15 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Conrad Sewell has been through a lot in the six years since upending his life in Australia and moving to LA to forge his career. It’s been far from easy for the Brisbane-born songwriter. “I’d go into these sessions and try to write happy pop songs,” he tells Apple Music, “but then I realised that I’m not f**king happy. So I stopped trying to write that perfect pop song. It just sparked some truth in me and my music.” His debut album, LIFE, is an account of just that: the pain, joy, love, heartbreak and struggles that Sewell has experienced along his personal journey. He talks Apple Music through a few of the ingredients he used to make this album.

Drugs and alcohol
“Whether I was using at the time and writing while I was f**ked up, or trying to stay off it, it all brought some of these songs around. I wrote ‘Come Clean’ when I was trying to get sober for the girl I was seeing. I was struggling with drinking so much that it became the backbone of the album; all I was thinking about was trying not to drink. Writing ‘Love Me Anyway’ and ‘Healing Hands’ was the start of the real, brutal honesty. It made it real. Instead of me just bottling it up, I had to look at it and ask myself: Why am I constantly thinking about this? Where is this coming from? Writing was therapeutic because it helped me realise so much about myself.”

Collaborators
“Jamie Hartman, Stuart Crichton, Wrabel and the others I co-wrote and produced the songs with were absolutely huge backbones behind the album. They dragged the lyrics and emotions out of me and helped me tell the story. Wrabel is one of the artists on ‘Healing Hands’, and he’s sober himself. Everything I was going through, he had been through as well, and that really helped. And I wrote ‘Turn of the Knife’ the minute I found out that this girl had left me. I broke down in tears; it was the worst day ever. I just couldn’t handle seeing how happy she was and how over it she was. I went straight to the studio, and my guys pulled that song out of me in a couple hours.”

Ego and insecurities
“I’m very insecure, but I also have a massive ego. Balancing the two made me able to write songs that are cocky but also unapologetically honest and vulnerable. ‘City of Angels’ is about moving to California and wanting to be the biggest f**king rock star in the world, getting pulled into the scene and doing blow and getting caught up in what everyone else thinks of me. I lost myself.”

Good people
“The company you keep is so important in life. Living in LA, it’s so easy to get caught up with people who don’t really give a f**k about you. The minute you’re not the cool, new thing that’s popping, they’ll drop you like a sack of potatoes. I think keeping good people around me was why I was able to look at myself. The support of family and friends, the people that are my crew, my tribe, the real people who stick by me, through it all. They care about my health and happiness more than they care about making money off me or the music I’m making.”

Haters
“My journey so far is why this album came about. All the struggles, the hurdles I’ve had to jump through in this industry, lit a fire in me and made me hungry. I wouldn’t have been able to make this album without the haters and all the people who said no along the way.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Conrad Sewell has been through a lot in the six years since upending his life in Australia and moving to LA to forge his career. It’s been far from easy for the Brisbane-born songwriter. “I’d go into these sessions and try to write happy pop songs,” he tells Apple Music, “but then I realised that I’m not f**king happy. So I stopped trying to write that perfect pop song. It just sparked some truth in me and my music.” His debut album, LIFE, is an account of just that: the pain, joy, love, heartbreak and struggles that Sewell has experienced along his personal journey. He talks Apple Music through a few of the ingredients he used to make this album.

Drugs and alcohol
“Whether I was using at the time and writing while I was f**ked up, or trying to stay off it, it all brought some of these songs around. I wrote ‘Come Clean’ when I was trying to get sober for the girl I was seeing. I was struggling with drinking so much that it became the backbone of the album; all I was thinking about was trying not to drink. Writing ‘Love Me Anyway’ and ‘Healing Hands’ was the start of the real, brutal honesty. It made it real. Instead of me just bottling it up, I had to look at it and ask myself: Why am I constantly thinking about this? Where is this coming from? Writing was therapeutic because it helped me realise so much about myself.”

Collaborators
“Jamie Hartman, Stuart Crichton, Wrabel and the others I co-wrote and produced the songs with were absolutely huge backbones behind the album. They dragged the lyrics and emotions out of me and helped me tell the story. Wrabel is one of the artists on ‘Healing Hands’, and he’s sober himself. Everything I was going through, he had been through as well, and that really helped. And I wrote ‘Turn of the Knife’ the minute I found out that this girl had left me. I broke down in tears; it was the worst day ever. I just couldn’t handle seeing how happy she was and how over it she was. I went straight to the studio, and my guys pulled that song out of me in a couple hours.”

Ego and insecurities
“I’m very insecure, but I also have a massive ego. Balancing the two made me able to write songs that are cocky but also unapologetically honest and vulnerable. ‘City of Angels’ is about moving to California and wanting to be the biggest f**king rock star in the world, getting pulled into the scene and doing blow and getting caught up in what everyone else thinks of me. I lost myself.”

Good people
“The company you keep is so important in life. Living in LA, it’s so easy to get caught up with people who don’t really give a f**k about you. The minute you’re not the cool, new thing that’s popping, they’ll drop you like a sack of potatoes. I think keeping good people around me was why I was able to look at myself. The support of family and friends, the people that are my crew, my tribe, the real people who stick by me, through it all. They care about my health and happiness more than they care about making money off me or the music I’m making.”

Haters
“My journey so far is why this album came about. All the struggles, the hurdles I’ve had to jump through in this industry, lit a fire in me and made me hungry. I wouldn’t have been able to make this album without the haters and all the people who said no along the way.”

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