“This is my most authentic voice. That voice is my art. The art I make is me. If I stay quiet, you won’t get the real me.” -Erin McCarley
Nashville musician, Erin McCarley is forging her own path and opening the way for others to do the same. Her latest, extremely catchy single, “GOOD,” chronicles the singer’s journey as she conquers the fears that pop up on the way to self actualization and success. In the video, the song’s infectious chorus provides the narration for a mesmerizing dance routine by Linus Von Stumberg. The cosmic collaboration between Erin and Linus started with social media. She reached out to the nineteen-year-old on Instagram and their resulting direct messages led to a plane ride to Zurich. Six days later, the video for “GOOD” became a reality!
The Untitled Magazine has the exclusive of “GOOD!” Watch the brand new video below and read our interview with Erin to get the full story on the making of the video and her future plans.
The Untitled Magazine: How did music come into your life?
Erin McCarley: Music first made its way to me through dance. I started dancing about fifteen years ago. My first dream was to be a backup dancer in a music video. Eventually, I burnt out from being at the studio six days a week and in the meantime, fell in love with singing. In high school, my best guy friend taught me guitar and I became enthralled with songwriting which is why I moved to Nashville when I graduated.
UM: Who are some of your influences?
EM: Fiona Apple and Patty Griffin were my first song writing influences. Beck’s courage and versatility has been a constant influence to the way I try to approach each project. I grew up singing classical music so I feel like those melodic themes pop in and out. Childish Gambino and Beyoncé have been my biggest contemporary influences in the past couple of years.
UM: You live in Nashville, how do you think that’s affected your sound?
EM: I’ve been here for ten years. I think Nashville has helped me focus on the song more than anything… the writing process. The pop industry was very small when I first got here, but I found a community of people interested in doing things a little differently. The past two years, I have done every bit of my creative work here in Nashville. Writing and producing with my friends, old and new. There is a focused energy here, yet down to earth and loving. An ease and a richness in the creative relationships. I haven’t found that to be the case anywhere else.
UM: How has your sound and style evolved since you released your 2012 album My Stadium Electric?
EM: Nashville is the name of the game for this recipe. I have been spending most of my time at home writing, spending time with my husband, diving into meeting new creatives, and I’m in a great head space. I think that shows up in the music. I’ve let my love for dance steer the way on a lot of the production; giving myself the authority to make whatever I love. No set rules to match anything I’ve done before. I think the sound is a natural evolution from past projects.
UM: Can you talk to us about the themes behind the song featured in your latest video, “GOOD?”
EM: “GOOD” is an “I do and I don’t give two fucks” kind of song. It touches on the parallel of the fear of moving forward in a relationship and the fear of moving forward in a career. The themes include battling with stage fright, cutting my hair when I’m nervous, wanting to be truly known, and garnering up the courage to make a move. I collaborated with my friends Kenny Childers and RUSLAN for this track. They have become a dream team for me.
UM: Can you elaborate on the story of the collaboration between you and the featured dancer in the video, Linus von Stumberg?
EM: I’m not sure how I stumbled upon Linus Von Stumberg’s Instagram page. I follow various dancers and found myself weaving in and out of different pages watching beautiful dancers and then Linus appeared. I felt really connected to his emotion while he danced. Subtle. Strong. Aware. I direct messaged him on Instagram and wanted him to know that he was such a badass and that I want to support young artists like him. I didn’t know if there was a way we could work together, but we started having the conversation of a possible collaboration. I sent him some new songs, and we decided to shoot a video for my new single, “GOOD.” I live in Nashville. He lives in Zurich, Switzerland. I bought a plane ticket with all of my miles and flew to Zurich for six days. I crashed at his family’s home, his parents were such gracious hosts; they cooked traditional Swiss and German meals, took me to the Christmas markets around town, fed me hot wine on every corner, and so on. I took a hip hop class with Linus and his friends (the class was taught in Swiss German!) so everyone got a good laugh a caught a glimpse of me flailing in the back of the room. Then we shot the video on my last day in Zurich.
EM: I wanted Linus to have as much creative freedom as possible. Linus and the director of photography, Simon Walti, created a couple of concept videos together that were really moving, and I trusted that they could do it again with my song. So we decided to keep that team together and shoot our video. Linus found a billiards’ hall and we decided to make it resonate within the early 90’s vibe. The video falls in and out of reality with Linus in the hall by himself; but at times people are there, but only existing in his mind. I am the only one that stays present when everyone else disappears. The whole process felt so organic and it was extremely inspiring to watch a nineteen-year-old take the reins and create from within with no fear. I feel honored to have been able to work with him.
UM: When you aren’t working on music do you have any other projects or social issues that you are passionate about?
EM: Family time has been the source of my free time. My parents moved to Nashville and I try to spend as much time with them as I can when I’m not doing music. My mom and I recently marched the local Women’s March together which neither of us will ever forget. My aim is to be more involved and active in the civil rights and climate change communities this year and years to come and educating and getting people out to vote for our local representatives. I think we are all seeing how the small scale engagement is just as important as the vote you cast for the future president. I refuse to be quiet on any of this because this is my most authentic voice. That voice is my art. The art I make is me. If I stay quiet, you won’t get the real me.
UM: What’s next for you this year?
EM: I’ll be releasing a few visuals to go along with these new tunes that I’ve been working on over the past couple of years. I have to give so much credit to the teams I worked with on these videos. All of the work was done independently, and these teams gave me so much of their time and creativity to make something beautiful and special. Again, our current state in this country is directly affecting my creative process which I’m sure so many in the art community are feeling and reacting in the same way. I’m currently finishing up some songs right now that are hitting on that nerve and I’ll be releasing that music very soon. Engaging, educating myself and others, creating and releasing is my mantra this year.