If you were to click on song credits for Bronze Avery's music, you would find only one name listed: "Bronze Avery" — performed by, written by and produced by. Perhaps that's why the Los Angeles artist's sound is so singular — a world he created all by himself that's polished and smooth, like your favorite pop songs, but packed with raw emotion like the best of R&B and indie rock. Lucky for us, Avery is finally releasing a full body of work, called SOFTMETAL, due out November 17, featuring singles "SAY GOODNIGHT" and "FIGURE IT OUT."
A new soundtrack for the queer experience, Avery's debut album promises to dig deeper into his own life story than ever before. "'SAY GOODNIGHT' was one the first indications I was going to begin making a cohesive project and not just a line of singles," he says of the track, with a melody that instantly hits. "It’s also one the first songs I teased from SOFTMETAL. It’s a great representation of my sound with a ton of energy in the drums, a deep baseline, dreamy keys and sensual harmonies to tie it all together."
Ahead of SOFTMETAL's arrival later this fall, PAPER asked Bronze Avery more about his "sensitive, emotional and reflective" material.
You’ve been releasing music for a while. Why are you ready to call this body of work your official "debut" album?
This is the first time I’ve put a strong effort into curating a cohesive selection of songs, rather than just singles as I go. My listeners have really wanted a project from me for a long time and I was always reluctant because I knew my sound wasn’t in a place to yet do it. After taking two years to reflect, I now know what I’m trying to say, how I want to say it and this body of work feels like the perfect declaration of me as a musician.
Being that it’s your debut, what do you hope SOFTMETAL says about you as an artist?
𝘚𝘖𝘍𝘛𝘔𝘌𝘛𝘈𝘓 really highlights my versatility in sound, my willingness to be vulnerable and my constant search for meaningful connections in my life. I’m not afraid to experiment or try new things, and I’m always going to find my way to put my dreamy and sensual stamp on art.
You’ve woven together so many different sounds. Does that genre mixing happen naturally?
The mixing of genre is absolutely unintentional. Growing up I was inspired by Utada, Nelly Furtado, Gwen Stefani, The Pussycat Dolls, Charli XCX and Fleetwood Mac. Those artists weren't afraid to say what they mean and not be bound by a singular musical identifier. I'm driven by vocal melody, so I let that lead me first and the instrumentation naturally follows. I don’t really follow trends and I usually look inward for sonic inspiration, which is why my music takes on a lot of different forms.
What do you think makes a successful pop chorus?
A great pop chorus glues all the other pieces of your song together. Sometimes it’s loud, other times demure, but you can always get a sense of the energy of the song through the chorus alone.
You say this album achieves a "newfound level of honesty." What did you have to go through personally and as a songwriter in order to be this transparent in your music?
For a long time I was writing music that sounded good, but wasn’t really telling my listeners anything about me. I wasn’t necessarily afraid to let people in, but I hadn’t learned how to turn very personal snippets of my life into something tangible. Making the HIDDEN PPL album, DON”T LET IT DIE, taught me how to write from my gut, not overthink things and how to create a sound based off musical habits. I would get in Logic and reach for the same airy synths, manipulate chords the same way each time and curate a catalog of go-to sounds that helped shape 𝘚𝘖𝘍𝘛𝘔𝘌𝘛𝘈𝘓as a whole.
In what ways do you think this album avoids or subverts queer stereotypes in music, if at all?
I actually didn’t avoid any queer stereotypes, or any stereotypes for that matter. It’s actually hard for me to pin down what a queer stereotype is because of how beautifully vast and differing the queer community is. If I had to place it, queer people have been pinned down to be flashy or overtly sexual by the mainstream, and snippets of that absolutely made its way onto SOFTMETAL. However, queer people can be also be sensitive, emotional and reflective. Those concepts also made its way onto SOFTMETALbecause they’re also a part of me, of us.
What did you learn from Charli XCX's endorsement? How did that change your perception of music-making or navigating the industry?
Being endorsed by someone you love is always an insanely validating experience. It reminded me that sometimes it’s great to meet your heroes. She also told me that being authentic isn’t about this false sense of showing everyone every aspect of your life, it’s about doing what feels right to your spirit and not being afraid to display it.
Visually, how does the cover art play into the larger themes surrounding SOFTMETAL?
I decided to play with the idea of a battle. I’m always a war with my emotions, yet brave enough to take them on. I wanted a cover that was simple, but had a courageous edge. The sword is purposely small, because I never like to fight, but I’m not afraid to show up when it’s time.
Photography: Justin Gilbert
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