Los Angeles based artist Nicolette Smith brings new meaning to passion with her latest sultry single “Runaways”. Bringing in listeners around the world by getting play-listed on different international Spotify playlists, and keeping them engaged through her melodic songs about overcoming hardship, love and the human connection. Co-written with longtime bandmate Ajay Awasthi and produced by Daniel Balistocky, her latest single “Runaways” brings passionate imagery of wanting to flee from today’s madness with the one person who has your heart. Through a variety of melodic instrumentals, the track provides a well-rounded and pure sound that effortlessly intrigues us.
“Runaways” opens with serene electric guitar picking and Nicolette Smith’s angelic vocals overtop enchanting violin strings. With her unique Alternative/Folk sound, “Runaways” incorporates a variety of bluesy elements through her haunting vocals and passionate delivery. Serving top of the line heartfelt lyrics like “Could you save her from his heavy hand? Would you love her once they’ve had their chance?”. Nicolette Smith sings vulnerable lyrics that make you miss that one special person, all while the supporting instrumentals lay their heavy woes only to bless our ears with an intoxicating sound. Not to mention Nicole Alexandra’s melodic violin strings effortlessly emphasizing Nicolette Smith’s powerful imagery. “Runaways” brings an emotional and vulnerable side of Nicolette Smith, and the single is definitely one to add to your playlist.
Listen to "Runaways" here.
Hey Nicolette Smith, welcome to BuzzMusic! We’re truly enamoured by your passionate lyrics and delivery on your latest single “Runaways” Could you share where initial inspiration derived from when writing the heavy single?
The song happened very quickly, probably within 20 minutes of Ajay first playing the riff. I didn't know I had all these words inside me, but it was clear afterwards that I needed to get them out. It was written very shortly after the 2016 election. I think I was feeling a bit defeated, and I saw that feeling mirrored in a lot of the marginalized people surrounding me. When I look at the lyrics by themselves, I can see how it seems hopeless, but that wasn't my feeling. It's more of a "yeah, things look real grim right now, and there's a lot of negative people in power. But I'm going to look at the people I choose to surround myself with, and we'll run through it all together until we get to better days.
We’ve heard that you effortlessly keep your audience engaged through Nicolette Smith’s vulnerable lyrics and soothing melodies. What makes writing from a vulnerable place so easy for you, and why do you think it’s been so effective?
Throughout my life, I've been called sensitive in many situations, and it's always been with a negative connotation. I used to get so upset about that, and deny that I was a sensitive person. But as I've gotten older and seen a bit more of the world and people, I celebrate my sensitivity. The world needs sensitive and empathetic people. I would much rather be seen as sensitive and not offend anyone than to be indifferent and not be able to put myself in other people's perspectives. I wouldn't be able to write lyrics like this if I weren't a sensitive person. I think it helps to be introspective in all aspects of life too. The people close to me will tell you that I'm always trying to discuss why I reacted a certain way to something, why I'm so affected by this or that. People like to be understood. When you're sensitive to your own and other people's feelings, there's much more room for understanding.
In regards to your vulnerable songwriting on your single “Runaways”, could you share what the songwriting process was like between Nicolette Smith and Ajay Awasthi? How did you find such precise lyrics that depict intense imagery?
Ajay is a great human to be around when you want to let out your innermost feelings and not be judged. He is also an insanely talented musician. That combination is ideal for someone to songwriter with. As I mentioned earlier, this song happened very quickly. We were rehearsing for a show and had wrapped up for the day when he started playing the guitar part. I perked up and asked if he had written to it yet, and he said no. I asked if he minded if I tried some lyrics with it and he was totally up for it. 20 or so minutes later, we had Runaways. I feel very fortunate to know Ajay and work with him musically. He's a great friend to have.
It may sound odd, and I'm not always this fortunate when it comes to songwriting, but sometimes it feels like I retreat into this space where only my feelings reside, and I'm able to put words to them with no resistance or self-doubt. Everything that needs to be released from my mind just pours out. It's a mix of raw emotion, imagination, fantasy, dreams, all composed into words that others can relate to. I don't think it's necessarily a skill I cultivated. I feel very grateful to whatever or whoever decided I was worthy enough of that ability to communicate my feelings in a way that others can relate to.
From Nicolette Smith’s first DIY phone-recorded EP to the deftly produced single that is “Runaways”, could you elaborate on how your music has evolved and grown with you over time?
I think the main evolution in the music compared to then and now is that it's no longer mine. Whether people have listened and been able to relate, or heard part of it and added their own music to accompany, they made it theirs too. And so there's the community behind the songs, and with community comes support and confidence. I've also evolved over the years obviously, and the music is always around. Even when I've neglected it, not given it the thanks or time I wish I would've. But it's still there. Music is very maternal in a way, I think.
What can we expect to see from you throughout the rest of 2020?
Well, I'm a high school English teacher, and we've got the news that we don't go back until the next school year. I teach remotely from home, but I've got a lot of spare time. I just read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and I'm trying to develop a consistent writing schedule.
Every day, dedicate time to the art because it deserves that. I'd love to come out of these strange times with some music to bring out the sunshine in these hazy days. Who knows?