By: Shamus Hill
This past weekend, Massachusetts’ own Nick Gray released his sophomore project, Bittersweet — an introspective EP that seamlessly balances wonderful sounds and genuine meaning. One of the most outstanding aspects of Nick Gray’s artistry is his innate ability to speak on life experience in a manner that’s borderline addicting to listen to, and while Gray’s entire discography is filled with these profound talking points, his latest effort brings this sentiment one step forward, marking some of his best artistic progression to date. Alongside the main act here, we need to dish out some well-deserved shoutouts to Shame, BBY J, RolexDaytona, 10Fifty, and FlashBeats for their phenomenal work on production throughout Bittersweet. Watching how Gray’s sound has developed with time has been an absolute privilege to see, and it’s safe to say that Nick Gray is only going to continue to blossom in the future.
To honor the occasion, I took a few moments to speak with Nick about the meaning behind the Bittersweet EP, and some of what he’s learned throughout his tenure as an artist. Read all about it down below:
What is the meaning behind naming this project Bittersweet?
I’ve noticed you can’t have all good without something going bad. Putting time into one thing means less time for another. It’s sweet for the thing you’re putting time into but, bitter for the other. And that’s what I’ve been feeling lately. It’s life I guess.
Money appears to be a large portion of your motivation on Bittersweet, but what else drives you to be the artist/person that you are?
Emotion. Seeing things get done. Seeing people be affected by things I do for a positive outcome. I wanna take care of people. It’s just who I am as a person. A provider. I’m selfish for my side. Deeper down though, maybe it’s a flaw, but I want to feel of value. That I have worth. I think it’s a general human thing to feel like that. But, I guess the things I do are because I’m trying to appease that feeling.
Prior to the start of working on this EP, what did you want your listeners to take-away from this body of work? Did it pan out as you had hoped?
I just wanted to give people stuff I like listening too. Stuff I enjoy making. The stuff I make stems from emotion, even if it is just about money or hustling. I also wanted to put some deeper personal stuff in it. It’s tucked away behind the metaphors but if you can break through them you’ll see who I am. I’m hyped on the outcome. All the tracks hit exactly how I wanted.
Despite the use of an array of producers on this project, you still managed to achieve a formidable sound that develops throughout the entirety of this project. What were you looking for in terms of production on this project?
I don’t really ever have an overall whole sound I’m thinking of. I just listen to beats and if they hit I make a song. Once I get enough songs that hit on sort of the same wave, I see how I can put them together. I like emotional slaps hahaha. I like bangers and stuff I can get introspective on. I think this project has a little of everything.
How has Massachusetts/Boston helped to mold you into the being that you currently are?
I grew up in MA my whole life. In the cold ass winter. Having to work outside, then moving to the city and learning how to navigate the underworlds and inner workings of it. It’s made me appreciate some things I’d taken for granted and also showed me sides of human nature I hadn’t previously seen. I think it’s turning me into exactly who I want to be.
You’ve been making high-quality music for a very lengthy period of time now. If you could give a single piece of advice to younger artists, what would that be?
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Find what you’re good at and get better at it. Everything costs money in this world and making your music into a finished product is no different. If you truly believe in yourself, you’ll invest in yourself.
Stream Nick Gray’s Bittersweet EP below:
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