BLÜ EYES new single, Just Life, is out now! We chat to the musician about her music and more.
Image: Brittany Berggren
LA-based singer/songwriter BLÜ EYES recently released her new single, Just Life. The song marks the musicians fifth release of the year. Co-written with Jonny Shorr and Haley Joelle, tells a story of fights between friends that feel like actual breakups.
Split in two parts, the song navigates the different avenues of a relationship breakdown, looking at a relationship breakup and also the end of a friendship, likening it to a romantic relationship break up.
The songwriter, and producer songs uncover the beauty in the broken. Her soaring melodies, coupled with her intimate, soul-bearing lyrics, have captivated listeners all over the globe. With releases on labels like Armada, Hexagon, AVA, and many more, her songs have garnered the endorsement of radio shows like A State of Trance and Beats Radio 1. Following her substantial success with top lining tracks in the dance world, this year BLÜ EYES has come into her own - releasing several self-produced singles that portray not just who she is as a vocalist, but who she is as an artist. These singles are all part of her highly anticipated debut album, coming next year.
Just Life is out now! Read our full interview with BLÜ EYES below!
Tell us a bit about how your musical journey began…
I grew up in a super musical family, singing Christmas carols around the neighborhood every year, hearing my dad and his brothers sing Beatles songs in four-part harmony every time we all got together, making up silly songs around the house, all that. So music was just this very natural extension of my self-expression. I took piano lessons when I was young, and then started picking up the guitar when I was about 12, but I think I can safely say that I was writing songs before I ever really learned an instrument. It was just something that came easily to me, for whatever reason. So once I did start getting proficient with piano and guitar, songs came pouring out, and there was no turning back from there.
How did you land on the pseudonym ‘BLÜ EYES’ for this musical project?
It was quite honestly the only name I came up with that I actually liked, haha, but I also think that it matches the music I aim to make very well. I think if “the eyes are the window to the soul” and your soul is your deepest inner truth, then theoretically by looking into someone’s eyes (including your own), you would be able to see all of the complexities of their inner truth that even they can’t find a way to express with their own words. This project to me is about digging deep into revealing whatever that current inner truth is for me, even if it’s not pretty. There is just as much beauty in the things that cause us sadness as there is in the things that cause us joy, and I want my music to reflect that. My eyes are blue, so that’s where that comes from. I also have always loved the color blue and the kind of emotions that it makes me think of - sadness, sorrow, but also peace and freedom.
Congratulations on new the single!
Just Life conceptually navigates a breakup and also the end of a friendship, likening it to a relationship break up. What drove you to explore these themes?
Thank you! The second verse touches on that, yes. The first verse talks about my very first romantic breakup, and how it felt like the end of the world. The second verse is about how when you get older, you can experience those same emotions, but the situation looks a little different. Everything about this song is 100% biographical, taken from personal experience. I have learned something valuable about myself through every single painful experience I’ve gone through, and this song is an ode to that.
The song is very relatable and conversational. How important was it for you to make the lyrics as open and relatable as possible, even though you’re writing from your own life experiences?
I wrote this song with my good friends Jonny Shorr and Haley Joelle, and what you’re hearing with the relatable/conversational quality is all because of them. Whenever I write with Jonny, he’s always able to take something I’ve gone through that’s 100% personal and (in my own mind) extremely complicated, and simplify it in a way that so many people can relate to it, while still maintaining the merit of the details. This song was my first time writing with Haley (she has since become a dear friend), but she was also very focused on making sure the song came through conversational and relatable. This song would absolutely not exist without both of them. In the end though, it was ultimately most important to me that the lyrics reflected my own personal experience. The three of us re-wrote the 2nd verse probably like 6 or 7 times to get that perfect balance of personal detail and relatability.
How do you feel your music speaks to listeners, and what messages do you hope listeners take away from Just Life?
I’ve heard a few people tell me that they can feel the honesty and emotion in my lyrics and my voice, and that’s truly all I could ever want. Whether everyone relates directly to it or not, if I am able to cause someone to experience even a fraction of the emotion that I’m expressing, that’s the dream for a songwriter. When people listen to Just Life, I hope that they walk away feeling less afraid to face challenges in their lives, and are able to more easily recognize how the painful experiences they’ve gone through have changed them for the better.
How has the evolution of sound throughout your career influenced your musical practice?
I’ve definitely shifted the focus of my practice to different things over the years. Lately, I’ve been really hard at work on building my voice, as well as honing my production skills, because at the moment those two skills are the ones I’m using the most. Before I was producing though I was definitely more into practicing guitar, which I’d honestly love to get back into more.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording songs?
Totally! So of course it varies with every song, but with this album, the process for almost all of the songs started out as a session with another person, occasionally 2 other people. We’d either write a first draft of the song, or in some cases just come up with a chord progression or a vibe we thought was cool. Then, after the session, I’d usually mess with whatever we had started on my own, usually sitting in my studio with my mic, tracking melody ideas, sketching out a topline, or just editing lyrics we had written in the session. Once I felt good about what I had come up with on my own, I’d send it back to my collaborator(s) and get their thoughts. Sometimes they’d have notes or new ideas, sometimes not, but once we both felt great about the overall structure and lyrical content, we started moving into fleshing out the production. With the songs that I was the lead producer on, I often would go for a long morning walk and listen to the demo a few times on my phone, thinking about arrangement ideas in between listens. Then, when I got back to my studio, I’d just start dropping in sounds and throwing every idea I had into the mix to see if it worked. Usually fleshing out an initial version of the track would take me a couple days, and then after that I’d track and edit final vocals, make final production tweaks and then send off to mix and master!
What has been the most challenging part about creating music during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I don’t know that I have any gripes about this…for me it hasn’t really been challenging, it’s just been different. In all honesty, the pandemic is what has allowed me to really take the time to focus on my own artist project and not get sucked in to spending tons of time writing songs that don’t go anywhere. I suppose I am lucky to have done the majority of those initial writing sessions before everything shut down - if I hadn’t it definitely would have been challenging starting totally from scratch in isolation I think - but in the end I think quarantine has just given me permission to be precious and patient about everything I create, which is something I’ve never really been great at before.
Can fans expect an album or EP in the near future? If so, what can we expect in terms of the sonic sound of your future full-length release?
Yes! An album is coming early next year. The sonic vibe is a soft warm canvas on which my life story of the last year is painted in a conversational, brutally honest lyrical fashion.
The current pandemic has obviously put a half to touring and performing live. Do you have any post-pandemic touring plans?
Not yet, but I would love to tour at some point! Once it is safe of course.
What can audiences expect from one of your live show?
No idea yet, haha. I imagine it will be a chill yet cathartic live show once we get it together.
Sasha Sloan, Maggie Rogers, the 1975.
Taylor Swift or Ryan Tedder…or both.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
In relatively recent times, either Saves the Worldby MUNA or Heard it In a Past Life- Maggie Rogers.
Best song of 2020?
Lie- Sasha Sloan.
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
Oooh….Hunger Games maybe??
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
The best/most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
I played the Troubadour a couple years ago and it was unREAL.
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Ruston Kelly - Dying Star.
Best concert you have been to?
Probably MUNA back when they played the Echo.
Last concert you went to?
I thiiiiink it was a showcase at Hotel Cafe.
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
Guilty music pleasure?
Taylor Swift? Idk if that’s really a guilty pleasure haha but I’ve always loved her.
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry?
Hahaha - Taylor.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, a year from now?
Don’t forget that life isn’t about success or failure, it’s about finding peace and joy in little moments with the people you love.
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
When I watched a bunch of my peers do a showcase in college and thought “hang on. I could do that.”