Catch up with singer-songwriter Nick Deutsch and listen to his new single "Under Your Ocean" from his forthcoming EP Heartsaver, due out this Summer.
What first got you interested in music?
Nick Deutsch: My mom was actually a private piano teacher, so we always had music in my house. That was probably the first introduction to music; as a little kid, I was running around whenever my mom would play Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag". We had a really big piano and, at the time, we were all living in Chicago, so I just had a natural introduction to it and then started taking piano lessons and, from there, it just spilled over into dabbling in theater and composition and, really, songwriting came about when I just felt the desire to write my own music instead of continually be playing works of other composers and I just really followed that path. I could keep going [laughs] but in terms of the introduction, I was really fortunate to have music, constantly, in my upbringing.
Do you remember the first song you wrote?
You know [laughs], it was when I was in junior year in high school. My friend reminded me because she sent me a text message saying, 'you've come a long way from "Off Sheridan Road"' because apparently, I had completely forgotten that, but I lived on Sheridan road and she had one of the first demos I ever did, so I was looking back through the albums and I was like, wow, I guess, technically, that's the first thing I wrote. So yeah, it was called "Off Sheridan Road" and it was just about the winding lakeside street and the goings and comings of people that drive up and down that path in Chicago.
Which musicians have you been influenced by?
When I was younger, I really liked - I mean, people who played the piano and sang, I always gravitated towards - Fiona Apple and Tori Amos, Vanessa Carlton was a big one. Now, I still listen to a lot of piano player singer-songwriters, I think now with male pop singers. I've always loved James Morrison, he's a British singer-songwriter who's huge. I love Sam Smith, I like Troye Sivan and, strangely enough, I've been listening to - I don't think it's that strange - I love Kacey Musgraves and I like a lot of country music, so there's another song on the record that's very, very Kacey Musgraves influence. I kind of just split my iPhone into those categories.
What words would you use to describe your own sound?
I call it heartstring indie pop, because I think that it's not necessarily as open-ended as the big pop songs you hear on the radio that are sometimes so broad that anybody can relate to them; I always try to achieve that, I think my own songs are a little bit more personal to my life and I try to be very lyrically clear and specific, that's just my own writing style, and I think it's definitely pop in that category. I say it's more indie pop just because I think there can be an edge to it and this is not necessarily as commercial as standard pop, so that's my classification.
As you said, the lyrics are clear and it's fluent on its own, but could you tell us more about the inspirations behind "Under Your Ocean"?
"Under Your Ocean" is really about being in a relationship where one person is, I say, depressed because, at the time, I was dating a guy who was very unhappy in his life and constantly not wanting to work through whatever issues were going on and this song is about, if there's ever that dynamic when you're dating somebody where somebody is unhappy - whether it's clinically or they're in grief - they can grab the other person and pull them down and it can get to be a very destructive thing if there's an addiction or anything like that going on where one person is trying to help the other person. What I was trying to go for is trying to basically capture that, where you can really love somebody, but if they don't love themselves, it's just not going to work; if that person doesn't take the steps to work through whatever's going on, they can grab you into their field of life, I suppose. I really liked the imagery of, if you've swam in the ocean before, you know that there's an undertow sometimes and it can pull your down, and that was the first lyrical bit that I had. I liked the imagery of that; other people, sometimes, even if we love them, can still pull us into their darkness and that's what the song's about.
Could you tell us more about your forthcoming EP?
The new EP is, contrary to the first single which is definitely the heaviest song in the record, the rest of the songs are very upbeat, positive. I have a few pop tunes that are very almost dance pop. I love Kylie Minogue and I think the main song on the album was definitely influenced by that bright, upbeat nature. All the songs are kind of about different kinds of love, if it's friends or questioning one's capacity to love, or being in love, and/or being strongly in love. The first single is more adult contemporary, I think, which tackles that, and literally everything else on the album is very upbeat. I think Crazy Ride was definitely a heavier kind of record and this one is moving more into some adult contemporary, but I would just describe it as being upbeat and every single track is very different in how it looks at different types of relationships.
How would you sum up Heartsaver in one sentence?
I would say that everyone will meet someone who doesn't break their heart, but instead saves it; there are so many songs about being heartbroken, and Heartsaver is about someone saving your heart, as opposed to breaking it.
What do you hope your fans and listeners are able to take away from your music?
I hope it just helps people look at their own relationships that they have and perhaps it opens their mind and heart to whatever's going on in their own lives. Sometimes we need a sadder song like "Under Your Ocean", but sometimes we also just want to get up and dance and be happy and I think Heartsaver captures that and I think people will see that I'm musically shifting into a little bit more of an improvement and an advancement of me as a songwriter. I hope people will catch onto that and also just get to have fun with the music instead of having it always be more serious.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
The music video for "Heartsaver" is going to be happening soon and that's going to be very exciting. We're going to have a great narrative involving robots and things for that [laughs]. I'm just excited to start to get new music out there.