The newcomer gets candid on his new EP “Don’t Wait”, and dealing with success at a young age.
At 17, exams and universities took up the majority of our concerns, but not for burgeoning singer-songwriter Denis Coleman. With 100k+ monthly listeners on Spotify and a support slot alongside HRVY on his upcoming UK tour, the 17-year-old singer is making huge waves in the industry. With his debut single hitting 1.5 million streams and counting, the singer has dropped his long-awaiting EP “Don’t Wait” today and we’re impressed. Filled with catchy pop melodies and building choruses, the singer weaves in his teenage experiences between oscillating synths and shimmering dance-pop breaks.
Speaking on the EP release, Coleman revealed, “The EP was truly born out of turbulence, the world was changing, life was different and everything was uncertain. I wanted ‘Don’t Wait’ to be that little voice of passion that persists, that continues to hope, to fantasise and to create — despite the doubts surrounding us.
Spending the next year working with Miley Cyrus’ and Shawn Mendes’ songwriter Ali Tamposi, we sat down with the newcomer talking dealing with fame at a young age, the creative process and what he’s looking forward to in 2021.
Check out the interview below…
Hi Denis – how have you been during this uncertain time? How has it impacted your music and creativity?
It has certainly been a big change, and at first I was afraid that it would put my entire life on pause. While it certainly represented a substantial challenge, I’ve actually found that I’ve become more creative than ever since lockdown. Lockdown has also inspired to me to write about new topics like social media-induced feelings of loneliness and procrastination, both things which I have experienced in the past few months.
Where did you grow up and how did it influence you sonically? Who are your musical heroes?
I grew up in a small town in New Jersey (the little state next to New York). I was homeschooled. I definitely think that the freedom of those early years away from the city has given me a willingness to experiment in my music. When I moved to London aged 6, the change was monumental, and I am now firmly a city-person. I love the vibe of London, its excitement and multiculturalism, and try to bring out a sense of diversity and energy in my music as well. I have many musical heroes, but above all I admire the vocal prowess of Marvin Gaye, the sonic perfection of The Weeknd and the masterful and honest songwriting of Conan Gray.
How would you describe your genre?
80s inspired modern Pop, with a raw Hip Hop energy and lyrical depth.
Congratulations on your new EP “Don’t Wait” – what was it inspired by?
Thank you! The EP was truly born out of turbulence, the world was changing, life was different and everything was uncertain. I wanted Don’t Wait to be that little voice of passion that persists, that continues to hope, to fantasise and to create — despite the doubts surrounding us.
What ties it together as a body of work?
Each song is connected sonically, and there is a gradual flow over the course of the EP from warm, synthesised 80s pads towards a harsher, colder and instrumental-based pop sounds. The EP also moves around a full circle rhythmically, beginning and ending with a fast-paced, persistent groove.
And it’s got your unreleased single “Magpie” – what is it about?
Magpie is a song with many levels. Firstly, it explores toxic masculinity through the metaphor of the magpie, a British bird fabled to collect shiny objects. The song tackles some of the pitfalls of modern relationships such as the objectification of romantic partners, how people are reduced to a name in the dm’s or in this case, a piece of foil in the nest. However, it also explores our human desire for the attention of the people that deep down we know are not good for us, the poisonous “bitter fruits of love” that lure us into damaging relationships which leave us feeling unfulfilled and hollow. On an even more subliminal level, Magpie is about the culture of the music industry, how it casually pushes pretty faces towards stardom and then tosses them aside just as easily. Of course, it also addresses the insatiable desire of those faces for the respect and admiration of the industry at any cost.
And you will be supporting HRVY on his UK tour – how did this come about?
I first met HRVY when I was on tour with the Vamps the spring before last. We spoke a lot during that tour and really connected, and so I was thrilled when I was offered the opportunity to support him!
Are you excited to perform live after the stillness of this year?
I am beyond excited. Performing live is my passion and I truly miss the euphoria of running on stage, the smell of dry ice and most of all the connection with my fans.
You’re only 17 – how do you think this has been a challenge and helped you?
Being 17, I’m almost always the youngest in the room. Sometimes I am underestimated or boxed into a stereotype due to my age. However, it’s also meant that I’m able to bring a fresh perspective into sessions and truly connect with a lot of young fans. I think younger people feel more comfortable talking to me about the challenges they face as we are both kind of experiencing them at the same time.
What’s the most unusual place you pull inspiration from?
The most unusual place is probably my sense of smell. Sometimes I walk outside in the evening, and I sense the gentle fragrance of damp leaves and fresh wind, and I am transported back to another time. This often triggers the memory of a specific emotion which I then transform into a lyric or melody.
What do you want fans to take from your music?
The key thing that I want fans to take away is that someone is listening. I want them to hear my music and feel like they are not alone. So many people today feel completely isolated and music is something that we all share, that can bring us together. While I’m certainly focused on experimenting and entertaining, my number one goal is to write a song that makes you feel understood, that makes it all ok.
What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to in 2021?
2021 is going to be a huge year. I’m incredibly excited about joining HRVY on his tour and will be performing my own headline tour later in the year. There will also be lots of new music and a second EP! Thank you so much for having me.