How do you usually write the lyrics of your songs?
They come in all kinds of ways! Sometimes the whole song comes in one sitting, other times I start with a musical lick, or a simple line… sometimes I write over a beat or sometimes at the piano or sometimes just the poetry comes and I put it to music later. So many ways!
In your opinion, what is the most important thing in songwriting?
Honesty. I think there is so much external pressure from artists to deliver a hit, to deliver something that the radio folks will like, to not alienate anyone. I think there’s a time and place for happy, approachable music, but I also think there’s a need for music that is polarizing. My opinions can be polarizing, so the most important thing for me is to stay true to my beliefs and what I’m trying to SAY in a song, even if it’s not always shiny, and happy, and pretty.
Are you ever scared of revealing aspects of your personal life/experience to strangers through your music?
No. It is my blessing and my curse that I am willing to share absolutely everything.
What is the best lyric that you ever wrote (the most meaningful for you)?
My song “How High” from my first EP is about catching up on love. I remember as a kid everyone had girlfriends and boyfriends and passed notes to their crushes, and during lunch all the kids would chit chat about who liked who. As a little queer kid I felt very left out of all of that. I just ignored/repressed my sexuality because I felt there was no space for me to be who I was at the time. It was like everyone was playing on a playground that I didn’t even know existed. Even today as a professional recording artist, I am still trying to understand what it means to be loved in that romantic way, and what it means to love in that way — it’s a theme that shows up in a lot of my music. So the lyric I would pull is, of course, a question: “Remember candy stores? Girlfriend’s hands that were all yours? Countless romances and middle school dances, a crazy advantage to advance the chances of love…. Is there affirmative action for love?”
What inspired “Lifting You”, part of your latest album “cynicism & sincerity”?
I realized that there were certain relationships that were asking so much of me. I was abandoning my own self-love to support those around me. Ultimately, this wasn’t good for me or for the other person.
For such a long time I allowed my own internal homophobia to invade my mind — I let myself become convinced from a young age that because I was gay I wasn’t allowed to have romantic love. I somehow felt ineligible. This was my blunder, my mistake. I’m working on creating more space for myself to love and be loved.
Do you remember the day you wrote “R U Mad”?
Yeah! Me and Dan were in the studio on a cold winter’s night!! It was snowing. We had the hook idea and started vibing on the verses, and cooked up the beat. That one actually came together for the most part in one session!! It was super inspirational!
What was the best moment of your career? And the most difficult one?
One of the best moments was playing Governor’s Ball in NYC last summer. It was my first big festival and it was a hometown show and I was able to have my full band there — singers, horns, everyone. The crowd was SO hype and it was a really special moment.
Most difficult? No one moment comes to mind — the daily emotional work I do to continue being my own biggest cheerleader is probably one of the hardest parts of the job.
What are your plans for 2018?
We just came back from a month of touring and supporting the EP at Bonnaroo, Chicago, LA. We have a bunch more dates coming up in NYC this summer and I also have more new music on deck! Stay tuned with me @mblumemusic
To conclude the interview a short Q/A session, please answer the first thing that comes to your mind:
- Define in one word your album “cynicism & sincerity”: Questioning
- The best show you ever played: Governor’s Ball
- The one thing that you must have in your backstage: Water
- The soundtrack of your childhood: Stevie Wonder, “Music of my Mind”
- Your favorite song lyrically speaking but not written by you: “As,” by Stevie Wonder
- Last question is unusual: we want to know your best relationship advice: “Relationships” are a construct that often work to uphold hetero-patriarchal ideas of romance, love, masculinity, and femininity. There are many ways to organize how and whom you love. Write your own story.