Embracing ‘What Happiness Is’: Indie Folk Trio Trousdale Shine on Truthful, Vulnerable, Optimistic Sophomore EP

Trousdale © Caity Krone
Trousdale © Caity Krone
California trio Trousdale dive into their sun-kissed and summery EP ‘What Happiness Is’, a buoyant and bold indie folk record soaked in pools of radiant harmony and intimate connection.
for fans of Joseph, Kacey Musgraves, The Staves, First Aid Kit, HAIM
Stream: “This Is It” – Trousdale

We realized that every song in this project captured something so vital to the human condition – the heartbreak, the friendship, the laughter, the acceptance – and they really all came together to explain what we think happiness is all about.

It may have been released last November, but there has never been a better time to (re)discover Trousdale’s stunning sophomore EP. The indie folk trio’s catchy, driving music is a perfect companion to the transition from spring into summer: Buoyant and bold, the sun-kissed What Happiness Is soaks in pools of radiant harmony and intimate connection as Trousdale come to life with infectious passion and inspiring energy.

What Happiness Is - Trousdale
What Happiness Is – Trousdale
You’ve had another day
Wondering how long it takes
You get to where you’re going
You’re not living every moment to live
When someone tells you no
You take it so personal
You’re dreaming of a feeling
but you’re not getting what you give
Ooh, right here, right now
I’m having such a good time…

Released November 12, 2021 via Zula Records, What Happiness Is shined its own bright rays of light upon its arrival late last year. The follow-up to last April’s Look Around EP finds Trousdale taking ownership of their artistry on the lyrical, instrumental, and production fronts, continuing to explore the space between the folk and pop worlds, wielding their expansive three-part harmonies with warmth and enchanting grace. Having formed out of the University of Southern California’s Popular Music program, the trio of Quinn D’Andrea, Georgia Greene, and Lauren Jones are well on their way to establishing themselves as an indie folk force, with an irresistible sound similar to that of Kacey Musgraves, HAIM, Joseph, and The Staves.

“We started working on What Happiness Is when the pandemic was still in full swing, and we had just wrapped production on our first EP,” Trousdale’s Lauren Jones tells Atwood Magazine. “Our song “Wouldn’t Come Back” was doing pretty well, and it was one of the two songs that we produced ourselves off that project. We were inspired by its success to keep exploring our sound and set out to start working on our first fully produced EP! We really wanted What Happiness Is to start exploring and expanding upon the different musical flavors of Trousdale. We’re a folk band at heart, but we also have such a deep love for country, rock and pop that we hope shines through in this project.”

Trousdale © Caity Krone
Trousdale © Caity Krone

Jones describes this record as “truthful, vulnerable, and optimistic”: A collection that burns bright, showcasing the band’s wealth of talent and their limitless vision.

What Happiness Is covers a wide emotional spectrum,” bandmate Georgia Greene notes. “In our song “This Is It,” we describe the joy that comes from simply hanging out. We feel that it’s important to appreciate the lessons we’ve learned as individuals, and incorporate them into our songwriting. Happiness, to us, comes not only from the good things in life, but also from the pain and heartbreak. All of these emotions connect us with our listeners and each other.”

Diving even deeper into the subject of happiness, Quinn D’Andrea dives into the EP’s compelling title: “What Happiness Is is a line from the chorus of the first song off our EP, ‘This Is It,'” she explains. “We actually stumbled upon that title as we were planning out what words we wanted to put on some EP-themed beaded bracelets, and once we said it out loud it was kind of a light-bulb moment. We realized that every song in this project captured something so vital to the human condition – the heartbreak, the friendship, the laughter, the acceptance – and they really all came together to explain what we think happiness is all about.”

“Even through the most difficult and trying times, we can find happiness through the connections we make with the people around us. For us, that happiness stems from our friendship and the music that comes from it. We’ve had an ongoing joke about relating the order of songs on this EP to the “Happiness U-Curve”. It’s based on a growing body of research that shows our happiness dips with age for the first few decades and then actually rises to its highest in our very last years. We think it’s a perfect way to explain this EP, as it starts out with pure happiness and friendship in “This Is It,” reaches its saddest point in our third song “What Could I Say,” and then climbs all the way to “Love”, where we essentially try to take all of the lessons we’ve learned about love and loss and give them back every chance we get.”

