Micaela Merryman from Sonder Magazine had the privilege of speaking to actor Nicholas Hamilton, known for his roles in It (2017), It: Chapter Two (2019), and Captain Fantastic (2016), about his new single Different Year.
Is bringing a character alive on the screen at all similar to bringing a song to life? How do the processes differ? How are they, in some ways, the same?
An actor’s job is, more often than not, to memorise someone else’s words and say them on camera. There’s little, if any, creative control associated with that. Being able to write a song from scratch, make it sound how you want it to sound, and release it how and when you want to release it, is a feeling that I’m not used to at all. I love the process of making a movie or show, there’s nothing like the feeling of being on set, but being involved in the creative process right from the very beginning feels so special, and makes releasing the finished product so much more satisfying. I think that’s why so many actors go into music, or producing/directing.
Tell me about the moment you decided that music was the next step in your career. What did you feel that day and how do you feel now?
I’ve been writing music for over 2 years now, but I’ve always had to put it on the back-burner to allow more time for my other career. Last year obviously slowed down the entertainment industry enough that I had time to really focus on writing and eventually releasing. The real turning point, though, was at an Airbnb in Visalia, CA in July. My friend and collaborator Savs and I created this songwriting retreat in this stranger’s house for a week, where we wrote a ton of songs, one of which we ended up getting produced right away. It kinda forced me to really think about getting some other tracks recorded and produced, so that’s what I spent the remainder of 2020 doing! I’m super grateful for that trip, it made me really get off my ass and get everything moving.
You’ve said that you: “can’t state the amount of love I have for songs that are about something so depressing and heart-breaking, but are produced in an overwhelmingly positive and uplifting way.”
What made you decide to underlay such an uplifting track underneath a song with lyrics focusing on escapism? What was the story behind that choice? What message do you want to send your readers with this song?
I 100% stand by that. There’s something so cool about a sad song that makes you dance. I didn’t only want to achieve that with Different Year, I’ve wanted to do it with almost every song I’ve written. The majority of my tracks start out as piano ballads you could cry to, then they eventually morph into a head-bopper… that you could cry to. I also love that word, escapism. It’s exactly what we were trying to capture with Different Year. Wanting to go to sleep and wake up when everything is okay again. I think what I want listeners to get from Different Year, more than anything, is that that feeling is universal.
You can keep up with everything Nic is doing here. Stream 'Different Year' on Spotify and Apple Music.
Interview by Micaela Merryman.