The Tender Emotion and Poignant Closure of FRND’s “Be Happy”

There’s a certain intimacy about FRND’s latest release that hits home harder than most. “Be Happy” isn’t just the next in a series of viral streaming sensations: It’s a profoundly personal outpouring of emotion that cements FRND’s credibility as a true artist.

Tell me that you need me now
‘Cause in my dreams you’re still around
But you’ve been gone for quite some time
It finally feels like you’re not mine
Listen: “Be Happy” – FRND

“I had to dive deep within myself to write about a topic that is this vulnerable,” admits FRND of his new track. Released Friday, 4/28, “Be Happy” finds FRND (pronounced Friend) looking back on a past relationship through the wisdom of physical, emotional and temporal distance, and making peace with its outcome. It is not so much a product of time passing, but rather the end result of, and final step in a lengthy healing process. FRND’s words are poignant; the artist sings a haunting melody in an attempt to capture the fragile nature of this important, melancholy moment.

Will you remember me?
‘Cause I’ll remember you
You went out and found somebody new
and that still hurts
It’s taken everything inside my bones
to say these words
Even if it’s not with me
I just want you to be happy
Be Happy - FRND

Be Happy – FRND

All wounds eventually scar, leaving but a trace of the damage that once was. Before that can happen, however, FRND needs to say these words: “Be Happy” represents the last page in the final chapter of an unwritten story. “Be Happy” doesn’t shy away from the pain and injury inflicted – FRND is quite clear about the presence of those feelings, going so far as to confess to the difficulty of making the song itself.

Raw emotion is the deepest, most powerful iteration of a feeling. The expression of that raw emotion is equally powerful: FRND does those feelings justice, utilizing a range of instruments and dynamics to create something truly beautiful and unique. The acoustic guitar that serves as the song’s backbone is a change of pace for the electronic-heavy artist, and one that faithfully evokes FRND’s heartfelt sentiment.

Little is known about the person behind FRND; signed to Los Angeles-based boutique label Crooked Paintings, the artist’s bio says he is a “former Sousaphone enthusiast and native to one of the first American colonies,” but refuses to go beyond that. Atwood Magazine had the rare opportunity to dive a little deeper into the musical and emotional elements of “Be Happy” with FRND:

Watch: “Be Happy” – FRND

 

“Be Happy”

Atwood Magazine: I'd love to hear how you built this song up, and how it differs from your other tracks.

FRND: I started this song on guitar, which is different from how I’ve written other FRND songs. It started with the finger-picking riff on acoustic guitar, and the tone sounded sincere, so I wanted to write about a topic that had special meaning to me. I was going to make it all acoustic but as I began recording, I realized it might be interesting to add some of those electronic elements I love while maintaining the emotion of the lyric.

There's a certain emotional distance necessary in order to achieve the sort of depth you found in “Be Happy.” Can you speak to the emotions involved in this song?

FRND: I had to dive deep within myself to write about a topic that is this vulnerable. The song is about the acceptance of sadness, anger, and indignation, leading to finding your own happiness.

What is your favorite aspect of this song?

FRND: My favorite aspect is the lyric. It’s something I actually went through, so it is very real to me.

I was torn then I was numb
I needed you but you needed anyone
I was bad but now I’m well
I had to lose you to find myself
– FRND, “Be Happy

Be Happy - FRND still

Be Happy - FRND still

Can you discuss the significance of the koala in your work?

FRND: The koala represents our vulnerable and emotional side when experiencing events, relationships, and friendships. I also love koalas and wanted to have one represent this project and myself.

What is your own ultimate takeaway with “Be Happy”? What are you most proud of, and what excites you about this song?

FRND: This song has so much meaning to me because it is about acceptance. After going through an emotional journey after a relationship, you wake up one day and realize what is actually important for both of you. I’m most excited about this song because I feel like it’s an approach to a song that hasn’t been done before. I hope people can feel what I felt when writing it.

We may not know much about FRND, but we can connect to his emotions through his music. “Be Happy” is a delicate and tender work of art, the cathartic release of FRND’s most intimate thoughts and feelings. Its melody may be catchy and its warmth infectious, but it is the overwhelming honesty of “Be Happy” that takes the song – as well as FRND – to the next level.

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Be Happy - FRND

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cover: FRND © 2017

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FRND © 2017

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Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com