Australian musician Nathan Smart is gearing up to release his brand new pop anthem Jailhouse.
Produced by Michael Paynter and Michael DeLorenzis at MSquared (NUSSY, Chris Watts), Jailhouse features soaring synths, in the likes of Flume, fused with the cool trap beats. Smart's glistening vocals build the song effortlessly, showcasing his unique and agile rap style singing, before elevating into an unforgettable and powerful hook, akin to the pop hits from Troye Sivan. On the writing process, Smart said "Jailhouse was inspired by a deteriorating relationship. It's a confession that even though this person had moved on, I was struggling to let go of what little was left...Listening to it now is very nostalgic."
Hustling from Melbourne's Mornington Peninsula, The 20 year old singer, songwriter and producer brings a fresh approach with his fusion pop, hip-hop crossovers. "In 2017 I wanted to start with a blank slate and re think what my music will sound like...now I'm making the records that I've always loved listening to". With an accumulated audience of over 500,000, Nathan Smart begun his musical career in 2011 posting cover videos on YouTube before delving into production and writing in 2014. In addition to his musical prowess, Nathan also has a meticulous eye for crafting music videos, directing his own clips, including his recent single You Ain't Got Me which was praised for it's sharp and dazzling light design. "When I'm making a beat or writing a song, I'm always visualising in my head how it will look on screen. There's some really cool ideas for Jailhouse that we're working on, I'm extremely excited to bring this song to life".
With each release further solidifying Nathan Smart's place in the Melbourne music scene, there's no sign of slowing down for this young pop powerhouse. "I lose track of time when I'm in the studio because I enjoy it so much. Nothing compares to the feeling I get when I put out a song after months of hard work so that people can finally listen to it".
Jailhouse is available everywhere.
Question: How would you describe your music?
Nathan Smart: It's constantly evolving, which makes it really hard to corner into a specific category. I think that's what's great about pop music in 2018, the landscape is so diverse and music fans are really open to artists taking risks and trying out new sounds. Right now, my tracks take on some hip-hop and trap elements in the song writing and production, but ultimately there's no go to formula that I use when putting together a song, I just try and make something that I (and hopefully others) will enjoy listening to.
Question: What's it like being compared to artists like Flume and Troye Sivan?
Nathan Smart: Flume and Troye Sivan are both such inspirational and successful Australian musicians, I'm a massive fan of what they're doing. To be held in the same light as those guys is unreal; I really hope that one day my music can have as much of an impact as theirs does.
Question: What motivated the song, Jailhouse?
Nathan Smart: The idea for the song was sparked by a broken friendship. I had a best friend who I was really close with, and out of nowhere he suddenly stopped putting in any effort or time which really hurt. Despite him moving on and our friendship pretty much being over, I wasn't ready/didn't want to let go. It was this experience that inspired the concept of the song, and I think it's something that a lot of people will really relate to.
Question: What motivates you most when writing music?
Nathan Smart: First of all, I just love music, so striving to make something that I would enjoy if a friend played it for me is a huge motivation. Getting to that point isn't so easy though. It takes hundreds of bad ideas to finally land on a good one, but when I finally do it's so exciting. The atmosphere in the studio when we were writing Jailhouse was crazy. I knew we were onto something really special and have such fond memories of that day. Every time I write new music I try to make more moments like that.
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Nathan Smart: I'm a big pop and hip-hop fan! At the moment I love Tove Styrke's new EP Sway and Tinashé's Joyride album. Some other artists that I have on repeat are Post Malone, CXLOE, and Sigrid, to name a few.
Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Nathan Smart: My first real run in with music was when I got cast in a theatre production of Oliver at nine years old. I'd always been a creative kid, but it was doing this this show and performing in front of an audience that really sparked an interest in singing. Ultimately even now, music is something I do because I love it. I don't think I ever sat down and made a decision to pursue it, I just love the whole process, and if one day I'm able to turn that into a career that would be amazing.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Nathan Smart: I think I would gel really well with someone like Khalid. Our style shares a lot of similarities, so a collaboration between us would be a super fun project. Aside from that, Beyonce, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj are my absolute idols, so it's my dream to get on a track with those women - that would be phenomenal.
Question: What inspired your passion for song writing and producing?
Nathan Smart: As a broke teenager you're kind of on your own if you want to start recording original music - that stuff can be super expensive. So over the years I picked up knowledge by collaborating with other musicians and from online tutorials, which gave me enough to start putting together my own tracks. I'm really glad I learnt how to do it all myself because it allows me to make songs whenever I feel inspired, and I don't need to rely on someone else to translate my ideas into music.
Question: What's next, for you?
Nathan Smart: It's been fantastic to finally share Jailhouse, and I'm currently working on more new tracks to release very soon! I have no idea where this is all going to take me, but for now I'm just enjoying the process of making music, so hopefully some people out there will enjoy listening to it.
Interview by Brooke Hunter