Trenton’s moving new song “Answers” aches with the stress of insecurity and the struggle of learning to exist with uncertainty – the gray matter in-between black and white.
Stream: “Answers” – Trenton
When I look out on the horizon,
so vast and endless,
why does it feel like a mirror?
Like a reflection of
what’s always been?
In my body. In my chest.
What happens when we
leave this place? Is it dark? Is it light?
Do the particles of who we are
become like one? Am I losing myself?
Maybe that’s the point…
Two years ago, we had the pleasure of welcoming Trenton’s seasonal anthem “In the Summer Light” into the world. Over the past two years, the indie pop project of Nashville singer/songwriter Ryan Courtney has maintained an active release schedule, with his Promised Land EP dropping in October 2017 and sundry singles littering the interim period between then and now. A perfectionist persona forever looking to capture the fullness of a moment, Trenton’s moving new song “Answers” aches with the stress of insecurity and the struggle of learning to exist with uncertainty – the gray matter in-between black and white.
I was born unafraid
intricate and joyful I was made
When the fear found us
It stripped away the the wonder in our bones
Am I bitter?
Am I better than I was before?
Can I make sense of these closing doors?
Is it too late?
Is the future etched in stone?
Life is seldom if ever black-and-white, despite our strong natural inclination to label and box things into clean-cut areas of understanding. Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Trenton’s “Answers,” the artist’s second single of 2019 following last month’s dynamic “Not the Road.” A soothing track dealing with a necessary coexistence with uncertainty, doubt, and clouded lines, “Answers” is the reckoning of a soul searching for security and peace of mind.
A song with as strong and important message as this bears special weight; quite fittingly, “Answers” took the artist a considerable amount of time to get right: “This song was accidentally two years in the making,” Trenton tells Atwood Magazine. “I’d work on it. Find myself over thinking everything. Step away for a couple of months. Come back. Work, re-work. Step away again… I didn’t want to screw it up.”
“It felt like it could actually be an important song,” he continues. “Not for the charts or anything like that, but a song that potentially wanted to say something beyond my own ego and insecurities. A song that could maybe help heal or comfort another person. Turns out that person was me. I was learning (and am still learning) to accept uncertainty. It’s human nature to want black and white truths about the grand scope of life. But for me there’s been freedom in surrendering to the unknown. It’s a strange paradox. This song explores that a little bit.”
I was learning (and am still learning) to accept uncertainty.
“Answers” may be Trenton’s self-help guide toward acceptance, but it’s so much more than that. As the song hits its chorus, Trenton offers all of us a way forward in life – a tool through which we might come to appreciate how we deal with hardship, and how to let things go:
I don’t have the answers
Sometimes the world comes undone
(Coming undone, it’s coming undone)
I Thought that I was stronger
But I can’t do this on my own
(Not on your own, you’re not on your own)
In reviewing Trenton’s work two years ago, Atwood described the artist’s “impressive, emotionally brilliant instrumentals” with “a hint of U2, The Killers, Glass Animals, Neon Trees, and more – yet to liken him to any one of these bands alone would be a massive disservice to his artistry.” In the time since then, he’s continued slowly carving out a niche for himself – honing in on a sound that allows his expressive singing voice to shine, alongside the mesh of guitars, keyboards, and drums that can so often prove tricky for artists looking to stand out.
“In the last two years I’ve learned to be okay with how different the process can be between each song and to respect that process,” Trenton states. “Sometimes a song almost seems to write itself in 15 minutes and the production falls into place in a matter of days… Other times, I need to be patient, pull a Leonard Cohen and let years pass for a song to properly unfold the way it’s meant to. Otherwise you can damage the art. There are plenty of songs I’ve released in the past that deep down I know I didn’t quite do justice because of my impatience. Listeners might not be able to tell the difference right off the bat, but I can tell… I’ve learned how important it is to remain true to yourself with any kind of art you’re making I enjoy the process of creating music significantly less whenever I lose sight of that.”
“I think I’ve grown quite a bit as a producer in the last few years. I’ve had the opportunity to produce for other artists and in that I’ve been able to further dial in the sounds and vibe that make my production unique to me. I still have a lot to learn and plenty of room to grow, but knowing that makes me excited for the future.”
Standing on the mountain’s crest of green
Jumping with a parachute you cannot see
Desire burning and burning
Here am I yearning and turning
to a cheapened disguise
I want to be free, I want to be light
But you’re gone and I can’t breathe
Trenton’s music is honest and raw – a fitting reflection for why he makes what he makes, and why he does what he does. “Answers” may be his own coming-to-terms with the fact that he’ll never have all the answers to the questions racking his brain, and for his community of listeners it will serve as a similar guiding light.
“I want to make beautiful music that has the potential to make a positive and profound impact on a many people as possible in my lifetime,” the artist explains. “I want to put songs out into the world that hopefully encourage people to look inward; to maybe know themselves a little bit better through a connection to a song. Music has this rare ability to help you appreciate the beauty that’s right in front of you. Or at least it has for me. I want to contribute to that and enjoy the process while I’m here.”
Music has this rare ability to help you appreciate the beauty that’s right in front of you.
What simple, stunning sentiment. What a blissful, plain truth. “Answers” shows Trenton to be as thoughtful as he is expressive – a singer/songwriter looking to make meaningful art that will do as much for others as it will for himself. Stream the new song exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and make sure Trenton is on your radar.
No, you won’t have all the answers in life – and that’s ok.
Stream: “Answers” – Trenton
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📸 © Ry Cox