Premiere: Charlie Hickey Explores Insecurity and Authenticity on “This Was Not Meant for You to See”

Charlie Hickey © Caitlan Hickey

I’ve got a disease and I’m not sure if you’ll like it

We are all multi-dimensional creatures; there are inherently good and not-so-good aspects within each of us, a balance that rounds us out, gives us our individuality, and ultimately makes us human. On the most part, we strive to control and shape our image as best we can – though there are undoubtedly moments where we slip up, and the not-so-good shines through. Los Angeles singer/songwriter Charlie Hickey’s latest single “This Was Not Meant for You to See” is a creative, intimate and honest song about insecurities, confidence, and accepting ourselves for who we are.

this was not meant for you to see
this twitching part of me
I was not finished setting myself up,
not finished picking up the pieces of the broken cup
“This Was Not Meant For You To See” – Charlie Hickey

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “This Was Not Meant For You To See,” the latest single from Los Angeles singer/songwriter Charlie Hickey. Mesmerizing stacks of harmonies flow organically out in a passionate, ever-driving fury. A past-paced percussive beat replicates a heightened heart’s pulse, reflecting the anxiety in Hickey’s lyrics as sparse instrumentation gives the song plenty of air and a vibrant color.

Restlessness and urgency course through “This Was Not Meant For You To See” as Hickey attempts to cover up a moment of shame or lost pride:

This Was Not Meant For You To See - Charlie Hickey

This Was Not Meant For You To See – Charlie Hickey

This was not meant for you to see
I’m wearing two different socks
and my heart’s on my sleeve

my hair is a mess and my heart’s set on you
I put it there now it’s burning through your skin
Burning what might’ve been

“I literally picked the title This Was Not Meant For You To See out of a hat for a songwriting exercise in a songwriting class at my high school,” notes Hickey, 17. “… It just became a song about my constant anxiety, about how I’m appearing to the people around me. For me, the title ended up reflecting how when I say or do something stupid or inauthentic, this version of myself comes out that I never meant for anyone to see. I have a lot of social anxiety and I’m always trying to figure out how to accept that people will see what they see in me and to try not to think about it too much.”

Charlie Hickey © Caitlan Hickey

Charlie Hickey © Caitlan Hickey

I’ve got a disease, I’m not sure if you’ll like it
please excuse my dear interruption of me

Hickey’s sincerity shines through on his achingly bittersweet chorus, where he refers to and apologizes for his “disease.” Confidence is a learned trait – a quality we develop individually and over time – and within these hypnotic harmonies, we feel the pain of a teenager who is slowly coming of age into his own identity. A warm, stirring acoustic rhythm guitar heralds change in the song’s pre-chorus, as both tempo and rhythm slow down in a brilliant display of musicality. Hickey’s chorus stands out from the verse on so many levels, echoing the influence of classic rock/pop like The Beatles and The Grateful Dead, while highlighting the song’s underlying emotional and psychological elements.

Charlie Hickey © Caitlan Hickey

Charlie Hickey © Caitlan Hickey

this was not meant for you to see
i don’t know how to tie this knot in me
I would ask you to help me out
but i’m way too old and i’m way too proud
this was not meant for you to see
pacing between words nervously
clown makeup running down
meeting the fallen jokes on the ground
you see, it’s not what I meant to be

Hickey collaborated with producer Tony Berg, who helped him realize the song’s full vision: “We recorded a guitar and vocal track of the song and pretty soon, he had taken all the guitar out of the verses and we started building it from the ground up around the vocals using synths and drum machines he had lying around. We did about 16 tracks of vocal layering, too. It was a blast! Tony is an absolute genius and I really connect with his desire to make things sound modern and unfamiliar while staying in touch with the song… I’m really excited for people to hear it!”

Charlie Hickey is clearly well beyond his years, a promising upstart songwriter with fantastic connections and a bright, promising future. But why overshadow today with tomorrow? “This Was Not Meant For You To See” captures anxiety in its rawest, most vulnerable form, inviting listeners to connect to their own insecurities and work through whatever struggles they face.

Just remember, it’s okay to be imperfect. Within each of us is the balance of two sides; everyone knows it. We all carry regrets and we all bear misgivings: It’s how you deal with your problems, right your wrongs, and learn from your mistakes that really makes you who you are, and at the end of the day, that is the person people will see: The most authentic, genuine version of you.

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Charlie Hickey © Caitlan Hickey

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cover © Caitlan Hickey

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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