September 5th, 2018
Dolly Ave - Stuck in the Clouds (feat. Appleby & Elias Abid)
What better day to release new music then on my 23rd birthday!
Dolly Ave is one of the first artists I ever worked with after moving to Chicago. At the time I was working on my very first release as a solo artist, Inscribe, a 5 song EP that featured Dolly other Kansas City artists like Le$ Paul and Rylie Brown. Dolly and I actually started working on a duo project called Pastelle a couple years after that we weren't able to quite get off the ground but we've always had a great creative understanding and friendship.
Like a lot songs that I've worked on these past few years, "Stuck in the Clouds" was written, recorded, mixed and mastered out of our home studio. The beautiful thing with living with creatives is that theres always potential for collaboration. All it really takes is for someone to step out of their room and hear something they think they can contribute. Appleby happened to be at the crib the day she came by - it's that simple!
I invited Dolly to come by the apartment just to see the new space and say hello but it naturally led to us riffing some ideas together. "Stuck in the Clouds" started with the guitar melody that you hear at the beginning of the song. From that point I knew that I wanted to keep the idea simple and organic. Dolly and Appleby were going back and forth on different verse melodies, getting the first few lyrics solidified. The song was living it's own life so I stepped away to let it breathe. I walked towards the back porch window (that you see in at the end of the music video) and began humming a melody and writing the lyrics that later developed into the chorus:
Fast forward several months (maybe even a year?) I was in California on vacation with my family. By this time I had released "Wayside," Dolly had released "Birds" and Appleby had released Happiness. It had been awhile since we last spoke as Dolly had moved to LA and I'm admittedly pretty bad at keeping up with people. Dolly texted me congratulating me on the release which led to an impromptu photoshoot the following day and a conversation reintroducing "Stuck in the Clouds." After returning to Chicago and speaking with Appleby, we all agreed that she should release the song - her voice was what drove it! She Immediately started planning the release mentioning that she wanted to create a music video..
With a crew of 15 mainly ex-Columbia College Chicago students led by director Justin Leyba, our living room turned into a full fledged film studio. The majority of the day was spent setting up the scene itself by covering our walls and windows by huge sheets of bright yellow paper and getting a light attached to the ceiling (ask Justin for details). Aside from being talent in the video, Appleby and I were in charge of feeding everyone during our 7 hour shoot day. We're talking bagels, pizza, string cheese, water. All the goods.
Despite it being my first ever music video, I was excited by the energy in the air. Everyone had their role and knew it well. After several run-throughs of the single shot music video, we finally landed on a take that we all agreed was the one.
Even though the song was created in a matter of hours, it took over a year to share it. What's difficult about working in a creative field is that you're initially working off instinct and inspiration which is often impulsive and spontaneous. Keeping the energy of a song alive can sometimes mean being patient and not rushing it's release for the sake of avoiding maybe a fleeting sense of accomplishment. The best ideas don't have expiration dates. It's better if you wait a little while, let the wind take you home.