A new chapter begins.
We are absolutely delighted to present 'Crazy', the debut solo single from The Word Alive's Telle Smith. And it's his birthday today!
Years in the making, 'Crazy' is the beginning of a new chapter in Telle's expansive musical journey. Hauntingly atmospheric intrumentals clash with emotive storytelling and a heartwrenching vocal performance culminating in a slice of gorgeous alt-pop that shows off a completely different side to Telle and his influences and inspirations.
It's a beautiful start to beautiful new era.
Check it out below:
We also spoke to Telle about how it has been developing these tracks over the past few years and what made 'Crazy' the perfect place to start:
It feels like this has been a long time coming. How does it feel to finally have some solo material out in the world?
"It’s kind of surreal. One of my friends, Mitchy [Collins] from lovelytheband, was the first person who said to me ‘You’ve just got to do it’. I was asking for some advice when I just had some ideas. That was basically two years ago. So I hit up another one of my friends who's more of an engineer than anything and said that I needed him to record me getting some ideas out. That’s how it all started. Then it just started blooming. Once I had the first song roughly done, I was like ‘Wow, I actually really love this’. I knew what this needed to be from me, I was so creatively in tune with it. So I set about getting together enough songs to see the bigger picture of what this is.
"So ‘Crazy’ is the first part of that. This is actually only the first version of the track that I’m dropping as well. There’s another version I have which is almost like a remix with a guest vocal and a drum change. It has much more of a trap beat."
The core of what you’ve had for these two years has been the ideas for songs, but it’s the actual direction you want to take them in that has taken the most work. But that’s the most exciting part…
"Yeah, absolutely. Well the reason that ‘Crazy’ is coming out first is because it’s the middle of the road song in terms of what the project is at this point. I wanted it to be personal and really show a different side of myself. Though then I also have a song that is very artsy. Our old drummer Luke Holland drums on it and it’s probably my favourite song that I’ve ever written. But at the same time I don’t want people to think that’s what every song sounds like.
"‘Crazy’ feels like a really good vibe to start on though. I felt like it wasn’t so overly upbeat. I didn’t want to launch with anything too upbeat. This is very chill and it’s a style that people can be really into or it can be their introduction to it as well. I just wanted it to be a middle ground. Knowing that I come from the rock world, I wanted this song to be the gateway song for people who have never listened to anything like this before."
So in terms of the actual instrumentation, is that something you have been working on individually or have you been collaborating a lot?
"Pretty much if you hear any guitar, that’s me. Most of piano is me. Technically I co-wrote this song and another one. There are eight songs in total that I’m pretty confident that I’m going to be using and then another four that are on the fringe. It would take something special to be added to them to put them over the top for me.
"So for ‘Crazy’, I co-wrote with engineer, producer, mixer Matt Keller from the band Lydia. He is also mixing all of my songs. So when we were writing he added the production depth. He added the beat and he played bass, because he’s a better bass player than me. I wanted the whole thing to feel really warm but then in the chorus I wanted it to pop a little bit more. I’d been playing things a little more basic and he had a bit more of a groove to him. He also added in the little things that aren’t my specialty. It’s the same thing as when I’m with The Word Alive. I’ll write the backbone and the vocals and I can say what I want to be played or what sound should come out, but I’m not proficient with Pro Tools and stuff. It was all very collaborative. The other song I did with him is called ‘When It Hurts’ which I’ve teased before. With everything else, I did almost everything else myself."
So how long have you had the lyrics for ‘Crazy’? And also how do you know that a song is for this project rather than The Word Alive?
"That’s something that I had noticed happening over the years. There have been lyrics that have just fallen more into this lane, mainly because they were a lot more exposing personally. Whereas the lyrics that I was writing with The Word Alive were very personal, I was wanting the songs to mean something to people in a way that it could help them through things. This is more of me telling stories, and those stories have clear visual representations that you will get in your head. You’ll still be able to relate it to your own life, but I’m not necessarily trying to be this positive light in the world. I’m just trying to show that these emotions can happen to anyone.
"Some of the lyrics for this project I started writing seven years ago. I would try and work them into songs that we were starting and I would think ‘This is not the band’. It was hard to put a finger on what it was or whether it could be something. So I put them in my unused folder and they took a backseat. But those emotions and those stories I would come up with, all of those things were still very real to me. So when it came time to start developing lyrics for this project I did have year’s worth of stories and one liners and ideas. Now I could go ‘Write a song about this’."
When it’s your own project, you’re able to be vulnerable but without having to offer up a solution...
"Exactly. This is the truest sense of who I am now. A lot of stories on the other side of things are things that I’m reflecting on. This is more a case of things that I have gone through and have stuck with me. They are lingering and making me think ‘I can’t believe this happened in my life’. It’s about the beautifully tragic moments of my life, where you can look back and say ‘I’m so thankful that this happened even though at the time it was crazy’. That’s what I want this project to feel like. I just want it to connect with the soul."