Teenage songwriter Aidan Fine shows just the kind of confidence you might expect of someone born in Florida and raised in Johannesburg. Wanting to enter Rockquest last year he put together a band called Aidan and the Fines. Wanting to release songs and videos under his own name he grabbed his laptop and cellphone and got on with the job. Early days yet, but his chilled-out single Day By Day was good enough to be included in NZ On Air Music‘s NewTracks compilation in May.
My name is Aidan Spencer Fine. I was born in Florida, raised in Johannesburg and I’m now a proud Aucklander. Since I’m kinda bad at the piano, I’d say my instrument is my voice and my laptop.
I took music in high school, and although it didn’t add much to my skills as a songwriter, it definitely got me used to being around instruments and the people who play them. It also gave me some experience performing my songs with a live band instead of a DJ, which I really enjoy. At the moment, I’m in my first year of a songwriting degree at Auckland University, which I’m learning a lot from.
Last year, I really wanted to enter in Rockquest so I started a band called Aidan and the Fines, and we had a lot of fun doing that. It was cool to throw in some rap music among all the rock stuff. I’ve only been in Auckland for a few months, so I’m still working on becoming a more active collaborator. Everyone here is so cool. As far as my solo work goes, I’ve released one song a month so far this year (like Ivy and Hey Mama), so perhaps you might know one of those if you follow me on Spotify.
I wrote Day By Day in the same way as I write most of my songs. I start producing the beat, usually getting some inspiration from another song or a loop, and I try to get that done as fast as possible so I can start writing. It took me maybe 10 minutes to get the production of Day By Day down, honestly, just because if I take any longer I’ll lose the inspiration to write! I then spent the next six or so hours writing, recording, mixing and mastering the song, and then it was done. My best ideas are usually finished in one sitting.
Firstly, let me just say thank God that they have evolved. One thing that beginner songwriters can take comfort in is that I don’t think anyone’s first song is good, and it just takes some time to get all the bad stuff out before things start getting any good. I’m still in the process of ironing out some major creases in my songwriting process, which really excites me. Back when I first started writing, I used to think that every song was amazing, but revisiting my earliest ideas has taught me that I knew nothing back then, so who’s to say I know anything now?
One really big highlight for me has been all the love I’ve been getting on my Spotify page. I set some streaming goals for this year which I’ve already almost reached, and we’re only half way to 2021, so I’m really happy about that.
When I first listened back to Day By Day in the car I realised how easy it was to listen to. In the past, I’ve made songs that require attentive listening to appreciate the song, but in this case, I think it’s just nice to listen to. Yes, it has an important message to me, but even if you don’t listen to the lyrics, I think it can still be enjoyed.
Everyone’s had to ask God, or the universe, or whatever they believe in; “Why is this happening to me?”. One day you could be totally fine, and the next, things are terrible. That’s the nature of life, and this song is me expressing that realisation in my own life. Things aren’t meant to be great all the time, and if you expect them to be you’re going to be disappointed. So, I realised that instead of having expectations for things to work out, just take things one day at a time, because while it’s true that the good times won’t last forever, the same truth applies to the bad times.
“And God told me, what’s your reason? Why you feeling beaten? Don’t I make the grass green in the right season?”
I wrote, recorded and produced the song on my own. So far, that’s how all my songs have been made. It was just me alone in my bedroom in the middle of the day.
The only thing for certain in life is that eventually, things will go wrong. This might sound pessimistic to you, but it’s not. It’s actually an empowering sentiment, because by letting go of your expectations you ironically gain control over your life.
I’m not working on an album at the moment, so technically every song I make is a single. When it comes to deciding whether or not to release the song at all, I usually just go with my gut. I usually know as soon as I’ve finished recording. I’m always working on new music – I have a song coming out next month that I feel is my best yet.
So far, I’ve handled all of that myself, but I’m constantly being given great advice from some really awesome people. They know who they are.
Whitney by Shiraz & LSJ, Wassup by Raiza Biza and Beyond by choicevaughan and Tom Scott.
This is the first time I’ve sent anything through for NewTracks, but I’ve been working at getting exposure for a long time – so I guess my advice would be to keep pushing.
I learnt everything I know about music from the internet, so there’s a lot that I could suggest. Lately, I’ve been enjoying podcasts by Switched on Pop.
I’m @AidanFine everywhere:
I make all the videos myself, it’s a lot of fun.
Thanks so much for having me on here, I’m honoured.
New Tracks is a compilation of new music from New Zealand artists which is distributed to broadcast and online platforms on the first of each month. Previously the Kiwi Hit Disc, New Tracks is one of the ways that New Zealand on Air promotes kiwi music to the industry, radio, streaming services, and media. To apply for New Tracks you must have a completed, airplay-ready song and a promotional plan.