely small so it's important that we raise our own voices and celebrate our own art."

What’s next for you, Tim? Do you have an ultimate goal?

"I'm looking forward to celebrating this EP. If 2020 has taught me anything is that it's important to not expect anything and not to wish too much for things, because fundamentally everything is out of our hands. I just hope that it lands in the laps of people who need something like this.

"The ultimate goal is to just be content in what I do and to feel successful. I look forward to touring and performing when it's safe to do so and to connect with the people who connected with the music. "

Tim Chadwick's Timothy EP is out now

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