Music, Emotions, and Perspective: A Conversation with GOLDN
With all of the talent nestled in Los Angeles and the music industry in general, there are faces we scroll past, songs we skip, and so much we are in turn missing. A large part of what we do at The Plug Society is to give a platform for these artists and give them the recognition they deserve, and there are not many as deserving as GOLDN who easily makes that list. GOLDN brings an entirely new sound to the genre-benders of the Los Angeles scene, every new release carrying something a little different, but giving its listener the room to dig deep into the box of nostalgia they have buried or confront a feeling that they forget existed with a new set of eyes and an opportunity for growth. His vulnerability is astounding, honorable, and a large part of how we know that he will soon have a number of his goals in the industry and more in the palm of his hands. Read all about our conversation with him below!
A lot of music just dropped recently, what are you tuning into?
This morning I was listening to ASTROWORLD since that just came out, and I went through Scorpion probably like three times in a row because I’m a huge Drake fan. He’s really running the game.
I also like jumping back and discovering new music, as well as listening to something that inspired me at one point in my life. It’s almost like time travel. I’ve been listening to A Lesson in Romantics by Mayday Parade because it’s a really amazing record, and I just revisited Chance’s Coloring Book, so yeah I’ve been bouncing around.
Now, who are some of your musical influences in general?
I grew up on a lot of punk bands, so Mayday was a big influence growing up, and I actually grew up in a worship community where the music is all about the feeling, so I’ve definitely been all about the feeling since day one. Hillsong was a big inspiration to me as a kid, and then growing up the first rappers I got into were Lil Wayne and T. Pain. And now, I really look up to Drake in a lot of ways not only because of his music but what he’s done to build a compound with writers and other artists under him. I think it’d be really amazing to do something similar someday.
Who does your dream tour line-up consist of?
I have to open up for Rihanna, that’s one of my goals – and to tour with her would be fucking amazing. I’d love to play Coachella too and eventually headline, I visualize it all of the time.
But my dream tour line up to play would be with Travis Scott and Kendrick Lamar, both crazy performers.
In terms of watching, I really want to see Billie Eilish perform, I’ve never actually seen her play before. I love how she’s just herself up there. It’d be dope to see her and maybe even play with her one day.
Tell me a little more about your motivation to be a “rockstar of emotions.” What exactly does this call for you to be/do?
I feel like the worst thing to have happen in life would for us to be completely numbed out and not feel anything. Pain hurts, but the reason I write my songs out of a very vulnerable place is to deal with the pain and feel it because once you open up that realm of emotions, you can feel both the highest of highs and lowest of lows. When I say “rockstar of emotions,” I really want to be known for just being able to write and sing about real experiences like heartbreak because I feel like that will help people to be free.
Growing up in the worship community, it’s always been about writing songs that make you feel something, so I just want to make people feel every emotion and leave my concerts being like, “Holy shit, that was a spiritual experience – I danced, I laughed, I cried…”
There are essentially a handful of things this industry is lacking, but what would you say the greatest missing piece(s) is at the moment?
That’s hard because I’m always someone who tries to not look at the negatives. It’s such an exciting time for us because anyone can come up in the game from streaming even though it was once looked down upon. I think streaming is a beautiful thing because it gives young, upcoming artists a chance to have a voice and really get seen.
I think the one thing we might be missing in the industry is the real coolness behind not having to sell a sad life. Even though my music is emotional and I sing about sad things, my goal is to inspire my audience to find themselves, and the only way you can do that is to truly try everything. I want to create a safe environment where everyone can try things and be whoever they want to be.
There is also a fair amount of self-doubt that comes with the label of an artist. If you too have those moments, what helps to see you through them?
I think people get a little caught in the label, and it sucks because there’s so many sides to everyone, and when you’re labeled you feel like you can’t grow out of it. I believe we’re supposed to change, and we’re supposed to grow, and we’re supposed to evolve, and it is a scary thing because even in your own friend circle people will want you to be predictable.
I think one thing that keeps me sane is the fact that I like to meditate. It keeps me grounded through hearing other people’s opinions about me because I get to know myself. Your self-confidence shouldn’t be based off of anyone else’s opinions of you, you just have to know who you are and what you want to be perceived as to other people.
What is your ideal space for creation?
I like creating in all different spaces, but the biggest thing for me is the group of people that I’m creating with. I think there’s power in teams, and one of the writers/producers I work with is my roommate [Sean] who has worked with a number of big artists and it’s really cool to see us both growing and doing big things together.
Any place you’re able to create from is solid as long as the right energy is in the room and you are comfortable with the people that you’re around. I think getting outside of the studio is also important because if you’re always locked up in a dark room it’s hard to really pull from the outside, so we’ll often go out into nature and take those ideas and bring them into the studio.
Now let’s talk about a true rollercoaster of emotions, once upon a star, Pt. 1. How does this project speak to you, your own personal growth, and the music that you are creating?
It’s really amazing to see the reaction from it because the storyline was written in the time span of when I was experiencing everything. “Break It” was written when I met this girl, and “Love Me Blind” was written when I was saying screw everyone’s advice, I’m just going to go for it anyway because I felt a drawing towards that girl. And as you’ll start to see in the upcoming chapters, it’s me getting my heart broken and going through that part of life. It was me writing it through those relationships instead of going back in time, and it’s cool to see me not only progress in the story, but also as progress as a writer and as a vocalist.
I think I’ve definitely grown a lot through it, and you can definitely hear it.
Do you have a favorite song from the project?
I’ve been really rocking with “Love Me Blind,” but I switch back and forth as the days go. During the day I’ll listen to “Break It,” whereas “Love Me Blind” is more of a night-riding song-type vibe.
What does the rest of the year look like for you?
Once I get moved into my new place, we go right into rehearsals for some showcases in LA because I love performing live. That’s my other favorite place to be for sure, with writing being my first. Hopefully we’ll hop on a tour by the end of the year, and then the next release will be in October, and the whole project drops in November.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?
Just enjoy life. Enjoy the ups and downs.
Something I say to myself is “It’s the best day of your life,” and it doesn’t always mean that the best things in the world have happened that day, but through the contrast is how we find happiness in life. Something I’m learning is to be just as happy about those days because without the bad ones, we wouldn’t know what to call a good day. And without heartbreak, we wouldn’t know what to call true love.