Photo: Working Holiday

Knox

Nashville's next big thing talks the resurgence of "Sneakers," tour with Nightly, and new EP 'I'm So Good At Being Alone?'

During a previous conversation with Nashville-based pop-punk singer Knox just three months ago, the up-and-comer was humble and gushing over his inclusion on “Backwards,” a pop duet with fellow rising star Alexa Cappelli. His viral moment for breakout hit “Sneakers” had seemingly died down, but, unbeknownst to most, he had a few more tricks up his sleeve.

Just days after that conversation, he released “Not The 1975,” a well-executed and well-timed pop banger paying homage to British band The 1975 that has garnered radio play and was played over the speakers during a recent Denver Broncos game. The tune makes major gains daily, currently sitting at just under five million streams, and, in turn, has drawn attention back to older songs like “Sneakers” and “I Don’t Wanna Know.” Great minds, seemingly, do in fact think alike, as both parties confidently compared its accessibility and overall long-withstanding pop appeal to a song like WALK THE MOON’s “Shut Up And Dance.”

This past week, he hit the road as opening act for fellow Nashville-based act Nightly, and his new EP I’m So Good At Being Alone? Is out now. The tour is, arguably, the hottest ticket in the alt-pop scene right now and is a major career milestone for both acts.

A New Life for How To Lose A Girl In 7 Songs and “Sneakers” 

“I feel like a little kid on Christmas,” said Knox, itching to get back onstage having had minimal opportunities to play his EP How To Lose A Girl In 7 Songs since its release this past February. “This is going to be the first time that I get to properly be on the road and singing songs that I know people know. Even though we’re putting out another seven-song EP now, I still don’t feel like How To Lose A Girl has had its proper moment.”

“Last year was when I was having my viral moment,” he said, on the first wave of success for “Sneakers.” “Those things are kind of scary… it’s like, ‘Ok, do you actually have a fanbase or do you have one song?’ The fact that now, over the last year… it’s cool to see that we’ve actually built something off of that one song. I think people are starting to connect with me as an artist and songwriter instead of just connecting to songs.”

“Even on How To Lose A Girl, I thought ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’ and ‘NYC’ were going to be the ones,” he said, expanding on the “Sneakers” phenomenon. “Then, we have songs like ‘Not The 1975’ and ‘Love Letter’ that, I think, are objectively better songs.” However he feels about it, the hook of “Sneakers” is irrefutable: “I don’t really need to see what’s under that t-shirt / I could, but I gotta f*** with me first / Girl, you know you hotter than a fever, fever / But I don’t wanna run around with sneakers, sneakers.”

Tour With Nightly

While “Sneakers” is living its second life, “Not The 1975” continues to reach new ears, as do “We’re Not In Love Anymore” with rocker Charlotte Sands and “Man Down,” both of which are included on the EP. With that, it seems that the stakes for the tour with Nightly, who are promoting their new record wear your heart out on their biggest headline run yet, grow higher and higher by the day, but Knox remains level-headed.

“It never feels as big as it probably is,” he said candidly, despite admitting to needing security at a recent The Band CAMINO show. “Maybe one day it can get to that point, but to me, it never feels as big when you’re in it. I’m just waking up and going to work every day. My job just happens to be singing these songs and making music.”

Breakdown of I’m So Good At Being Alone? 

His new EP, I’m So Good At Being Alone? Is out now. Fighting for attention against established tunes like “Not The 1975” and “We’re Not In Love Anymore,” the latter of which sees him go toe to toe with Sands’ grit and intensity, is no easy task, but new songs “Nevermind” and “Miss When You Miss Me” come out swinging.

“Nevermind,” the secret weapon of the project, is as contemporary and groovy as they come and shows Knox coming to terms with letting go of a one-sided love. He is often coy about his robust technique and natural skill as a vocalist, but efficiently unleashes his richness and power in the chorus: “I tried to give you my heart, but you treated it like it was garbage / So, nevermind /I know, you were never really mine.” In the second verse, he simply repeats lines from the opening section of the song but adds a tasteful top harmony to add flavor. It works wonders and kicks the groove up further. “But it turns out meeting you is exhausting / And I’m starting to… / Lose, while I’m actin like I’m… / Glued, to the mattress / Baby, I’m stupid and dramatic but I don’t know what to do.”

“Miss When You Miss Me” features Nightly. Both Knox and Jon Capeci are certainly known for their vocal strength, but can also perform with the kind of tenderness that makes lyrics focusing on paranoia and heartbreak feel like a knife slowly dragging along the skin.

This song meets in the middle, with both creatives highlighting their uncanny similarities and building upon their individual approaches to lyric patterns and cadences. Knox kicks off the first verse, singing, “Then I saw you out with your friends / It was 2 a.m. / You were falling into him just like we used to / I think this is the part that I haven’t gotten used to.” Capeci follows up in verse two: “I don’t know why, but it didn’t hit me till you stopped hitting me up / Leave it to me to not feel a thing till I’m not the thing you want.”

The title track “I’m So Good At Being Alone” closes out the record. The title of the project is phrased as a question while the title track is delivered as a statement, indicating a phase of personal reconciliation. These songs led him through his journey… from the initial hit (“Man Down”), the realization (“Love Letter”), and moving on (“We’re Not In Love Anymore” and “I’m So Good…”).“The first record was about losing someone,” he said. “This one is the process of getting over that.”

“We’re getting up there and showing y’all what we can do” 

Though Knox’s name will be secondary on the marquee on this tour, he is, at this point in time, on a career-changing run. And he is treating it like one. “We’re doing a lot more playing than we are talking,” he said, confident that his set will be an essential part of the show. “We’ll be on for about 45-50 minutes. We’re getting up there and showing y’all what we can do… people can talk to me after at the merch table.”

Knox’s recent success has made him a magnet for prospective artists looking for their own breakthrough. His advice, and attitude toward his own creative output, are nothing short of what an industry veteran could provide: “When other aspiring artists come up to me and say something they’re doing isn’t working, it’s like… maybe just get back in the studio and create more songs,” he said. “Eventually you’re going to get that ONE. I don’t have TikTok figured out at all. I have writing songs and making music figured out. I just want the music to be the center of attention, always.”

Stream I’m So Good At Being Alone? :