A lot of great artists over the years have gotten their start from humble beginnings. Many of them, in fact, found their first big hits while collaborating with other artists at song writing workshops or sessions at the studio. Arkansas artist Sean Essary is on his way to join those legends with his hit new single “Dangerous“. It’s a song about not wanting to leave a relationship, despite knowing that you should. He came up with ‘Dangerous’ while taking Ryan Tedder’s song writing workshop. Ryan is the front-man for the band One Republic and one of the most sought-after producers in the music industry today.
The song is a mid-tempo banger, influenced by trap beats and 80’s synths. “Dangerous” captures infectious melodies and grooves that compel listeners to move their bodies. But it is set against lyrics with a deeper meaning that will make listeners ponder about their own lives. Although the song is definitely about the beat, the message in it is also relatable and engaging. Hence, people can just have a good time dancing and grooving to it while they’re driving down the road, but also feel the emotional core and honesty in it.
The artist said: “I’m drawn to the juxtaposition of heart-breaking lyrics and upbeat rhythms. Effectively, my goal is to make people cry while dancing”.
Though Essary’s roots are in Bluegrass, the kind of music he’s creating today sits more in the lanes of Pop and EDM. He’s experimenting with 80s electronic Synth Pop and its fusion with other genres. He loves how those sounds create a ‘sonic warmth and a commercial crispness’ for the listener. He’s a big fan of the low end bass that’s all over modern pop music, especially artists like Dua Lipa. He’s also a fan of 80’s synths and big power ballad melodies. He makes music that he likes listening to, so it’s a combination of those genres, making his sound to be modern pop with a retro flare.
His 80’s pop influences include Journey and Toto. He grew up listening to Bluegrass so Alison Krauss, Union Station and Nickel Creek were mainstays in his musical diet. He also likes listening to the production and catchy melodies from modern pop artists like Charlie Puth and John Mayer, and said that ‘Dangerous’ was influenced by listening to Dua Lipa.
Describing his sound, he said: “I just like something a bit more rhythmic; the warm-sounding synths and the big drum sounds combined with strong melodies over the top. I want to make music people can relate to and groove to but I’m not trying to just create a party song that you can dance to and then forget it. I want to create songs that you take with you long after you hear it”.
Listening to music is his biggest motivator for writing songs. Hearing music he enjoys gets him hyped up to start creating. He then opens up Ableton and plays a few chords on a synth or starts a beat and gets something going, then lays down a top line melody. Usually by that point, he has a good idea of what he wants the song to be about so he writes the hook, which serves as the thesis for the rest of the song.
Essary is completely self-produced. It’s true bedroom pop, which is becoming the norm for major labels nowadays. He likes to add layers to the song and make it more complicated, but recently he has been trying to scale things back and only include what is absolutely necessary. He has been trying to figure out how to incorporate a slide guitar into pop music and thinks he might have finally pulled it off.
He would love to collaborate with someone like Olivia Rodrigo; someone who’s extremely talented vocally, that his production can accentuate. George’s Majestic Lounge in Northwest Arkansas is his favourite place to perform because the energy there is phenomenal. It’s a small venue but it feels like a big deal because it’s very well put together, the sound is well-mixed and it’s a ton of fun playing or attending a show there.
Social media is a crucial platform for him. It allows him to have a much bigger and more personal reach than otherwise possible. Any independent has to be active on social media because it’s the best way for people to get to know them, that way they’re not just another artist that popped up on their playlist. He’s thankful for all the fans who support him on his social media and listen to his music. He hopes they stay tuned because he has many more singles planned for the future, including a vibey pop song called “The Way We’re Feeling” coming by the end of this year.