For an aspiring artist, tapping into the forces of social media seems like a no-brainer. In today’s digital age, we’ve been taught
Live for Today
Santa Barbara-based singer-songwriter Conner Cherland may have an answer. While he does have a social media presence, a lot of his milestones have been reached thanks to his own grassroots efforts.
Cherland began writing songs back in 2016. Following in the footsteps of Ed Sheeran, he challenged himself to write 40 songs in six months. From there, he took the best six songs and put them in an EP. People liked what Cherland put out. So, he continued with that same process.
Instead of following along with social media trends, Cherland
“Generous offers happen a lot more frequently when I’m out in the real world, and people see my personality,” Cherland tells The Burn-In.
Play that Funky Music
While Cherland isn’t working too hard on his “Instagram smolder,” he is diligent when it comes to his music. “Toad Boy! And Other Related Parables” is Cherland’s fourth EP and is filled with a folk/blues/alternative rock medley of beautifully written tracks.
“I wrote ‘Toad Boy’ as another way for me to be silly because sometimes I take myself way too seriously. A good cure for that is to go into writing a song with a silly attitude,” Cherland said. “That’s my goal—is to have a good time.”
As Cherland goes on to explain, his subconscious took over throughout the songwriting process, turning the whole thing into a toad metaphor. “It holds a lot of the emotions I feel,” he says. “It’s fun and melancholy at the same time somehow. And I think that I’m both of those things. It matched really well with what I was going through. So, I started building out this EP based on whatever songs fit in within the morals of stuff I’ve learned in the music industry. Hard lessons I’ve learned within the last couple of years.”
End of the Line
“The last song is called ‘Men Do Whatever They Want,’ which is a song that I wrote after reading ‘Animal Farm,’” Cherland says. “After that, I read ‘1984.’ Between that, and personal experiences, I knew I wanted to write a song about this very tragic thing that happens with people in power; specifically, grown adult men.”
Cherland thought that releasing “Toad Boy” on the opposite side of “Men Do Whatever They Want” would make for a cool contrast. In between, he’s got songs such as “Let My Body Be,” “Sides,” “If You Want It” (out on October 25), and “Bootlickin Betty” (out on November 8). Each song is penned with thought-provoking lyrics and paired with catchy beats seemingly crafted for the intelligent music listener.
While Cherland channels his energy into creating meaningful songs—and a lot of them—he says that keeping the pace of an album a year might be a bit too much in the future. “I think at the start of your career is the time to work the hardest. So, I’ll probably stick to this grind for a while,” he explained. As he pondered what next year’s album might look like, should he stick to his timing, he came to the conclusion that a Christmas album is up next. “I don’t know how I feel about that,” he laughed. “I’m interested in it. I do have one Christmas song about
Try a Little Tenderness
As Cherland works hard to hone his style and solidify who he is as a writer, he questions whether or not he even wants to stick with the genre he’s in now. “I would like to continue developing relationships with other musicians and songwriters,” the artist described as his long-term goal. It’s the idea of collaborating with others and growing as a singer-songwriter that excites him most about this journey.
He envisions that, in the future, he’ll be traveling around, playing to crowds of people who came out specifically to hear his music. Does that mean he’ll have to give up his grassroots ways and move to leverage the many digital platforms to his advantage?
While he’s not opposed to growing his social media presence, Cherland understands that real human interaction is the best way to achieve any goal. It comes down to working hard, being kind, and of course, making good music.
Get a listen of Conner Cherland on Spotify here.
Published on The Burn-In.