Peace Of Mind EP
On Peace of Mind, R&B singer-songwriter Hersh creates a vulnerable and compelling audio diary that details the highs and lows of the most transformative year of his life. After beginning his foray into music at age 15, he eventually taught himself to produce, mix, and master, and released a smattering of singles and even a short album (2020’s No Love Lost). Yet the Cape Town native, born Herschel Snyders, had been pursuing a semi-professional soccer career full-time until he broke his leg, forcing him to be bedridden right as South Africa entered its initial 2020 COVID-19 lockdown. “I basically had to do music, because I had to stay at home and I couldn't go anywhere,” he tells Apple Music. Pushed out of his comfort zone, he found himself using music as both therapy and escape—an experience which demanded a new level of honesty and vulnerability.
“Before the leg break and before COVID, I used to write music based on my experiences,” he explains, “but with this one I had to speak about things that had happened or things that I wanted to happen. I speak about love. I speak about opportunities, relationships, goals, things like that. And I think it was so much easier because I was in pain; I had to let some emotions out. So this body of work explains who I am, what I want, and how I felt at the time.” That journey led him to ink a deal with Sony Music, and deliver an emotive, future-tinged R&B EP that tackles the trials and triumphs he experienced along the way. Here, Hersh unpacks Peace of Mind, track by track.
“On My Mind” “‘On My Mind’ is where I take the listener and put them into my space and show them what I'm thinking. It speaks about my partner and I—every time I'm going to do something, she comes into my mind, because I need to work towards something that will cater for both of us. You see [it all] up front, you see my relationship. You see my frustrations.”
“Enough” “At this point, I'd basically had enough of where I was generally. I was in a tough space. This was before COVID came along, and this was even before I broke my leg. I was trying to figure out who I was, and trying to find myself as an artist. And it explains my frustrations from when I was an independent artist. I had to do everything on my own—from artwork to recording, mixing and mastering, making my own beat. I was like, ‘Something has to go in my favor, right now.’ You think it's such a nice song and it's such a feel-good, but in actual fact, it explains a lot of frustrations that I'd been having.”
“Bounce (uh oh)” (feat. Kashcpt) “With this track came a bit of confidence. I named it ‘Bounce’ because that was what the song made me feel: I felt bouncy. Kashcpt is on that as well. It made us feel the need to show people how confident [we are] and how we do things on this side of the world. People only hear about Joburg; Cape Town people don’t get heard. It's very tough for a Cape Town artist to be heard. In this track, we're showing what Cape Town is about. We're coming with that swag. We're coming with that confidence to show you that we're not messing around. ‘Bounce’ doesn't have a real meaning. It's about how the song made us feel.”
“Life With a Twist” (feat. Kashcpt) “This was where I thought to myself, ‘This is where people see how I perform as an artist.’ I'm trying to show them that there's no giving up now. This is do or die, and if it's not going to happen now, it's never going to happen. Maybe an outsider would say that there is no industry in Cape Town. Here, you literally have to fund yourself; you have to get you a nine-to-five job that correlates with your music career as well. So that's what I was doing before I signed with Sony. I used to deliver chronic medication, and I used that to fund my music. There's literally no time for you in Cape Town to work slowly or to work independently, because you have to do everything yourself. You have to put yourself in other people's faces all the time.”
“Toss & Turn” “This EP actually kept me up at night. This whole EP is about my career, trying to make this thing work, because I've been through so much, where there wasn't any belief [in me] before—from other influences, in terms of family. Being an artist in Cape Town really isn't the first career choice for someone. ‘Toss & Turn’ is a track where you know you’ve got to work. Sometimes you procrastinate and you will just be like, ‘Okay, I can't do this anymore and I have to go and sleep or something.’ And that's what I did. I literally went back to bed and I was like, ‘Nah, I don't have any inspiration, I don't have any energy right now. My leg is hurting.’ But this is what I need to do in order to create something beautiful. I need to go back and I need to finish this thing, because if I don't finish it, tomorrow morning I'll wake up and that melody, that balance in my head is gone. So I was thinking, ‘You need to be awake. You need to go and do it. You deserve sleepless nights. Just carry on doing what you doing, because it's going to be something beautiful.’”
“If I Could” “People tell me, ‘Bro, you work too hard. Take a break sometimes.’ And the answer is that I would if I could. There's no breaks here. If I could sleep, if I could take a break, if I could do anything else, I would—but I can't. I can't take a break; I'm almost at paradise. I'm almost at peace of mind. I'm almost happy with this. So I can't take a break right now. This is what I need to do—and that's what I did. I just kept on going. I probably mention the words ‘keep going, keep going, keep going’ in every song.”
“Take It” “This was me grabbing a huge opportunity. I've been creating this body of work to be released to the public, and then I’m being offered a huge deal by a major label. And at that point I was thinking about all factors that came into place: my age, my career, and what's going to help me. I'm thinking about all the resources that I don't have that could make me a great artist. That’s what most independent artists need. They need the resources, that push. If you don't have that push, you're going to have to do it yourself. You will have to get people to listen to your music, whereas with the machine behind you, it takes everything out of your court where you can only focus on the music. That's the main thing. I'm about to take this deal, and I'm about to elevate my career to the next step.”
“Moment Tonight” (feat. SoulfulClay) “At the time, I was in awe, thinking, ‘Man, is this really true? Am I really signed now to Sony?’ I made a track based on the moment. That night I was talking to SoulfulClay. SoulfulClay actually produced three tracks on this EP; I've worked a lot with him on this production. And we were saying, ‘Let's make a track to commemorate the moment that we just had. Let's take this deal and put it into a song.’”
“Everything” “That is where everything comes together. This is where you can hear that, ‘Man, this guy's actually happy.’ I'm happy with the artist I am. I'm happy with everything that is happening right now. And it just means that everything is at ease now. In the previous tracks, time wasn't on my side, I had to keep pushing and keep pushing, but at the end of the EP, I have all the time in the world now. From going from an artist with pain, from going to an artist with no social life, I'm actually healed up now and I'm at peace of mind. I was trying so hard to be [a certain type of] pop-style artist or something. But in actual fact, I was that already. I had to realize that you don't have to be different, you just have to be yourself. If being yourself makes you happy, then that is what's going to take you places.”