A candid, cathartic, and compassionate confessional, Joshua Crumbly’s seductive “steps” (ft. Samora Pinderhughes) is a beautiful reminder that there is light even in our darkest moments, and that if we always take things one day at a time, we’ll get to wherever it is we need to be.
“steps” – Joshua Crumbly ft. Samora Pinderhughes
I think this song is like a cloudy day that gets brighter and brighter… Especially, when one can realize the beauty within a clouded time – that flicker of light can turn into the shining sun before you know it.
There is beauty in our brooding – and “steps” is nothing, if not full of brooding.
Joshua Crumbly’s magnificently moody first single of the year feels all-too appropriate for January’s winds-of-change mentality: For at its core, “steps” (featuring Samora Pinderhughes) is a kind of new year’s resolution; a promise and (re)commitment to the self, with the desire to shed old baggage and make a fresh start.
“Maybe today is the day that I start again,” Pinderhughes muses over evocative keyboard and bass work, his soft voice an ethereal whisper on Crumbly’s jazz-soaked winds. “Maybe today is the day I won’t let my fears win.” Shivers shoot down the spine as the two artists embark on a soul-stirring, achingly intimate journey of vulnerability and introspection: A candid, cathartic, and compassionate confessional, “steps” is a beautiful reminder that there is light even in our darkest moments, and that if we always take things one day at a time, we’ll get to wherever it is we need to be.
Maybe today is the day that I start again
Maybe today is the day I won’t let my fears win
10 steps every day, they say it makes a way
I guess I’ll never find out
if I don’t try… don’t try
I dove into the deep end,
and I found its waters are good
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “steps,” the second single off Joshua Crumbly’s forthcoming EP, P.S (out February 8, 2023 via Switch Hit Records). Featuring renowned multi-disciplinary artist and activist Samora Pinderhughes on vocals, “steps” is a gentle, intoxicating sonic seduction dwelling in the depths of self-reflection.
At times an inner reckoning, at other points a heartfelt confessional, “steps” looks inward in an attempt to move forward in life. Employing bold, urgent bass guitar licks (for which he is known), smoldering synth pads, and an hypnotic array of drum machine patterns, Crumbly crafts a breathtaking soundscape into which we, his audience, fall headfirst.
Pinderhughes’ tender, hushed vocals are the perfect accompaniment to Crumbly’s hair-raising instrumental work – his nuanced, subtle singing acts as both an anchor and a lightning rod of emotion, filling the air with feeling and imploring us to turn inward and look within ourselves, as we, too, contemplate who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow. Simply longing for a change is not enough, but Crumbly and Pinderhughes set their sights on betterment – and even if they wind up taking two steps forward and one step back, that’s still a net positive at the end of the day.
Maybe I just can’t swim
when I feel like I ain’t shit
I don’t know, maybe I’m placing
something where the self-loathing stood
Whatever it is – I’m ready for the changes
For Joshua Crumbly, this song is ultimately a beacon of light.
“I think this song is like a cloudy day that gets brighter and brighter,” Crumbly tells Atwood Magazine. “Especially, when one can realize the beauty within a clouded time – that flicker of light can turn into the shining sun before you know it.”
“I’m so happy that this is the first song that me and Samora, whom I consider a brother and musical soulmate, have released together. We met when we were both 17 and every note we’ve ever played together has been super meaningful. I think our intentions behind the ‘notes’ align in a most special way; we appreciate a subtlety in each other that is often overlooked by others. To come together now, as two solo artists, is such a beautiful thing that I’m very grateful for. This collaboration is such a long time coming, and all that time spent developing our artistry is reflected in the music. I hope to pass along good feelings with this song.”
This is a song about taking a moment to acknowledge that life can be a process, that it can take time to find your way. And that’s ok.
“steps” follows last November’s radiant, uplifting instrumental “Morning” as the second single taken off Crumbly’s forthcoming record, P.S. The new four-track EP is Crumbly’s first work since 2021’s sophomore album ForEver, which Atwood Magazine praised as “an intimate and hopeful album that shines a light not only on the potential and possibilities of the bass guitar, but also on our own humanity.”
In addition to Pinderhughes’ appearance on “steps,” the new EP features collaborations from members of Swedish Pop band Little Dragon as well as composer and pianist Michael Rocketship.
“I was thinking of the stages of life and the experiences within it, even the stages of a day itself,” Joshua says of the inspiration behind his new EP. “Most beginnings tend to be so youthful and innocent, but we can become so easily weighed down by the journey. I’ve come to realize that each and every stage is a beautiful one in its own way, but I find that getting back to a youthful outlook – taking steps to get back to the beginning – may be the way to enjoy things the most.”
The final lines of “steps,” which also serve as the final lyrics on the EP, are indicative of this hopeful, optimistic outlook:
So let me stay in this moment (now)
Just let me stay in this moment
Maybe I’m afraid of what comes next
Maybe I’m afraid of what gets left
Maybe I’m afraid of what comes next
Maybe I might get left behind?
Maybe I don’t want to give up what is mine?
Relish the moment and soak it up for all its worth while you’re in it, but know that every moment is fleeting and temporary: Another one is coming faster than you think. Despite all those stated insecurities and uncertainties, fears and trepidations, “steps” surges onward – basking in the now while looking ahead toward new horizons, new possibilities, and new tomorrows.
While this song is brooding – and beautifully so – Joshua Crumbly and Samora Pinderhughes leave us not in a state of sorrow, but rather in a haze of dreamy, wondrous reverie.
Stream “steps” exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and be sure to pick up your copy of Joshua Crumbly’s P.S. upon its release on February 8!
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Stream: “steps” – Joshua Crumbly ft. Samora Pinderhughes
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