NewTracks New Artist: Watson

NewTracks New Artist: Watson

Elementary, of course. It’s not about alcohol at all but rather a metaphor for toxic human infatuations. Stephen Watson was born in Scotland but spent his growing up years in the Waikato, and for the past two years has been making new music in Auckland. His second pop single release under the simplified moniker of Watson is called Alcoholic Love and it has earned him (and producer Ambian aka Josh Edmonds) a spot on the NZ On Air‘s NewTracks compilation this September.

What other projects might we know you from? When did the Watson brand take hold?

I starting out doing vocals in an indie pop band called El Jay Hall. We competed in Smokefree Rockquest and grew from there. After taking out the best song award in 2015 for our single Lights On we released it with the help of NZ On Air with quick success, scoring just over 270k views! We scored ourselves a place on Parachute’s Artist Development programme and started working Ambian (Josh Edmonds). Quickly formed a friendship and slowly started making music together in his lounge. We would write everything from EDM to pop ballads and from there Watson was born.

Has your music changed much from your beginnings in songwriting to where it is right now?

Over that year or so my songwriting has definitely evolved. I’ve always had a heavy focus on melodies but over that time I definitely focused on lyrics and getting the right words to convey the emotion I’m trying to express. And more recently I’ve been working with great artists such as Omega Levine and Mikey Dam who have also helped take my songwriting skills to the next level.

What makes Alcoholic Love stand out for you as a single?

Alcoholic Love stood out as a single probably as me and Ambian made the first demo. The melody in the chorus just came to us instantly and the rest fell into place.

What is the story behind Alcoholic Love?

Simply put, Alcoholic Love is about a toxic relationship that I knew was wrong but I was so caught up and addicted to this girl that I let myself get hurt in the process. Using alcohol as a constant metaphor through the whole song to represent a girl who is poisonous but addicting, but being well aware of this, I continued to not give her up.

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

Easily my favourite part of Alcoholic Love is the outro and the way that came together. Ambian and I were originally going to have a very standard structure for the song and have a drop after each chorus, but nothing sat quite right. I think it was Josh who suggested that instead of having a drop, we should just have a killer outro like the Blink 182 song Feeling This  (a song we both grew up on and love dearly). After that the whole thing fell into place perfectly and brought a whole new life to the song.

Got a fun story about the making-of?

It’s quite funny to me that a song written, recorded and produced in Ambian’s lounge, by just the two of us, is playing on radio stations and in people’s playlists. It’s awesome to me that we’re now in an age of music that some kid in his bedroom, with a laptop, could create the next summer number 1.

Describe in one sentence what you want listeners to take away from this song.

I definitely want listeners to have a sense of relatability to the song, but at the same time I simply just want them to blast it through their car speakers on their way to work, and just sing their hearts out.

In general, how do you work out what song would make a good single?

For me, I think a catchy melody is the most important thing for picking a single. I believe you should be able to listen to a single once and be able to hum along the second time through. So usually when I pick a single, naturally I go with the one that’s always stuck in my head.

Any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for?

Definitely looking to release a few more singles before the end of the year, and potentially looking at an EP midway through next year, so look out for that. Been working with some awesome producers such as Ambian and Rory Noble so I’m very excited to show everyone what we’ve been working on.

Can you tell us three other local tunes that should be on a playlist alongside your song?

So hard to pick just three NZ has some awesome talent that I encourage all New Zealanders to get behind. I guess at the moment I’ve been thrashing these local tunes:

Sonder – Mikey Dam
ConscienceLA Women
FoolLee Mvtthews

How can we find you on social media?