Born and raised in the musical Australian town, Byron Bay, singer Nicholas Hamilton is stepping into the music industry with his debut single, “Different Year.” With platforms ranging from Hollywood movies to social media, the singer is no stranger to the spotlight, and we are so excited to see where his music career takes him. While the impact of coronavirus left many people unsure of how to stay focused, Hamilton poured his emotions into a debut EP that discusses feelings of love, loss and change. The debut single, “Different Year,” has a dichotomy of heart-breaking lyricism with upbeat synths that tell a story. We had the chance to speak with Nic and learn more about his music career and inspirations as an artist.
BTS: Tell us about your relationship with music.
Nicholas Hamilton: I’ve always loved all kinds of music. Making iTunes playlists on my mum’s computer and uploading them onto my MP3 player was a daily task of mine as a kid. I think the first ever song I had on a device that I owned was All Star by Smash Mouth. Classic. I started acting when I was 11, and I’ve wanted to entertain ever since, so I think music was just a natural progression. I started writing music back in Australia at the end of 2018, right before I moved out to LA, where I’ve been for 2 years now. Over those years I’ve just been honing my song-writing and singing leading up to this year, when I can finally release stuff of my own.
BTS: What does your song-writing process look like? Are there certain places or times that stimulate this process?
Nicholas Hamilton: I’m learning as I go! I know I love writing both alone and with collaborators. I wrote my first few songs ever with my guitarist and best mate back home, Ben Kuhl, and I’ve written with people over here who I really love and respect. But I feel like I can also be the most honest when I’m by myself, sitting at my little, crappy, bright pink Casio keyboard and just writing what I’m feeling, no holds-barred. I just love writing, no matter where I am.
BTS: How has coronavirus impacted your career?
Nicholas Hamilton: Like so many others in entertainment, my career was put on pause for pretty much all of last year. I had 3 signed projects that were slated for 2020 that were all pushed to this year. Don’t tell my wallet I said this, but it was kind of a blessing in disguise. I was able to really spend time on improving my writing and singing, and start thinking about actually recording and releasing some tracks. That being said, if COVID never came about in the first place I wouldn’t exactly have been that pressed.
BTS: What inspired you to pursue music?
Nicholas Hamilton: 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 was so intriguing to me. 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.
BTS: What do you want people to know about your music before listening to it?
Nicholas Hamilton: Everything you’re hearing is pure me. I may have written the song with someone else, but the words I’m singing are genuine and honest. In Different Year, which I wrote with Britton Buchanan, good mate and runner-up on Season 14 of The Voice, the whole lyric sheet is like a diary entry. I love writing with truth and transparency, I think it makes the lyrics hit harder and gives the listener more of an opportunity to relate. I’d also grab some tissues, ‘cuz turns out pure me is pretty depressing.
BTS: How would you describe your signature sound?
Nicholas Hamilton: Like I said, it’s honest. I want people to think of me as a singer/songwriter who doesn’t hold back, who writes with total clarity and openness. I also love pairing sad lyrics with chill, upbeat sounds. Different Year is a perfect example of that, the song itself could be seen as quite a depressing recount of someone’s loneliness, but the music itself makes your head bop back and forth. Almost every song I’ve written starts out as a piano ballad you could cry to, and are eventually morphed into really chill pop songs… that you could still cry to.
BTS: What do you like to do in your free time?
Nicholas Hamilton: I’m insanely lucky to be working in two careers that are both hobbies of mine. My free-time is either spent listening or writing to music, or watching movies. Technically my pastimes are just study for future projects. I guess I also play quite a lot of video games.Practically the only way I can catch up with friends in a COVID-safe manner is through a headset, so I really value that time.
BTS: Who are some of your influences in the music industry?
Nicholas Hamilton: I listen to a ton of chill pop. People like Quinn XCII, Jordan Mackampa, Ruel. Sad songs sung in an upbeat way. I also love Lewis Capaldi and Yebba, ballad artists who sing with everything they’ve got. I’ve also started to think about writing for other people, because I just enjoy writing so much, so in that sense I freaking idolise Ed Sheeran. The way he can just write for someone else and it sounds like they wrote it, how he can fit into someone else’s shoes perfectly like that is incredible.
BTS: What can we expect from Nicholas Hamilton in the future?
Nicholas Hamilton: More of everything you’ve already seen, I hope! I’ll be announcing more and more music in the very near future and, COVID-willing, I’ll be working on all the theatrical projects that were pushed into 2021. I’ve started caring less and less about long-term goals, everything seems so unpredictable now, I think minute to minute stuff is way more important. What can I do today that makes tomorrow better and easier, overall?
BTS: How do you translate real life experiences into songs?
Nicholas Hamilton: Writing about real experiences I’ve had and real people in my life can be daunting as hell. Getting over that initial fear of “what is this person going to think about what I said about them in this lyric” and “I hope my parents don’t worry more about me if they hear that sometimes I get sad” is something I’ve had to do really recently. My songs are like therapy to me. I’m able to gush about everything I’m feeling whenever I want. It’s just that this therapy is filmed in front of a live studio audience… that’s the difference.
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