Trousdale © Caity Krone
Trousdale © Caity Krone

It’s difficult to choose favorites with a set of five songs this strong. Opener “This Is It” radiates with a dulcet warmth and loving glow, whilst the country-leaning serenade “Always, Joni” proves a poignant, moving tribute to Joni Mitchell. The trio’s kaleidoscopic vocal charm is as immersive as ever on “What Could I Say,” and the charged “Any Day Now” soars with its own refreshing, resonant drive.

“I’ve always connected to our lyric, ‘I’ve been falling out of love with the thought of me, got nothing left to do but to sit and breathe for a while…” in ‘Any Day Now,'” Greene says. “I think this is a very relatable emotion: When you can’t outthink insecurity and the only thing left to do is stop and breathe.”

“One of the many reasons I love being part of Trousdale is the opportunity to play the supporting role to two of my favorite musicians,” Jones adds. “We’ve become this well-oiled machine where we can rely on each others’ personal strengths to benefit the team overall. One of Georgia’s strengths is that she has a seemingly limitless vocal range, so we typically write our arrangements to include a classic Georgia high note. That being said, I got to write and sing the “high note” on my favorite song off the record, “What Could I Say.” I’m not used to hearing myself in that context, and it was definitely a highlight for me!”

I ain’t lying, it ain’t easy
To take what I got and give it back to someone
I hear him crying all around me
So I take what I got and give it back to someone
To someone who doesn’t love me back
Sometimes right and wrong and love and hate look the same
Hey, how you doin’
And what’s on your mind
Are you livin’ easy
Or stayin’ alive
I’ve got a pension of opinions tellin’ me to survive
But lately I just wanna give a little love in my life
Love in my life
Gonna give a little love in my life
Givе it, give it

Trousdale © Caity Krone
Trousdale © Caity Krone

The EP concludes with the exhilarating “Love,” a groovy and glistening celebration of all those things that make Trousdale shine. The trio’s exultant vocal harmonies prove spellbinding alongside a rip-roaring beat and an utterly intoxicating, uplifting melody. “I’ve got a pension of opinions tellin’ me to survive, but lately I just wanna give a little love in my life,” the trio declare in a cinematic chorus. “Gonna give a little love in my life!

All told, What Happiness Is really does find happiness – five times over, as a matter of fact.

“We hope that listeners will feel the hope that comes from the record as a whole,” Quinn D’Andrea shares. “To feel deserving of love on the days where everything is hard, and deserving of joy when the good days come around. In our own exploration of what this record has meant to us I think we’ve all taken away some lessons that we didn’t even mean to write about at the time. Once we got to step back and look at the story we created with these songs, we really saw the arch of emotions from afar. Through the good and the bad experiences in life, there is always something positive we can learn and hold on to. We all feel like we’re not good enough at times, but we have the power to let go of our own expectations and seek out love and joy around every corner.”

Yes, it may be six months old, but we prefer to call it six months young and a perfect soundtrack to sun-soaked summer bliss. Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Trousdale’s What Happiness Is EP with Atwood Magazine as the band goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their latest record!

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:: stream/purchase Trousdale here ::
Stream: ‘What Happiness Is’ – Trousdale

:: Inside What Happiness Is ::

What Happiness Is - Trousdale

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This Is It

We have called “This Is It” our friendship anthem. It screams gratitude and appreciation for the simple moments that add up to making our love for each other so strong. – Georgia

Always, Joni

We wanted to combine our love for Joni Mitchell and the way her songs pull at our heart-strings, with the deep longing that comes from heartbreak. We feel as connected to each other when listening to Joni’s music as we do when we’re sharing our pain. – Georgia

Any Day Now

“Any Day Now” is about letting go of all the expectations we put on ourselves, and letting go of what we think others expect of us. It’s about accepting that we can’t always be perfect, and forgiving ourselves for that. It’s kind of a big celebration of our imperfections and shouting to the world “so what”! –Quinn

What Could I Say

“What Could I Say” is about that moment in conflict with someone where you simply do not have the words to make things right again. That desperate feeling of wanting to go back and fix what’s been broken, and the painful possibility that you might never get to. -Quinn


We wrote love about 7 years ago now. It’s always been one of our favorite songs to sing live because the joy just seeps through the song. It was a really fun challenge for us to capture that joy within a recorded version. The song is about working through the low points of life and, even when we feel like there’s nothing left, to take the love we have and share it with others. -Quinn

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:: stream/purchase Trousdale here ::

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What Happiness Is - Trousdale

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? © Caity Krone

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