The boldest thing a musician can do is to open up and reveal their emotions with their music, therefore creating an even deeper connection with their listeners.
Quinn XCII does exactly that on his beautiful stripped-back new single “Second Time Around.” The personal piano ballad shows us a new side to the fun-loving performer and explores the idea of self-love. The heartwarming lyrics are bound to resonate with people worldwide, especially in a world where we often look to music as therapeutic and a solace.
He delved into life in lockdown, his hopes for the future, and of course his forthcoming album out on July 10th (which is available for pre-order now) in our exclusive interview.
Can you tell us the inspiration behind your new single “Second Time Around?” Self-forgiveness and self-love really inspired this song. I’ve always struggled with being too hard on myself in terms of forgiving the mistakes I’ve made in the past, so I felt releasing a record that represented the idea of giving yourself the permission to move on from the past, especially amidst everything going on in the world today, was something important to do.
Is embracing your vulnerability as an artist something you’ve always been comfortable with, or have you grown into it over time? I feel like I’ve definitely grown into it over time. Truthfully, most of the courage I have to speak on certain matters that I do solely stems from the loving outreach of my fans and the messages they send me. I don’t think I’d be able to be vulnerable if it wasn’t for how open they’ve been with me in sharing the battles they go through in life.
Your new album is called “A Letter To My Younger Self.” What is the one piece of advice would you give to your younger self, if possible? For me, the biggest piece of advice I would give is to not take things too seriously. High school, while it’s a formative experience and can shape who we become, is in its essence just a chapter of our greater story as humans here on earth. I think we beat ourselves up about missed opportunities or mistakes we’ve made at that point of our lives but fail to realize that there is much more life to be lived past high school. It’s just hard to see that when you’re in the thick of things.
You’ve described the record as your favorite body of work yet, on Twitter. What can fans expect from the album? Fans can expect a well-rounded body of work that I think really tells a story. There’s something about nostalgia that I’ve always been a sucker for, so making this project was something I was eager to nail down the second the concept came to mind. I think fans will enjoy not only the lyrical aspect but also the soundscape of this project and the world it creates.
How has it been undertaking the album campaign under lockdown measures – like filming the “Coffee” video over Zoom? This is clearly a time of great confusion and distress and I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been a challenge to stay focused on promoting this album. What I try and remind myself of is that the world, now more than ever, needs art. It needs creative voices speaking up and sharing their gifts with the world for the better of the planet. Simply put, it needs more love. So, while making music videos or doing campaign interviews has been unusual, I stay motivated knowing that what I’m doing is intended to impact the lives of others for the better.
If you could have only had one album to listen to during the quarantine period, what would you have picked and why? Swimming by Mac Miller or Con Todo El Mundo by Khruangbin. Both these albums really give me peace.
You have been very vocal on the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and how you have been inspired by Black musicians. How important is it for you to be able to use your voice for important issues? It’s very important. The older I get and the more of this industry I experience, I realize that our responsibility as artists is not always just to release “art,” but rather use our platforms to better society, to spread awareness of issues. I’m continually growing as a person and educating myself on worldly matters so there are definitely times where I don’t know exactly what to say, but I do know that staying silent is the last thing I should be doing. The Black Lives Matter movement is a movement of great persistence and effort, and I truly feel a responsibility, especially as a white man, to share its mission with family, friends, and colleagues of mine who may not be aware.
Amidst all the craziness of this year, what do you do to switch off and take care of yourself mentally? Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of spiritual work on myself. Meditating, reading, enjoying nature. Basically, slowing down my usual habitual self and really enjoying life at a more relaxed pace (with Netflix & Hulu peppered in every once in a while).
What can fans do to support the music industry at this crucial time? I feel like the music industry is not really what needs help. It’s a lucrative industry that will survive. I think fans should be aware of the artists involved in the industry, particularly the less educated artists who get plucked out of inner cities for their talents and have a contract slapped down in front of them to sign without any real insight of its details and are completely taken advantage of. I’m not really sure how a fan can help that situation, but I’d like for more people to be aware of how common that scenario is. It ties in quite well with the current racial injustice in America and stems from that problem.
Fast forward to 2030. What do you have hoped to achieve by then? By 2030, I really just hope I’m healthy, a dad, a husband, and a more grounded human being. If I can still be touring and releasing music that’d be amazing, but I mainly just want to be happy with the core essentials that having a family can provide. I hope we live in a world by then that has evolved in many ways.